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Rilee- Class of 2020 Senior Rep

I am so excited to be sharing this senior session with you guys. I'll be honest- it was hard to narrow it down to just a few favorites (and even still I ended up with over 30 images!)

Rilee is one of our 2020 Senior Reps for Columbus East High School. What is a Senior Rep? Well, basically Rilee shares all about her senior session with Studio 1492 Photography AND helps her friends and classmates score discounts on their senior session with us as well. Pretty awesome, right?! So basically, if you are a parent or senior at ANY high school- contact Rilee and she can let you in on all of the secrets.

Okay, so I know you have all seen some of Rilee's sneak peeks from her session. And the images that everyone keeps talking about is the one above, and then the ones with her pony, Princess. I frequently have requests for senior sessions using animals so I asked Rilee and her mom, Tara, for their advice on how to get the most out of a session with animals. Here are their top tips!

Tip #1- Use your own animal! Or at least an animal that you are familiar with and that is familiar with you. Yes, shooting with horses is amazing but if you have never handled a horse and don't know what to expect then can get dangerous really fast! Oh, and on that note- you will see a lot of images of Rilee riding without a saddle. If this is not something you are an expert at and do frequently DO NOT DO THIS FOR YOUR SENIOR SESSION! Getting thrown from a horse is NOT a good way to end your session- I promise!

Tip #2- Have a designated handler that is not the senior being photographed. I truly wish you could see a behind the scenes shot of some of these images of Rilee and Princess. It looks so simple and amazing- right? But in truth we had 4 other people on the back side of the camera making this happen. It was NOT easy- at all! We all left exhausted and very dirty. Was it worth it- you betcha! But don't come empty handed! Oh, and just like tip #1- make sure you bring someone to help that knows what they're doing!

Tip #3- Bring an animal buddy if your animal isn't good at being on their own. Aside from the 4 off camera people in these shots, we had Rilee's sister and her horse (which, by the way is massive!) In the second to last shot where Rilee is running straight at me- let me tell you what you don't see. The scariest image I have ever shot because not only is Rilee and Princess coming straight for me (and Tara who is shaking the food bin above me) but also Regann and Mocha running straight at me but I couldn't see them. I could hear them and feel them headed at me but I had to have complete faith that I wasn't about to get trampled. Why? That's the only way we could get Princess to do this shot- with a running buddy. Which brings us to your next tip-

Tip #4- Have a brave photographer. Okay, those were Tara's words. Mine might be slightly crazy headcase but sure, brave works as well! Honestly, this was the very last few shots and I had been working with Tara, Rilee and Regann for a couple of hours by this point. I trusted them and their skills. Turning a blind eye to a large animal without complete faith in the person handling it is never advised. I trusted them (and when it was done I might have sat down and collected myself for a second or two. Truly- Regann's horse is a freaking giant! It was crazy scary for about 15 seconds!)

Tip #5- Food is a good motivator. Okay, this holds true for both animals at senior sessions and children at family sessions (or even dads). Bring treats- like way more than you think you'll need. When you run out- you will lose your animal's attention fast.

Tip #6- Practice before the session. Work with that animal without the saddle if you want shots riding bareback. Want to wear a giant dress that you normally wouldn't- practice wearing it BEFORE the session. Special accessories for the animal or you that aren't the norm? Work it out before I get there- like days before. Think about it this way- you fully understand what is going on. That animal not only doesn't know me, but also has no clue what is happening. Add in a flowing dress or the desire to lay completely flat on a horses' back- hello chaos city! Practice, practice, practice!

Tip #7- Pick colors that are opposite on a color wheel to your animal for your outfit. Why does that blue dress work like magic in these photos? Hello- blonde senior and blonde horse! Put time and thought and even some money into a few special pieces for your senior session. Do I mean that you have to purchase thousands of dollars worth of clothes that you will never wear again? No! But you are spending a lot to have a professional photographer capture these memories. Your clothes and accessories should reflect that.

Tip #8- Be patient. These, at the end of the day, are animals. Remember that. Have a little grace and a whole lot of patience and it will go a long way. If you start getting upset and yelling or pulling on the reins- you will upset that animal and then all is lost. Once we lose their cooperation, you're done whether you want to be done or not.

Tip #9- (This one is not from Rilee and Tara but your photographer, Nowelle). I have a hard and fast rule when it comes to animals that I will photograph so check it before you ask. It goes- Nothing with more than 4 legs, less than 2 legs, bites or has ever been referred to as having "beady little eyes." Basically- No snakes, wild animals, mice, rats, or bugs, spiders, ect of any kind. Sorry but not happening.

So, there you have it- rules to live by when planning your own custom Elite Senior Experience Session. So, who's in? Want to schedule an in-person planning session that's totally free and zero pressure? Click Contact Us, tell us Rilee sent you, and let's get started. Summer sessions are almost gone and fall won't last long so let us know before we have to tell you we're booked! Oh, and we do travel so if you're outside of Indiana but want to stand out from the crowd- we've got you covered!

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