Steampunk Inspired Photo Shoot with a Train!

I am having such a great time with my new Fantasy Photo Shoots Facebook group. People are sharing some amazing photos and ideas with each other. I will be featuring some of these creative equestrians on my blog to help inspire you with ideas. Featured in this blog post is Heather Hayes. Heather and I met when I lived briefly in Ashford, CT. I asked her to share the behind-the-scenes details of her recent steampunk photo shoot. The rest of the article is in Heather's words...

About the Rider

I grew up the daughter of horse-loving parents! My mom grew up around horses and my dad was a trainer for over 50 years. I was on a horse before I could walk and never looked back!  My background includes reining, hunters, jumper, eventing, dressage and driving. I hold a BS in Equine Science and am certified for equine massage and myofascial work. 

About the Horse

Cinta de Seda (Sadie for short!) is a 2003 Azteca mare that I found totally by accident in 2009. She's absolutely brilliant, has a huge personality and loves to work every single day! Sadie has top 5 national placings in a variety of disciplines and has shown through Third Level dressage and Level 3 in Working Equitation. 

Heather Hayes with her Azteca mare Sadie.

About the Photographer

Melissa Ferrucci and I met thru the horse show world and have been friends ever since. She does photography as a hobby on the side and has a fantastic eye. Click here to visit her Facebook page.

Inspiration

I am NOT a fu-fu princess girl! My background outside of horses includes work for DOD (Department of Defense) and extensive exposure to firearms. I've been wanting to do a shoot that combines two of my passions and am glad to have finally had the chance! Additionally, I absolutely love the grit and feel of the TV series, Hell on Wheels and wanted to capture some of that vibe. I think we pulled it off pretty well!

Heather Hayes riding her Azteca mare Sadie. Photo taken by Melissa Ferrucci.

Costume

The hat and accessories are homemade, antique firearms are from our collection and the corset and skirt are from Damsel in this Dress. 

Hair & Makeup

I am the first to admit that I am incapable of hair and makeup. It's a good day if I wear lipgloss.  Hair and makeup were done by Jillian Labrie, click here to visit her Jillian & Company Facebook page. I can't say enough how great she is to work with and her background in the horse world made working with her on something like this super easy. 

Heather Hayes modeling with hair and makeup done by Jillian Laurie. Photo take by Melissa Ferrucci.

Tack

The bridle is just a training bridle and the saddle was my mom's wedding gift to my dad. After helping them both through serious health issues the last two years...well...I couldn't have used another saddle for this. That simple. 

Location

We were allowed to shoot at the Antique Machinery Museum in Kent CT. This is a fantastic place and open to the public for the cost of a small donation. Wonderful people, loads of history. 

Back to Sandra

I hope you enjoyed this blog post! To learn more about Fantasy Photo Shoots with your horse, check out my E-Book series!

"Red Riding Hood" Fantasy Photo Shoot - Costume Ideas & Resources

Putting together a creative photo shoot with your horse can be a lot of fun but it also takes time and imagination! This particular idea took me two years to complete from start to finish. By the time my custom cape was ready the snow was all gone so I had to wait another year. I had to keep a close eye on the weather and wait for the perfect conditions, fresh snow on the ground, light snowfall in the air, no wind and decent temps (it was about 25 degrees the day of the shoot). It was worth the wait! 

I was inspired to try this shoot while browsing through Pinterest. My favorite photos were taken in the winter and I knew the dramatic color contrast would look great on Douwe, my Friesian. I have saved over 6,000 images to my Costume Inspiration board on Pinterest. If you are looking for costume ideas definitely check out my board! Click here.


Costume

The Red Cape: The most important costume piece! I searched around on Etsy to see what was on sale but my only choice was to have one custom made. I wanted it to have extra length so that when I rode the horse it almost hit the ground. Luckily, I know an amazing seamstress who lives locally in Dover-Foxcroft, ME. Her name is Rhonda Kirkpatrick. You can contact her at: rhonda@designersfortheatre.com. She found a great pattern for a monk's hood and cape that draped nicely over the shoulders. We had a hard time finding fabric because the red wool isn't readily available certain times of the year. I eventually found EXACTLY what I needed at Marden's, they had one roll left of this beautiful red wool AND matching cotton fabric for a liner! I was so excited! Lucky for me it was a fraction of the cost...I can't remember what I paid for it but I know that it was more than 50% off. Click on an image below to open a slideshow. The wool is gorgeous but keep in mind that it is quite HEAVY. It isn't always easy to manage but stays draped over the horse very well in motion.

A Beautiful Clasp: I wanted a beautiful, gold clasp at the neck to match the accents on my corset. After searching through JoAnn Fabric, ACMoore and online I was unable to find an actual clasp that would be large enough and strong enough to hold up that amount of fabric. What I did find were these plastic accessories in the clearance section at Hobby Lobby that were only .99 cents each! I used a gold Sharpie marker to doll them up and Rhonda sewed them onto the cape to look like a clasp! Voila! 

Black Leather Gloves: On a whim I stopped at Goodwill and found the most perfect pair of gloves!!! Soft black leather, insulated, just the right size, and long!!! They were perfect!

corset sandy.jpg

Steampunk Corset: I already owned this corset and I knew that I would use it for this shoot. I originally bought this online at www.corset-story.com to wear in the indie film Essential Realism. They have an amazing selection of corsets and I currently own three from their website. This corset is steel boned, making it harder to get into, you will need someone to lace you up! The less expensive plastic boning is more flexible but may not have the look you want.

White Blouse: My mother-in-law Bethanne is always finding unique costume pieces at Goodwill and gave me this beautiful blouse. It has a ruffled neckline, perfect to wear with the corset. I am always on the lookout for tops that have a unique neckline to wear with corsets.

Black Skirt: I bought this gypsy skirt online at www.moondancebellydance.com. I have 4 of these 25 yard skirts and use them all the time. They come in one size with a drawstring so it is very adjustable. You will need a circle skirt to cover your legs and your horse. I did not wear an underskirt in this photo shoot but I should have because I ripped it while I was walking around in the snow, the fabric is pretty gauzy and light. They have a wide variety of colors on their website.

Fur Belt: This piece of fur is actually a shrug that I bought for a previous winter photo shoot. It is meant to sit over your shoulders. It fit perfectly around my hips and added a nice touch! I bought it at JCPenney in their accessory aisle.


Hair & Makeup

I experimented with rag curlers for this shoot because I didn't want to spend hours curling my hair. I cut 1 x 8" strips out of an old tee shirt and used a pencil to help roll them up (I found instructions on Pinterest). Unfortunately the curls fell out slightly because of the snow/dampness. For makeup I did a basic smokey eye and red lipstick.

Click here for a blog post on How to use Rag Curlers: 
http://offbeatbride.com/rag-curls/


Tack

Bridle: I used a custom bitless bridle made for me by Lisa Oberman of El Sueno Espanol. She originally made this for the indie film Essential Realism. I wanted something simple but the accents on the bridle look great for this style of photograph. Click here to visit her Facebook page to see some of her amazing creations!


Photographer

Because this photo shoot was so dependent on the weather I needed someone that could be ready at the last minute. My best friend Lydia Rose Spencer lives at Isaac Royal Farm where we did the photo shoot (her mother owns the facility). She used a Canon 60D camera with a 18-135mm lens.

Please take a moment to visit her website http://lydiarosefineart.com/ and her Lydia Rose Art Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/LydiaRoseArt?fref=ts to see her amazing collection of equine art.

Is That a Real Raven? While we were in the process of the shoot both Lydia and I remembered a photo we saw on Pinterest with a girl on a horse and a Falcon in her hand. We tried multiple poses with me holding my hand out, pretending to look at a bird. Lydia did an AMAZING job creating these images and just about everyone thought the raven was real! 

I hope you have enjoyed this blog post! Please share your photos and videos with me so that I can see what you have come up with!

Do you love being creative with your horse?

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