Getting this week kicked off with an amazing portrait film photographer, Kirstie Marie. Originally from Oregon, Kirstie now resides in the Dallas area and takes gorgeous photos of horses and their people. We have loved getting to know her a little bit and it is so obvious how much she cares for her clients and how much she loves getting to work with animals. This bluebonnet filled senior shoot is so perfect for the spring!
Heirloom: What began your love of horses & photography?
Kirstie: I have been in love with horses for as long as I can remember. I started riding when I was three and my parents bought my first pony when I was 8. I was “that” horse-crazy kid in school growing up. I lived and breathed horses. I had toy horses instead of Barbies, and riding lessons instead of soccer practice – my life was consumed. In high school I had my soul mate-of-a-horse that I had an incredibly strong relationship with. I had to sell him before moving to Texas to ride for Texas Christian University’s equestrian team. When I bought my first camera in college it was only natural to document my first love (horses) and try to articulate in a photograph the bond between a girl and her horse. With every single session I am trying to deliver to my client the photographs I wish I had for myself.
Heirloom: What do you like to do for fun?
Kirstie: I grew up outside of Portland, Oregon, and moved to Texas for college. Texas has my heart. There is so much to do! So much wonderful food, all of the professional sports teams, golfing year round, great rodeos, horse racing at Lone Star Park, and (obviously) riding horses!
Heirloom: What is the hardest part about working with animals?
Kirstie: Horses are far more intelligent than most give them credit for. I find that the most difficult part of working with horses is motivation. They have to want to be there, and they have to want to behave. I will have a shot in my head that I need to coax the horse into agreeing with – which sometimes works with praise & treats. But, other times, a horse simply doesn’t want to behave and in that case I need to rely on plan B, C, D, E… all the way to Z.
I feel like I bring two main advantages to my shoots: I have worked with horses my entire life and know how to read them, train them, and encourage them, and I have learned to build extra time into my sessions so that we can improvise if things go south. Patience goes a long way – working with animals simply takes longer and each horse is different on different days.
Heirloom: Do you have any morning rituals or things you do to get ready for a long day of editing & shooting?
Kirstie: My ritual starts with the night before. I get all of my gear and bags packed. And then I check, double check, and triple check that everything is ready to go! I go to bed early for plenty of rest and then wake very early the day of the shoot. I enjoy my Stumptown coffee and browse social media. I also spend a lot of time in prayer for my client before the shoot starts. Then I pack up my gear and my dog into the truck and we head out!