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My best sunset shoot yet!

My photo shoots are usually scheduled in the late afternoon, around 6pm or later, to catch the beautiful and soft light as the sun sets. As excited as I am, I am also nervous, wanting to deliver the perfect images to my clients! I put a lot of pressure on myself because I am always looking for the "WOW" factor in my images.

This shooting location is definitely one of my favorite locations in Reno, also known as the Holcomb Ranch area. Here you find secluded Country Estates surrounded by large green pastures, lush greenery and immaculate landscaping with horses grazing! And not to forget the spectacular views of the mountains. So the "WOW" factor is almost a guarantee.

Equine Photography, Horse Portrait, Horse and Rider, Sunset Session

First, we started off with some images on her front property and used the trees as shade since the sun was still pretty bright. I checked my camera regularly to ensure my settings were spot on including my focus. and I was like...oh wonderful...yes, awesome! Everything looked great on the small screen on my camera...

...until I got home and started to see them on the big screen computer. I was shocked :( I could not believe it, I was furious and mad at myself, making stupid mistakes like that! I saw that most of the images I took at the beginning were totally out of focus. OMG...can that be? There goes my shoot...I was embarrassed, confused and thinking that's it.

Here is an example: For a non- photography person, this photo might look great, but if you look at the close up, you can see how her face is blurry and not 100% sharp.

This is especially important if a client would want to print this image bigger than 8x10. I just really hate blurry images and is one of my pet-peeves.

Here is an example of a perfectly focused image, in my opinion:

equine photography, horse and rider with beautiful mountain backdrop
original image out of camera

left: zoomed in and focused

right: final image

Thank God, my focus was eventually back on track in my images and my photo shoot was NOT a failure.

So, why do I think this shoot in particular is my best yet?

As I continued to edit the photos, I starred at them one by one and couldn't believe how many images looked great straight out of the camera. Besides all the technical stuff, I LOVED the connection between Nicole and Stella and the natural look of them together. The warm color scheme complimented Nicole's dress which was also a perfect match for Stella's coat. And Nicole's beauty is undeniable! Maybe it's just me but I see a lot of Sophie Marceau in her.

Here are some before and after images:

left: before edit

right: cropped, adjusted exposure, added temperature, removed some lose hair

left: before edit

right: added exposure/ temperature, lifted shadow

You probably wonder why I think the "before" images are great since they are actually too dark. This is done intentionally. My camera is always set on a very low "ISO" (measures the sensitivity to light) during sunset shoots. This produces smoother, more detailed images and ensures my pictures are noise and blurry free while I edit the lighting afterwards. Give it a try!

I was also very pleased with the amount of images that have such a pretty back lit lighting. Make sure when you shoot against the sun during sunset, you use objects to either cover the sun (image 2,3) or you position yourself in an angle towards to sun in a shaded spot (image 1, 4).

I also include Black and White photos for my clients. When I absolutely love the connection between the owner and horse BUT hate everything else, like the color or the lighting, or if the image just seems too boring and dull, I go for black and white. And...WOW it does make a huge difference. Somehow this image got a whole new expression:

I absolutely loved this photo shoot in every way, from start to finish. These images show a very harmonious relationship and it was beautiful to watch them both and be part of it. Nicole and Stella share a very special connection that is not easy to find. And it inspired me to write a blog again :)

You can find her entire photoshoot session here:

#sunsetshoot #horsephotography #equinephotographer #sunset #horseandrider #beautifulportrait #equestrianlifestyle #horseportrait #iberianwarmblood #ranchlife

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