The Most Important Thing To Do With Your Horse Before A Photo Shoot

The Most Important Thing To Do With Your Horse Before A Photo Shoot

There are a lot of steps you are going to need to take to prepare your horse for their photo session. I will tell you that this is THE NUMBER ONE thing you need to do and should be a step you DON’T SKIP!

The Horse That Made Me a Photographer

The Horse That Made Me a Photographer

Thirteen years ago I fell in love with a long-legged, goofy, and slightly uncontrollable 5 year old Thoroughbred they now call Marco “The Lion Man.” Although EXTREMELY terrified of this 16.2 hand giant that could run as fast at those wobbly legs would carry him, I knew I had one hell of an adventure on my hands as we became inseparable. I was eventually able to call him my very own after 3 years. Over the years as our partnership excelled in the arena and our bond grew stronger each and every day, I realized all I wanted to do was share mine and Marco’s story with those who mattered the most to me. I quickly became known as the girl at the barn with the camera and the rest of the story is history!

Sierra, UII, and Hook | Integrity Sport Horses | Fallbrook, CA

Sierra, UII, and Hook | Integrity Sport Horses | Fallbrook, CA

The rain finally decided to let up and not force me to reschedule YET ANOTHER SESSION. Seriously California, I pay enough taxes I shouldn’t have to reschedule 9 shoots in the winter!!!! So on this fine February in Fallbrook, I got to spend a few hours with Sierra and her crew at her barn Integrity Sport Horses.

Sierra also models for Romfh Equestrian Apparel throughout the year because y’know she’s just STUNNING!

Kayla + Notice I'm Packin | KB Performance Horses | Newport Beach, California

Kayla + Notice I'm Packin | KB Performance Horses | Newport Beach, California

Kayla’s nicknames of Kimber is my favorite because I can relate: “Nicknames include goat and fatty because she eats ALL the time.” I mean lets be honest we are all females here why must we eat with our emotion?? Kimber was a lot less of that mare we experienced with Skye which may have to of with the fact she is that in your pocket type of mare and alert of where you are at all times!

Ellie + Skye | KB Performance Horses | Newport Beach, California

Ellie + Skye | KB Performance Horses | Newport Beach, California

Showing up to this session was THE most confusing experience for me! I had ZERO clue there were stables and horses in Newport Beach (I mean I heard there were, but it seemed like an urban legend to me!).

Ellie had warned me that Skye is a typical mare, when she is with you and on her game she is perfect and when she is not in the mood well she is a mare, but I thought “they’re in the western pleasure world how bad can it be?”

The Hunt | Wanderlust Skulls + Botori Equestrian | Branding Session

The Hunt | Wanderlust Skulls + Botori Equestrian | Branding Session

I’ve been driving thorough Vasquez Canyon since I was 8 years old and always admired the beautiful landscape! As I grew into my art and would make a point to drive down the canyon at golden hour did I know that one day I would HAVE TO shoot here! The problem is, getting a horse to not move so they don’t fall off a cliff side isn’t exactly the most appealing idea! So instead I asked Karina to wake up at sunrise with me to shoot a branding session for my my girl at Wanderlust Skulls!

How to Quit your 9-5 with Horses in Focus: An Equine Photography Podcast

How to Quit your 9-5 with Horses in Focus: An Equine Photography Podcast

Back in 2017 Giana and Sara sat down to talk all things black backgrounds, but then ended up talking business for a few hours before coming up with the grand idea to start a podcast. Here we are a year later and releasing the Horses in Focus Podcast to share what its like working and photographing horses as well as tips and tricks to help you grow a successful business in the equine industry!


Sara: We see a lot of questions wondering “when is a good time to go full time with your photography business” so we felt it was important to share our stories and how we came to the decision to pursue our business. (2:00)

Deirdre + Patrick | Elvenstar Orange County | Huntington Beach, California

Deirdre + Patrick | Elvenstar Orange County | Huntington Beach, California

Deirde was set to be elected Orange County Bar Association’s 2019 President and the OC Lawyer Magazine wanted to do a deeper dive on Deirdre life, obmiouly Patrick is a huge part of it! Because of the deadline for the article we had to battle the mud and inability to get poor Patrick out of his stall, so I’m really thankful we were shooting at my home barn! All is good! We shared A TON OF LAUGHS, got some great photos, and made the deadline for the magazine!

Noah + Eazy | Huntington Central Park Equestrian Center | Huntington Beach, California

Noah + Eazy | Huntington Central Park Equestrian Center | Huntington Beach, California

When I first left my job and moved to Orange County to pursue my business full-time, Jen was one of the first families to hire me for holiday photos at Huntington Central Park Equestrian Center which I hoped I would be able to call my new “ranch home.” Jen is who guided me to contact Kim, start riding for her at Fohrman Performance Horses and introduced me to practically everyone I now see at the barn every single day!

Amber + Crew | Gibson Ranch | Sunland, CA

Amber + Crew | Gibson Ranch | Sunland, CA

I tried really hard last year to have a shut down after December 10th so I could finish editing the remaining sessions for year and enjoy the holidays with my family + friends. Instead I spent December 23rd with Boonie, Gusty,Romeo, Fiona, Harley, Skyler, and their human Amber.

Amber had reached out to me in fear that this would be Romeo’s last Christmas as his health sadly began to diminish and she always wanted photos of all her fur babies together and some great images to remember him by if she lost him.

Paris + Lucas | Los Angeles Equestrian Center | Los Angeles, California

Paris + Lucas | Los Angeles Equestrian Center | Los Angeles, California

This last year I team up with the LA Equestrian Center to do a giveaway for one of the boarders and Paris was the lucky winner! Not gonna lie I WAS SO GLAD SHE DID BECAUSE SHE WAS SUCH AN AMAZING HUMAN! This has nothing to do with the fact that she brought my horse Marco some Cinnamon Pop Tarts after learning they were his favorite treat!

When Paris and her trainer went to look at him, she instantly fell in love!

Emma + Captain | Goldenwest Stables | Huntington Beach, California

Emma + Captain | Goldenwest Stables | Huntington Beach, California

My favorite little model child Emma got to grace my camera again with her new buddy Captain! Emma was one of those girls that really helped kick start my business moving to Orange County after I photographed her and her favorite lesson horse Cruiser.

Cruiser was retired this last year and poor Miss Emma was devastated! Luckily her amazing trainer Kara brought a new American Mustang, Captain, into the program and just like that: Emma had a new best friend!

Susan + Bleu | Horse Spirit Ranch | Bonsall, California

Susan + Bleu | Horse Spirit Ranch | Bonsall, California

Susan contacted me after I had done some black backgrounds at Horse Spirit Ranch earlier that summer. She decided after losing her mare unexpectedly a few years back, that it was time to get in front of the camera so she could have more then just show photos of her horses. The mare was Bleu’s mother, so Susan has had him since before he was born! They met on a lovely evening in March 17 years ago. His mother was maiden so they were very surprised at what she saw on the straw! She said her eyes were so big that she will never forget it!

The Hunt | Ellany Equestrian + KF Clothing Branding Session | Huntington Beach, California

The Hunt | Ellany Equestrian + KF Clothing Branding Session | Huntington Beach, California

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Karina of The Hunt. How did our story start? Horses, duh! We could sit here and share some hilarious back stories of how our friendship started and grew, but reality is our passion for killer brands and desire to change the narrative on social media is where our working relationship started and has brought you this collaboration we did with Ellany Equestrian + KF Clothing.

Randi + Namaste | Rancho Tujunga | Sunland, California

Randi + Namaste | Rancho Tujunga | Sunland, California

Real talk, how many of us these days find our horses on Facebook? Yup, I found my last horse Sawyer in a Facebook group and sold him to his new owner the same way! What a world we live!

So it doesn’t surprise me one bit when clients tell me the same thing! Randi found Namaste while scrolling the site one day and couldn’t resist the sweet face you’re going to see on him! If you’re up for it, comment on this blog where you found your last horse! Was it Facebook?

The Horses of Big Sky Equestrian Center | Black Background Horse Portraits | Orangevale, California

The Horses of Big Sky Equestrian Center | Black Background Horse Portraits | Orangevale, California

My dream finally came true of photographing a Friesian for a Black Background Equine Portrait session! I DIED! Thank you everyone at Big Sky Equestrian Center for having me out a second time in 2018!

I’ll be returning to NorCal May 21st-26th 2019! Black Background Equine Portraits by Sara Shier Photography

Alexis, Duke + Lucy | Joey Pedroni Stables | Petaluma, California

Alexis, Duke + Lucy | Joey Pedroni Stables | Petaluma, California

“You are an amazing women Sara! You inspire me so much I’m so happy I had the chance to meet you. I LOVE the photos you took of us I seriously can’t shop looking at them! Thanks again for the shoot you’re incredibly talented” - Alexis

There are not enough good things I could say about Alexis! She was quite possibly was my favorite human on my NorCal trip this last fall! It had nothing to do with that comment she left on one of my Instagram post when I was going through a moment of weakness (burn out is a real thing my friends!).

Justin + Delaney | Lifestyle Session | Rancho Palos Verdes, California

Justin + Delaney | Lifestyle Session | Rancho Palos Verdes, California

”Hi Sara thank you so much for our beautiful pictures! We just LOVE them and I can’t wait to get one printed! We loved working with you, you were great! We just loved how personable you were and made us feel so comfortable, and not awkward as we both don’t like to be in the spotlight. And we loved how you were so flexible working with our dog! Thank you so much for everything!” - Delaney

The Horses of Bella Mar Training Stable | Black Background Portraits | Watsonville, California

The Horses of Bella Mar Training Stable | Black Background Portraits | Watsonville, California

First stop on my Fall NorCal trip of 2018 was Bella Mar Training Stable! Thank you for having me out and letting me meet 13 members of your crew!

Black Background Equine Portraits by Sara Shier Photography

My Letter to the Universe 2018

My Letter to the Universe 2018

Back when the tumblr blogging days were a thing on that hipster social media lifestyle... I'd write a letter to Universe every single year. 

2018 WAS THE YEAR OF THE RAT RACE and I learned a lot!

I honestly couldn’t tell you what was right, left, up or down. I put over 20,000 miles on my car, took some flights, shot my first