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Horse Photography Guide

 
Whether you are advertising your horse for sale, displaying his likeness around your home, or including a picture in a newspaper or magazine article that highlights his accomplishments, knowing how to photograph your horse correctly is an integral skill.  A good photograph enhances your horse's good qualities, while a bad photograph can highlight all of his faults.  In fact, a poor photo can even exaggerate those faults!  And you certainly don't want that!

Several Horses Galloping (Silhouettes)

Taking good photographs of your horse takes a bit of practice, but with a little time and know-how, plus the following tips, you'll be shooting great pictures of your horse in no time.

  • welsh pony
    Little Welsh pony guarding its territory
    in the mountains of Wales, England.
    Pay attention to the kind of film you use.  Good-quality film such as Kodak or Fuji can make a huge difference.  If you are using a 35 mm format, opt for 200 ASA.  Using a digital camera?  The higher the pixel resolution the better.  A digital SLR camera is especially useful for framing and focusing your image accurately.
  • Weather matters, so pick the right day.  Bright is good, but too much sun can work against you by creating dark shadows, and can be especially problematic if you are shooting a dark horse.  If you've scheduled your shoot on a sunny day, try using a flash to eliminate shadows.
  • zebra
    What's black and white,
    and runs all over?
    A zebra!
    When it comes to grooming, take some extra steps to ensure your horse looks his best.  If appropriate to the discipline in which he participates, braid his mane and oil his hooves.  Make sure his coat and his tail are shiny and well-brushed.  No hairy, dirty horses allowed!
  • Watch your background.  An uncluttered, natural background such as a field, woodland, or pasture is a good choice.  Don't choose locations such as barnyards or driveways that have stuff in the background.  Look at the details before you click.
  • Make sure tack is clean, and that anything your horse wears in the photo has been recently scrubbed.  Riders and handlers who appear in photos should be squeaky clean too.
  • Get some help.  You can't take pictures and position the horse too, so find someone to help you who knows how to pose a horse to his best advantage.
  • quarter horse mare sticking out her tongue
    Quarter Horse mare
    sticking out her tongue.
    Strike the right pose.  The angle and position of the horse are key to a good picture.  For a full body shot, stand the horse with both front legs together and one hind leg slightly behind the other.  To minimize parts looking too large or too small, focus on the middle of the horse, and do not shoot from too high or too low.  Make sure the horse looks alert, with bright eyes and both ears forward.  Stay away from the horse's front and rear ends, and concentrate on photographing your horse from the side.
  • If you are taking shots of your horse in action, you'll want to capture his power and impulsion.  A good way to do this is to photograph him with his leading leg extended.
  • Shoot lots of pictures!  While skill is certainly involved, some of the best horse photographs are taken at just the right moment.  So keep clicking and you are sure to get a shot that shows your horse at his best.

wild horse foal

Equine Photography Resources

  • Equine Photographers
    This networking organization provides guidance on relevant horse photography business topics.  It also strives to encourage professional integrity and career development through education, communication and mutual support, while promoting their members in numerous markets.
    www.EquinePhotographers.org

A Mare and Her Foal Eat Grass in a Meadow


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