They say you should never work with animals, but for MirrorMe PR, the equestrian, canine and country PR & Social Media Marketing Agency, it’s unavoidable in their line of work!
They represent a collection of premium horse and dog brands and photo and video shoots with our equine and canine friends is pretty much part of office life for the team. Here are a few of their favourite shoot memories…
“Last year we had a fantastic studio shoot with one of our premium dog brands, Pink Whiskers which involved three dogs on set including a beautiful French bulldog puppy. The puppy was so laid back he was virtually horizontal and wanted to chill out on the client’s gorgeous designer dog beds in every single shot, so we got some fantastic images of him lounging on the beds. He was the calmest and best-behaved pup we’ve ever met!”
Another photoshoot the team remember well was with Childeric Saddles UK and with their brand ambassador top Olympic event rider, Gemma Tattersall.
“The horses were all well behaved, but one in particular really stood out for us – Pebbles. Not only was this equine supermodel simply stunning, but she adored the attention and working the camera! Out of the hundreds of shots, we took, on all of them her ears were pricked and looking to the camera! Some animals are like that; they love the camera!”
Others, however, don’t as the team discovered when trying to get ‘that shot’ of show rider Lorraine Homer and horse cantering in a field for aloe vera equine supplement brand Aloeride.
“The horse decided it did NOT like the camera and tripod and proceeded to canter off in the opposite direction with the rider in a
dust cloud and snorting like an oversized Thewell Pony! Fortunately, the rider was a professional and was able to sit to the spook and yes, she did eventually win him around we and got some fantastic shots. Let’s just say he had super engagement in his hindlegs in all the images and the shots of the rider laughing and smiling are all genuine!
Shooting equestrian fashion on location also brings its challenges…
“Trying to get a model to stay clean even before you get them near the horse is a challenge but keeping them clean when they are holding or riding horses is a nightmare! Horses just love to wipe their faces all over us and while slime green is just part of horse life, on a white pair of breeches it’s a nightmare! We normally get the horse in position and pop the model into shot, then once we’ve got the image, we take over the horse holding. Trying to get a horse to stand up, rather than resting a leg and falling asleep with ears lolloping to the side or extremely fidgety is also challenging but you just have to remain calm and positive that you will get the perfect picture!”
Here are a few of MirrorMePR’s top tips for working with animals on shoots:
- We use a packet of tic-tacs to shake to get the horses to prick up their ears. It works better than a food bucket as some horses can get over zealous when it comes to dinner and avoids ground pawing for dinner!
- With dogs, make sure you have plenty of their favourite treats and don’t overfeed them before you finish the shoot. Otherwise, they probably won’t be so eager to sit, stay and look endearingly at you!
- Allow plenty of time. You might think you only need half an hour but allow an hour!
- Take into consideration the weather conditions. As any horse owner will know, horses are always a bit perkier in fresher weather so lunge or ride your horse a few hours before you plan to take photos, so you can brush off dried sweat and mud and hopefully have a calmer mind to work with! Dogs are the same; a reasonable walk will help reduce the excitement factor.
- Make sure you always play it safe. Horses can be unpredictable at the best of times, so always make sure you keep your distance, introduce the equipment slowly and confidently, and get the horse used to the flash in a safe environment at a distance at first. We are always guided by the rider/owners as to what they think their horses will cope well with and how they would like to approach getting the shot. Don’t ever put yourself or your animal at risk for the sake of a photo!
Photos by kind permission of:
MirrorMePR is giving away a fantastic Tackroom Titbit hamper for you and your yard friend’s and horses to share! Just head over to their Facebook page and enter to win!