I understand that you are hungry, cold, and tired and spent all day taking care of horses when you were supposed to be riding, training, and selling the horse. The SECRET to being successful in the horse industry is time management. Know what you are excellent at, and be gentle and accept yourself for who you are in the areas that you know you don't have the time of day to be perfect in. You can't have it all!!!
Today I am going to give you all my best tips on how to get that sale video and photo done with inexperienced help. Plan on this being your one and only shot to get sale video and photo done. It probably is, because if you're begging for mom or grandma or your twelve year old student to take video you will not, I repeat will not, have reliable help to do it again next week if you make any mistakes.
Let's talk about you first. If you are super woman (or superman) then you should probably clean all your tack and shine up your boots the night before. If you are NOT super woman, don't fret, just take a hard brush or rag to your boots, but definitely make sure they are clean. Wear a nice shirt and breeches that make you pop!
For the horse, obviously make sure it's clean. But don't make excuses if it's winter and a grey horse - just put the horse in a teeth whitening app at the end of the photo shoot and brighten it. You're welcome! Make sure the horse has a nice set of polos on. I have one set of sale polos/pads that I use. They are white, and I use the same set on every sale horse and wash them after each use. It doesn't have to be complicated or expensive! Also, sometimes a cute head shot with a colorful ear bonnet helps - especially on a cute mare. On that note, do you notice how the wraps are on backwards in this photo? Yes, they are. Yes, a working student did them. No I don't care if every negative nancy in town sends me a message because they are on backwards. Don't worry - this photo "popped" and still had a ton of hits and recognition. People don't realize how pressed you are for time to get things done. My point, get the job done and be gentle with yourself if it's not perfect.
RULES FOR TEACHING YOUR HELP!!!!!
1. NEVER EVER EVER LET THEM USE THEIR PHONE! Do you know what happens if they use their phone? Then they are going to try to email it to you and you are going to lose quality and you're hard work just went down the drain. ALWAYS use your phone.
2. Teach your helper to get down on one knee and shoot up. Make sure they don't cut off the nose or the tail. (Seriously, double check that a few times and make sure you have the shot before you stop).
3. Tell them to click click click when it's photo time, that more photos is better.
4. Teach your help to focus on the center of the horse and keep the camera angle straight to the angle of the horse. Do you see in this photo above how the angle is a little off? That is the most difficult thing to teach and yet it is also the most important, and that will determine whether your photos sink or swim.
5. Put your horse on a green backdrop if possible. Green fields and blue skies always sell. Make your horse "pop" out from their surroundings.
What are your goals for sale photos? You're going to want a really cute conformation shot with ears up and forward on a green backdrop, and you're going to want to get a cute head shot. You're also going to want one trot picture and one canter picture under saddle - but you get those two pictures by taking sale video and pulling screenshots out of the sale video.
Additional photos that you need that you don't put on Facebook (only as needed through text and messenger) are a few more conformation shots of the front legs, hind legs, and pictures of the hooves. DO THIS NOW WHILE YOU HAVE HELP!! Then keep it on your phone and send it by request. There's no need to clutter up Facebook with extra photos, choose just four pictures that will make your horse stand out (confo, headshot, trot, canter).
Now for the sale video....
If you're uploading to Facebook it needs to be under one minute. Also, people don't have attention spends. Your video needs to be 2 to 3 minutes max. Here's what you are going to do to make it clean and uncluttered.
1. Put your assistant in the center of a twenty meter circle. Tell them to get down low on one knee and follow you around the circle.
RULES FOR VIDEO INCLUDE: Do not chop off head, tail, or rider, or ZOOM in or out (it makes it really fuzzy when you upload).
2. You have a plan for your horse. Your plan is three to four walk steps, then one circle at the trot, one circle at the canter, beautiful downward transition to trot, a change of direction outside the circle (so you're assistant doesn't have to zoom) where you come back onto the circle and do one more lap of trot and one canter circle in the new direction.
3. Your video must happen within 60 seconds. You're transitions must be brilliant or people will call your horse green. If you are skilled, as for a big lengthening to show off your horse's big pretty gaits when you return to the circle. Keep it really simple and trot and canter right away.
Additional video add ons - you're going to string together these clips in the movie editor on your phone after you take them as separate clips and add them after your initial walk trot canter video.
1. Jumping. If you're selling the horse to kids, trot down and over a cross rail to a halt. It should take 11-15 seconds
2. Trail - If you're selling to adult amateurs or a kid, show a student ride the horse over a log and down a hill to a halt. Short clip.
3. Sport horse - trot and canter that horse BIG across a hayfield to demonstrate big gaits. Put bright colored polos on so they can see the legs.
4. Kid/amateur friendly - show a student or amateur rider trotting and cantering the horse in an open field to demonstrate control.
Remember after you string this together it should be three to four minutes max.
These are the techniques that I have used to help sell horses over the years. I do not have reliable help, and on many occasions I have to train people how to take good photo and video. Remember, the best advice I ever received for marketing was to Keep It SIMPLE - and that's what I do in order to keep my ducks in a row.