Fall and Christmas Horse Photoshoot Tips

Once the very first leaves start to change colors, my thoughts shift to this year’s Christmas card pictures. We have taken pictures in all different spots with all different themes over the years. From Disney to the beach to our own backyard, I never know which picture(s) from the year will end up being the “it” photo for our cards. On quite a few occasions, the photos on our cards have featured our horses!

Kids Fall pony photo shoot

I’m definitely no stranger to horses being included in our holiday cards. When I was a kid, there were many years when my mom would insist on including the horses in our pictures. My dad drew the line at bringing our pony into the house to pose in front of the fireplace. (True story!) But year after year, my siblings and I endured a Christmas horse photoshoot, orchestrated by our mom.

Actual 1980s-era Christmas horse photoshoot of me and the sibs:

Choosing a Fall or Christmas Horse Photoshoot Theme

Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a proud horse parent, there’s nothing like showcasing the special bond between you and your horse. But how do you go about setting up that picture-perfect photo shoot? Keep reading! Here are some tips and tricks to help you stage a holiday-themed photo shoot that even Santa would envy.

Fall Horse Photo Shoot

Plan Ahead: Indoor and Outdoor Options

A little planning will go a long way for your holiday horse photoshoot. First thing’s first: choose your location. Maybe you want a snowy winter wonderland or perhaps an indoor barn backdrop adorned with twinkling lights and garlands. Having both indoor and outdoor options is a great idea, especially if Mother Nature decides to throw a weather tantrum.

If an outdoor photoshoot is an absolute must, consider planning WAY ahead for your session. Aim for dates that are typically warmer (think late summer, early fall) and always pick a rain date, just in case.

Props Galore: From Festive to Fantastical

Let’s talk props! Wreaths, holiday ornaments, even cute little reindeer antlers for your horse (just make sure they’re comfortable). You can snag these at your local craft store or even make your own if you’re feeling extra crafty. For the little kiddos, consider Santa hats, elf ears or mugs of (not-so) hot chocolate. Props not only add a fun element to the photos but also bring the holiday theme to life.

Horse with Holiday wreath and lights

Keep Everyone Comfortable: Horse & Human

Here’s a pro tip: ensure that your horse is comfortable with any props or flashy lights. Some horses are nervous around new objects or camera flashes, so do a test run to see how your horse reacts. If you’re working with youngsters, make sure the props and costumes are safe and comfortable for them too. Nobody wants a grumpy horse or a cranky kid in their holiday photos!

The Right Photographer: Capture the Magic

Sure, smartphones are getting pretty darn good at photography, but for a holiday photo that you’ll treasure forever, consider hiring a professional equestrian photographer. Many photographers offer holiday packages and have a whole arsenal of tips for getting both humans and horses to look their best. These pros can guide you on posing, lighting, and even bring their own additional props!

Dress to Impress: Outfits for All Ages

Now for the fun part: What are you going to wear? For adults, a nice pair of riding boots and a coordinating outfit can go a long way. Think cozy sweaters or even formal riding attire. Kids can wear cute holiday-themed clothes like pajamas or little elf costumes. Just remember, comfort is key, especially if you’re planning on doing some riding shots.

Boy with Pony in Autumn

Smile and Say ‘Neigh’: Time for Action!

So, you’ve got your props, your outfits, and the perfect setting. Now it’s time for action! Interact with your horse—hug them, feed them a treat, or simply look lovingly into each other’s eyes. Feel free to experiment with poses, but most importantly, let the love and joy you feel for your horse shine through. You know, the stuff that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside during the holidays.

Winter Wonderland Girl with Pony

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re a DIY kind of person or prefer the expert touch of a professional, these tips should help you get started on capturing holiday memories that will last a lifetime. So grab your horse, don your festive attire, and let’s make this holiday season picture-perfect! Get those pictures taken early enough that you have plenty of time to order your cards and get them mailed out to family and friends.

Make sure you browse the rest of our Christmas content while you’re here!

Are you excited to put these tips into action? Let me know how your holiday-themed photo shoot goes!


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