Portraiture / 20 Jul 2016
Kate & Vagabond’s Horse Portraits

Meet Kate & Vagabond

Doing Kate and Vagabond’s horse portraits was an adventure! Vagabond is rather young, he’s actually very young. And much like little humans, he finds the idea of having his picture taken odd, and just plain boring. 

But he is a gorgeous boy so of course he needs to be photographed!

Why does this venue always have shocking weather??

You can also see the weather wasn’t ideal on this day. But it would seem that this venue, sunshine and I just aren’t meant to be. The last shoot I did here was ridiculously windy and just as overcast. That wasn’t about to stop me though! Especially considering Kate and I had been planning this shoot from the very beginning of the year. And my Durban trip was planned largely around when she would also be in Durban, back from the UK.

A horse who doesn’t like carrots!?

We started Kate & Vagebond’s Horse Portraits shoot right by the stables. This was in the hope that he would be more relaxed and ease into having photos taken of him. When he appeared to be okay with having a camera pointed at his face we decided to bring out the carrots. Most horses can’t say no to food! Especially carrots. Well, apparently Vagabond can.
I grew up with horses and have never come across a horse who isn’t interested in the sound of a carrot packet. Or even the sound of a carrot breaking. In fact our first horse was so obsessed with carrots it was crazy. He learnt that my dad was the carrot man and when ever he saw my dad he would just head straight for him. Sometimes even when we were trying to compete and we were mid way through a show jumping round! My dad has since been renamed ‘The Carrot Man’! I have also met horses who have never been introduced to carrots, and so don’t pull cute faces for them.  But Vagabond is the first horse I have met who knows what carrots are, but just ignores them. 

Is Kate a professional model?

Kate was an absolute gem through out this shoot. We just kept her posed and when ever Vagabond paid attention to us, or anything else close to us, I could take a good shot. When ever Vagabond got bored we would give him some time to relax. The best method turned out to be to just walk him around a bit or turn him in a circle and start shooting again.

When he started to get bored he would just throw a leg in the air, stamp a foot or try just walk away from us. After a while though, he discovered that we were still going to carry on with our shoot and so he started demanding some kisses.
When that didn’t work he seemed to think it was time for some slightly more drastic measures.

We like calm and relaxed pets on shoots 

We then decided we needed to get him back into a happy and relaxed mood. Animal shoots always go better when the animal is relaxed. I can direct people to pose and look more relaxed than they are, but animals need to naturally be relaxed. This is also just my approach and belief that an animal should not have to be scared or tense in order for it’s parent to get a portrait. In my life, in my shoots and in my studio, animals come first. Vagabond was relieved with this approach. And he was happy to be set free in a paddock and allowed to run around. This did require some work on our side, and a bit of playing and running around with him. But he was eventually happy to go back to posed portraits. 
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