Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Day in the Life of an Arabian Horse Breeder Johnny Johnston Photo Shoot - Portraits with Hope

Part 1

The first method that Johnny Johnston used taking portrait type pictures with Arabian horses was what I've heard referred to many times as "doorway" shots. Johnny put the subjects up just in front of the barn doorway. The door at the far end of the barn aisle was closed to block out the light. He then placed himself in the light shooting towards the darkened barn aisle adjusting his camera settings on the subjects. This darkens out the background and "highlights" the subjects.

In this particular location, the barn aisle is concrete and so is the surface right outside the door. The concrete butts up to the driveway which was made of crushed rock. Johnny Johnston was set up with his camera on the rock and Rose (who's job it was to get the horse's ears) was in front of him or off to whatever side he directed her towards to change up the angles.

After taking a few shots Johnny Johnston became concerned that there was glare coming off of the rocks causing Rachel to squint. Despite Rachel's attempts to keep her eyes "wide open" the pictures kept coming out the same so Johnny moved from the doorway onto the grass to get better pictures of Rachel's eyes.

Those are the pictures with the flowers to the side. It only took a couple of pictures in that location for Johnny Johnston to realize that the "squinty" eyes just happen to be Rachel. He moved her around a couple of more locations trying to best capture Rachel with Hope but gave up on a "wide eyed" look.

Just like shooting family portraits, taking these types of shots with a horse and a human together are tough. When the horse looks good, the human doesn't and when the human looks good the horse doesn't. Poor Hope thought we'd all lost our minds over this little episode.

Rose Corey's antics dressed as a bear (covered with a big brown beach towel) and growling around didn't impress her in the slightest. The stick horse that whinnies only got the flick of an ear. Shakers with rocks mean nothing to her. Even the reflective ring didn't get her attention. But if Johnny thought Hope was tough................wait until Dandy hit the stage.

Which ones do you like?

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  1. I like these shots. I just don't like how JJ's name website wasn't in the middle of the pic. I wish it was at the bottom of the picture so I could get a better view of the pictures. Other than that, very pretty pictures.

  2. Oh wow MiKael-- he does sucha nice job with the photos..... I'd have to say my favorites are 1 and 3 and the very last one outside. Hope is sucha beautiful horse, and Rachel has a lovely smile... Cant wait to see the ones of her and Dandy!!

    Sounds like everything worked out well, and I am glad you were able to get to know Johnny on a more personal level. For sure, the man has amazing talent behind a lens!

    Hope that YOU are well too! ;)

  3. Love the last two pics! Beautiful!

  4. I hate to sound like a stuck record, but again hard to tell from this size and with the watermark. I love using the dark barn to make a black background but then I like the sunlight to be early morning directly on the subject which makes the pictures glow.

    I think I like the outdoor pictures better in this case, the trees behind Hope are nice and green and well lit and you can see her definition and outline nicely.

    Then again, a lot will depend on how he processes these images, there are all sorts of tricks to bring the best out in a photo that looks so so in proof form that will make it Wow in the final product.

    I wouldnt like to have your task in choosing though. I always feel so guilty when I shoot a lot of pictures which makes it hard for the client to decide without spending an arm and a leg LOL.

    Good luck, I dont like the ominous tone on Dandy's session!!

  5. I like the top one and the second from the many pictures can your order?

  6. I love the third and the last in this post.

  7. Rachel and Hope look lovely! The ones I like the best are #1 (except for the shadows), #3 and #4. #6 looks like a Glamour Shot which might be a little "mature" for her age.

    I think cropping #3 could turn into a very nice head shot of both of them. Are these graduation photos? Lots of kids have photos taken with their favorite hobby, sport, etc. portrayed. Our son had some showing him posing in tennis attire and also with his marching band horn.

  8. Oh, I like them! Favorites are 1 (although I'm not sure about the shadows on Hope's face), 3 and the last one. I like Rachel's smile in the 2nd to last one, but I think Hope's face looks washed out. It's hard to tell from these proofs.


  9. I like the first one on top because it looks like the two of them are connecting. In most of the others it looks like Rachel and the horse are posing seperately.

  10. I like the 3rd one photography-wise, but the 2nd last is a nice photo of them as a pair.