When your horse follows you without being asked, when he rubs his head on yours, and when you look at him and feel a tingle down your spine…you know you are loved.” - John Lyons
In this blog, I’ll give you some insight into the process behind creating artistic horse portraits - the kind of images you will want as equine fine art adorning your walls.
As a horse lover and lifelong rider, the type of art that best reflects me and my lifestyle is equine art, including fine art equine portraits.
I've been a photographer for most of my life with a passion for horses ever since I can remember. But it wasn't until my daughter started taking horseback riding lessons that my two passions converged and presented a whole new opportunity to use my lens – it was at that point that I “formally” became an equine portrait photographer.
Over many years, I have honed my craft and developed a style that I believe best captures the grace and beauty of horses in an artistic way. And we’ve developed processes to ensure that the striking images that best portray your horse are produced to become equine wall art that will last for generations to come - preserving your horse’s legacy.
Equine Portraits: A Window Into the Soul
Done correctly, with technical precision and an artistic eye, equine portraits are more than just photographs. They are windows to the soul of your equine friend. The right setting and light allow an equine portrait photographer to capture the personality, beauty and expressions that are unique to your horse - maybe even the quirks. The beauty, as portrayed in skillful horse portraits, comes from getting the correct light to best highlight the eyes, mane, and muscles. It is in the eyes, properly lit, that the personality is most revealed.
Selecting An Equine Portrait Photographer
Each year, countless owners and riders reach out to me to commission equine portraits. I’m honored that most of my work comes through word-of-mouth. My goal has always been that each client is so happy they feel compelled to refer me to their friends.
For my fine art horse portraits sessions, we start with a free consultation to determine what my clients would like to achieve. Many have viewed my black and white equine photography, or my color portraits on black or white backgrounds, and these become a starting point for some. Other clients have more of a natural setting in mind. The initial consultation gives me a good idea of what is desired and the location and lighting to achieve the best results.
I recommend that you carefully interview your potential photographer about their photography experience, technical skills, and past work with horses. A skilled horse photographer should be able to show you a portfolio of their past work that will reflect the quality of photography they can produce.
At the heart of creating memorable equine portraits it is critical to find the right photographer – someone who understands horses, and someone who has the technical skills to work in this challenging environment. I’ll admit I’m biased in this regard; but I say these things are “critical”, not only because of the technical demands of creating perfect light, but because of the potential safety concerns of working with large animals.
The Process: Producing Equine Artwork
As a professional equine photographer, my preference is to have complete control over the light, which is best achieved by setting up a mobile studio with strobes and a choice of black or white background on location. This process is certainly more involved than shooting against a barn door or other outside setting, but the results are clearly much better.
Why go to such lengths to control the lighting?
First, working with animals already presents its own set of unpredictable variables, and we want to eliminate as many uncontrollable elements as possible.
But the main reason is the quality of light that separates the best equine portraits from a less skilled rendering. By setting up in an enclosed barn or an indoor arena, we not only control for wind and other elements, but can create the perfect studio lighting for a stunning portrait.
Preserving Memories with Metal and Fine Art Paper
Many of my clients look forward to having larger scale pieces of equine fine art produced for their homes. This is where our years of experience and exacting standards can help create legacy artwork to last for generations.
Dye sublimation on aluminum or framed archival fine art paper are our preferred mediums for our equine portraits.
For the contemporary art lover, our dye sublimation metal pieces are the preferred medium. By infusing inks directly into treated aluminum via heat transfer, these masterpieces are not just beautiful but enduring. The colors remain vibrant for generations, and your equine portrait is protected from scratching and scuffing.
For those who adore the classics, framed archival fine art paper and ink is the way to go. The use of museum-quality papers and archival inks guarantees your portrait will stand the test of time, much like your bond with your beloved horse.
We work with several skilled framers who know how to add that magic touch, ensuring that the framing complements the beauty of your equine portrait.
Joining a Legacy: Famous Horse Portraits
Throughout history, some horse portraits have taken the world by storm. They capture the essence of a horse’s beauty, reminding us of the profound connection we share with these incredible beings. By investing in an equine portrait, you're not just creating a masterpiece for yourself; you're becoming part of a long-standing tradition that celebrates the noble spirit of horses.
Maria Marriott: Equine Portrait Photographer
Maria Marriott, an internationally award winning equine photographer, is best known for her intimate, minimalistic style, and use of light and movement evoke a sense of emotion.
Her portfolio showcases a collection of stunning equine portraits that clients have called “breathtaking,” truly capturing the “soul of the horse” with “brilliant emotions.” Through her lens, she portrays the beauty, strength, and grace of every horse, each portrait telling a unique story.
Maria is passionate about capturing the spirit and personality of equines, creating timeless works of art. Her unique vision for the perfect equine portrait, ensures each commissioned piece of art reflects the distinct beauty of your horse.