Unicorn Photo Day

February 02, 2019  •  1 Comment

I'm trying to get back into photo blogging. I photographed over 50 sessions last year, which means I have not blogged in a very long time. Blogging takes time but its fun because it lets me show people recent work. I'm trying to go back and catch up on old sessions in somewhat chronological order. I definitely cant post every session I did last year, but will showcase some favorites.   (If you are looking for my Wedding Blog, its on my new wedding bride focused site. The alixartphotography blog on my main site is dedicated to fairytale sessions and family sessions.) I will share the new address of my wedding blog, once its all set and ready! ....  

2018 was a crazy year for me. It started off slow and sleepy as all Januarys do. I got a comical idea of hiring a Pony dressed a Unicorn last winter. I put on my first Unicorn Photo day, which included pony rides for all the children while I photographed them. Technically, it was challenging as the pony wanted to walk really fast once the children were on. This pony went to birthday parties alot and was use to walking fast for all the birthday party children. It gave my amazing assistant some comedy exercise as she had to walk run very fast while holding my professional lighting gear . Keeping up with a pony, while using professional on location lighting equipment was fun, and more challenging then following a bride down the aisle with a camera!! Seriously!   Also, there was a gigantic rainstorm threatening the area the weekend that my Unicorn Day was scheduled! Thankfully, the location had a large grove of redwood trees, which we were able to photograph inside of, and the trees acted like gigantic umbrellas!   Unicorn day was completely delightful and fun. This year, I'm looking around for a pony who might be willing to stand still for photographs.

In reality, Unicorn Day was more technically challenging to photograph then the weddings I have photographed! Why? you might be wondering.. Well a moving pony, a forest, little girls around age 5 and a rainstorm all together meant fast action, crouching under trees and logs and trying to get small children, as well as a pony to behave.   This meant on a technical level, that my assistant was carrying my off-camera flash in constant motion, leeping it at a 45 degree angle for flattering portrait light, as the horse was moving.  My regular camera settings, I usually prefer a wide aperture for that beautiful, soft bokeh in the background. I normally use my favorite portrait lens 85mm, but with the pony in action, I quickly switched to my heavier 70-200 Nikon telephoto lens. 2.8 still leaves room for some bokeh (background blur for you non-technical readers) and a faster shutter speed so that the pony would be captured on the go.

The pony was happiest when we set up flowers and strategically placed hay for him to eat. The little girls got to choose from my collection of dresses, which we brought to the location.

I had an awesome make-up artist there, sarah. designsbydonovan.  She did adorable, natural beauty make-up on all the little girls before they chose their dresses and geared up for their Unicorn ride.

Some of the girls opted to dress as royal Princesses, while some decided to dress as Fairy Princesses.   When I discovered a gigantic rainstorm was heading our direction, my daughter and I went to the fabric store I and sewed "unicorn capes" - made of faux fur and flannel, specifically to keep the little girls warm when riding the Unicorn. Cold children, I have learned from experience do not photograph as well as a warm, snuggled child. Keeping your kids warm during a photo session is definitely a key ingredient. Having learned this the hard way, over the years, it is always an important consideration. 

Some of the mothers decided they would like to be captured WITH their daughter riding a unicorn, making for a treasured memory that will now have for the rest of their lives. The mothers showed up in their own amazing fairytale gowns and perfect make-up, surprising me as there is nothing more precious then a mother daughter classic portrait photograph, especially when adding in fairytale elements such as wings, a unicorn, fancy dresses, and wildflowers. 

What a fun memory to have with your daughter! 

Mother Daughter portraits an an absolute favorite of mine because I have two little girls of my own. My own little girls begged and begged to be able to come back and ride the unicorn after the Unicorn day Photo Shoot was over. The older one offered to run aroudn the meadow picking up all the props we had strategically placed in the meadow just so she could have one more ride with the pony... 

My oldest daughter is my artistic muse. Playing Dress up is one of her favorite pastimes, when paired with an artist photographer for a mother I am looking forward to a lifetime of artistic, creative endeavors with her. She was thrilled last year when I began planning on having a actual pony dressed as a unicorn for a photo session. She immediately volunteered to be a model. Given the lighting requirements needed for a moving pony, and the sports camera settings, it was a fabulous idea to do a test pony ride. 


My collection of ballerina and princess dresses began to quickly grow last year at the beginning of 2018. My younger daughter was in her first ever ballet performance and I had been asked to photograph many little ballerinas for the Nutcracker. I was thrilled to photograph little ballerinas, and the bonus was that I was able to collect a few of the extra tutus for my Photography Studio Wardrobe collection.

I have been collecting princess dresses, since BEFORE my daughters were born. The dress collection did start to take over my Studio last year though.

The field at our location was perfect for a moving pony. 


I initially wanted to have the girls barefoot while riding the unicorn. Dont you know, all fairies are barefoot in my imagination, however I have no decided that cowgirl boots are the way to go. I dont think I would want anybody to get stepped on by a horse. Pink cowgirl boots are my first choice. 

Cowgirl boots recommended, but I couldn't resist the look of tied princess shoes / ballerina style.  

Some of the Unicorn images, I added some of my one of a kind, fine art editing to the final images.

Sisters riding a unicorn together.


unicorn and rainbows(non-registered)
Excellent work! As a lover of everything related to unicorns and photography I can only congratulate you on your great work with these photos. If my two daughters had that great variety of unicorn dresses, they would actually be dressed like this all day long.
I hope one day I can do a similar photo session with the unicorns and my girls will have a memory like this forever.
Congratulations again and best wishes.
No comments posted.

Welcome to the Portrait Photo Blog for Alixandra Art & Photography Studios. Fine Art Photography with Fairytale, Mermaid and Classic Portraits Sessions available in Northern California, Oregon & Washington areas. 

Children's Flower Fairies

Mermaid Photography (Beach)

Mermaid Photography (lagoon)

Snow Princesses

Classic Family Portraits (Meadow)





January (1) February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February (3) March April (1) May June July August September (1) October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September (1) October November December
January February (5) March April May June July August (1) September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November (3) December
January February March (1) April May June (2) July (2) August September (6) October November December