When presented with the opportunity to provide Envision magazine with images for an article about the power of horses to fuel a love of literacy and learning, we knew EXACTLY what the image should not only convey. It had to be a great photograph and at the same time it needed to visually speak to honest to goodness good horsemanship. After all, Envision is an outreach publication, sharing all the great aspects of the Arabian horse with new audiences. Thanks to the William George Agency for Children's Services lesson mare Minuette and Emma I was able to get exactly what I had in mind.
You can see from one of the "out takes" that Minny and Emma gave us everything we could have asked for as far as chemistry goes. However, it was important to be sure that this image would evoke not only the emotional aspect of the topic, but would also display some basic fundamentals of good horsemanship. At it’s heart good horsemanship teaches responsibility of the handler and respect for the innate nature of the horse. A good horseman always recognizes that a horse is a creature of instinct and to honor that, you never put yourself in a position where a horse—simply by being a horse—could accidentally step on you. So, while this photo may have been set up by some as a sweet composition with a little girl sitting in a field on the ground with a horse next to her, that is simply not something a horseman would do.
Our solution—with Minuette in her stall looking over a stall guard and Emma in the aisle way properly attired in jeans and boots—conveys the fun and endearing story we were telling AND leaves the viewer with the correct image of horsemanship.
On the practical side of things, working in the barn aisle allowed me control of the lighting solution. It was three light set up. The 2 Paul C Buff Digibees 800's. One with a 24x30 inch soft box
was my primary light and a 32 Inch transparent umbrella to help sculpt the side of Minuette's head and Emma's shoulders. A Third light was a small Canon flash mounted on a stand inside Minny's stall to create rim light. We made sure to have a handler inside the stall so that curious Minny couldn't play with that light stand.
With all that set up, Minuette and Emma situated this way they were free to simply interact and it was magic in the making!