How do you keep the session flowing when it comes to posing?
I don’t really have a set workflow I try to stick to for sessions because it really depends on my clients and the location we are working with. Scouting out the session locations when you first get there well help you determine where you want to shoot when with where the light will be but other than that I just do what feels natural and looks good. Once I give them a pose to do, I will move around and explore different angles and then have them switch things up slightly by changing their arm positions, tilting their heads, smile v. relaxed faces, and shifting their weight from one leg to the other. Once I feel that I have everything I can get from this location/pose will move on to the next set. This alone can get you several amazing shots that are at the same spot but all different and can really come in handy when you are working in some not-so-great locations. Below are some examples of just slight changes all at the same location that produced multiple lovely shots.
How do you deal with “ugly” locations?
You just gotta deal! This is why I get to locations a little early to assess what I have to work with. Sometimes things aren't so pretty to the average eye but if you dig, I bet you can find some gems! I will often have parents of my seniors questioning some of my choices but then when they see the finished photo they are amazed. If the place is truly ugly, you can focus on filling the frame more with your subject and less of the surroundings and shooting at a more shallow depth of field. The answer to the first question can also come into play here with being able to move around and get several different shots from one location.
If you are doing both ground and riding shots, what do you start with?
I typically always start with the ground work first because I don’t want the horse to work up a sweat. If the client is only doing bareback or doing bareback with one outfit and then saddling for a different set, then I don’t mind going back and forth but if they are saddling, I always end with that.
Do you shoot in RAW? What happens to your files when you are done editing?
I SHOOT RAW! (In my best Jared Polin impersonation) LOL. When I am done editing and files have been exported I will remove the files from my Lightroom catalog and discard files that weren’t edited for whatever reason but I keep all corresponding RAW files that go to the edited files delivered to clients. Everything is saved to an external hard drive and then backed up to two different cloud storages for safe keeping as well.
What goes through your mind when you are scouting locations?
LIGHT! I am always paying attention to where the light is and where it will be falling in the sky throughout the session. I then consider the surroundings and the depth of field achievable.
How do you dress for sessions?
I dress pretty relaxed for the most part because I move around so much and don’t need clothes restricting my movement. Typically I wear black athletic leggings and a comfy shirt and tennis shoes or muck boots depending on the locations. When weather gets colder I will add a sweater or coat but I don’t go fancy at all because I somehow always end up laying on the ground or wading through a creek and sometimes even laying in a creek…all for the shot.
I have a Canon T6 and the lenses that came with it; what should I upgrade if I can only do one at a time?
Your lens! With that being said, research different gear to find the best option for you. Everyone is going to have opinions on what they like best but what is right for me may not be right for you. Do your research and even rent or borrow gear to try it out first before investing -- I know I wish I would have done that before buying a couple pieces of glass…
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