If you have a daughter, chances are she is in love with anything to do with unicorns. How can a little girl not be? They embody beauty, strength and magic. I know from personal experience because my 6 year old daughter is obsessed with them. In fact, Christmas of 2018 I don't think one gift didn't have something to do with either horses or unicorns.
Back in the fall of 2018, I was tagged by a friend of mine on a Facebook post looking for a photographer who would be interested in putting together unicorn photoshoots. The woman who was on the search for a photographer was Jen Surat. I was so excited because I too had been starting to brainstorm about putting together something like this, but I had no idea who to even contact to find a horse or where I would hold the sessions. It was almost like fate. As much as I love couples and weddings, every photographer needs a personal project to keep their creative spirits in balance. This was it for me!
Jen's mission first and foremost is to provide our area with horse therapy. Her trusted gal Stardust goes to nursing homes, libraries, hospitals, churches, schools, and really anywhere that will allow her to go, and provides senior citizens, children and the sick with the excitement, joy and huge smiles that only a horse can bring. I can vouche for Stardust, she is one the kindest and gentle horses I have ever met. Even better - she's fun size, as all of Jen's horses are! With the help of a photographer, Jen's goal is to start a non-profit miniature horse therapy farm, and what better way to raise money than to hold these special and unforgettable photoshoots with little girls and boys alike who have one common interest - their love for unicorns!
We put together three different set ups - a tee-pee, a flower swing and a tea party. We allowed no more than two children per shoot. The tea party and the tee-pee allows enough space for two children at a time, but the swing is solely for one child at a time. Overall, every shoot went well and depending on which package the parents' chose determined how many final images would be delivered.
The reason for this is because during the shoot, Jen keeps Stardust on a lead for safety purposes. Depending on which images the parents' choose out of the bunch I present to them, I edit out the rope as well as the band from the horn on her head. I want each photo to look like it's a "real" unicorn, even though we still need to keep the harness on, and unfortunately I am not that skilled at photoshop to be able to remove the harness from the horse. Regardless, the editing I do does take a lot of time and patience on my end, and why we have to stick to packages. There is a lot of time and work that goes into each session and the packages are priced accordingly to reflect Jen's time and horse handling as well as my time on the day of and time spent editing each session.
Jen makes sure the horse(s) are bathed the night before, brushed and looking glamorous for each session! Parents have the choice to pick one set up, two or all three! We get the horse's attention by laying treats on the ground or on the table so that way she will stay put and occupied. Sometimes she will pick her head up to give horse sniffs or kisses, and Jen allows each child to pet her and interact with her.
We do provide outfits and costumes should parents choose to take advantage of it. We have different sizes and more than likely I will purchase a few more outfits for this year. We really would like to try to keep the feel and mood the same, so that means no showing up in every day clothes. My goal is to provide my parents and children with fine art images that look straight out of a fairytale!
I could sit here and write a novel about everything we went over, the ideas we had, how we came up with them, and what the plans are for this year. But I won't get into all of that right now. I am too excited to share with you so many of the wonderful images we got from our first year. I do hope to make this possible year after year, and as long as Jen would like to do them as well. If you are a parent and are seriously interested in reserving a spot for your child(ren) for this years sessions, I do currently have a waiting list going, These people will have the first opportunity to reserve a spot before anyone else!
I hope you enjoy these one of a kind photo sessions! Jen and I are looking forward to holding more this year and meeting all of the new kids who can't wait to meet a unicorn!