When my equestrian-crazed cousin Lindsey reached out to me to take portraits of her with her horse, Sam, I was stunned. I have begged... and begged... and begged Lindsey to be my muse. She agreed once, but she wasn't havin' the results. Lindsey is a "photo avoider." (Yes, I just made that a thing.) None of us know why - but nevertheless, she hates being in pictures - and I was reluctantly beginning to accept that me and my camera weren't going to have our way with her.
Luckily for me, Lindsey frequently shows in AQHA competitions, so it was only a matter of time before she needed updated headshots with her horse. I would be totally lying if I claimed to know anything about western riding or the long names people give show horses or the many categories in which you can win a title. My mother, Lindsey's mother, and our other aunt all grew up riding horses. Our grandfather even bred and raised quarter horses for racing... but no. I never road that train (and by train, obviously I mean horse).
My non-equestrian eyes see a horse in any position and think, "ITS SO MAJESTIC!" But the reality is... horses can look bad in photos, too. In fact, Lindsey's sister Vanessa (who also rides) was #behindthescenes squeezing water bottles and clicking her tongue and trying to make Sam look "alert" for the entirety of our session. All I can say is - thank God Vanessa was there, guys - I would have never known. If I had been left to my own devices, Sam's ears would've been down and droopy and I would've ruined Lindsey's headshots and then I'd really never get her behind my camera again. (Please excuse the intentional run-on sentence).
I'll be honest - the location was far from ideal. These photos were taken during a horse show that was being held at the Florida State Fairgrounds over in Tampa. While we were able to find a cute little pond, said pond was directly off of a high traffic dirt road (soooo we were constantly having to stop and move out of the way for the many people, horses, and vehicles that needed to pass). Everywhere you turned there were large trucks and trailers... not to mention the dozens of people who were riding in the sand arenas right across the street.
Chaotic. Messy. No bueno.
This being said... I am so in love with these images, and in retrospect, I'm thankful that this session was thrown together so last minute. I am so drawn to clean, minimalistic backgrounds - think open fields, vast bodies of water, expansive woods with neutral color palates - but this session forced me out of my "ideal background comfort zone..."
... and that's when growth happens, right? #overcomingthecontrolfreakwithin