Photographing a horse is DEFINITELY not as easy as it looks. I think for most part people have issues because they can”t SEE what looks good before they snap the picture and for some, they just don”t know what to look for.
For this series I”ll focus primarily on shooting horses for sale BUT may occasionally do other stuff. In general a GREAT sale horse photo is also a great personal photo so these articles should apply to all horse owners / horse fanciers.
Having an assistant to help move, setup and / or hold the horse is absolutely essential. While SOME liberty shots can be achieved by yourself it always helps to have an assistant keep a horse moving for you. All assistants, however, are NOT created equal.
When I shoot a horse, if my best friend / business partner is my assistant I KNOW we are going to get great shots. I KNOW that even if we only have 15 min we can knock out a great photo shoot for a horse.
If I have one of my guy friends shooting though…it”s a whole other story. An assistant must move a horse when he needs to be moved, must know when to STOP and let the horse “pose” for the camera (oh yeah they pose!!).
A good assistant must know how to setup the breed of horse for a conformation shot or at a minimum know when a horse is square in front and behind. A good assistant knows I don”t want a picture of their shadow and moves accordingly.
Great thing about assistants, MOST can be trained! So its down to the picture taking. There are important tips to consider when trying to get good pictures of your horse:
- Learn EVERYTHING you can BEFORE you go out and take pictures. Angles, apertures, poses, read your camera manual.
- Make sure your horse is CLEAN!
- Make sure your tack fits.
- Make sure you use the right lighting setting on your camera.
- Get HELP! This is a two-person job at a minimum.
- Zoom in or stay waaaayy back.
- Early morning or evening ONLY. No shooting on your lunch break. Unless its overcast..then maybe.
- Get some outside feedback.
- Practice some more
A good camera helps but you CAN get decent photos with a point and shoot camera. Don’t worry about the camera so much. Almost any modern digital camera will work and even some phone cameras if needed.
For this series, I will post a series of weekly examples with my thoughts on MY pictures. I do VERY little post-photography editing. Feel free to comment.
I own and recommend the following: