Tips for Photographing Your Horse
Love your horse but can’t seem to get a perfect picture of him (or her)? Frustrated because your snaps don’t capture the beauty of your horse? You are not alone! Taking a good photograph of your horse can be difficult but here are some top tips on how to capture a fabulous image.
Choose the Right Time and Place
You will take better pictures if you photograph your horse early in the morning or late in the afternoon. When the sun is high in the sky it will cast awkward shadows and these are difficult to keep out of your shots. The clear light of the early morning helps to create beautiful images with less annoying shadows. Also remember where the light is coming from, if the sun is behind your horse you'll end up with a silhouette. Try to position yourself so the light is behind you and directed at your horse.
It is best to shoot outdoors as it may be too dark inside an arena or stable to take pictures without a flash. Using a flash can result in the light bouncing back off the subject and creating glare.
Pay Attention to the Background of Your Shots
The background could make or break your pictures. Busy backgrounds are incredibly distracting, especially when your horse is standing close to any banks of colour like bushes. It is best to put some distance between your horse and the background. Beautiful blue skies will enhance your images as they will provide a suitable contrast. Open fields also work well and blurred backgrounds can deliver stunning pictures. Remember to keep an eye on the horizontal lines in your photos - unless you are going for a wonky look of course!
Be Aware of the Floor
The surface that your horse is standing on will affect how well your shots turn out. Your horse will get lost against a really dark floor whilst bright paving can reflect too much light and wash out your images.
In order to get the best pictures, try to focus your camera correctly. A good SLR makes life easier as you have a view finder. It is harder to focus when you are looking at a screen. Whatever equipment you are using there should be something which indicates the focal point of the shot. Make sure that this is positioned on the subject of your picture, your horse, and not on the background. If your camera is set to auto, the resulting shot will feature your horse with a sharp background. By switching to portrait mode and then focusing, your horse will be in sharp focus in the image but the background will be blurred.
Lines of contrast help your camera to focus so you may achieve better results if your horse is wearing a blanket or tack. Black and grey horses are particularly difficult to photograph so tack can really help. If you are taking a head shot, focus on your horse’s eye and perhaps avoid a head on shot as these can make horses' heads look overly large and out of proportion. If you are snapping a horse and rider focus the camera on the horse’s neck.
Horses in Motion
Action shots are the most difficult to capture and can be almost impossible to perfect with a mobile or compact camera. You need an SLR camera with a sports setting. This will take shots using a faster shutter speed to prevent blurring and may take a rapid series of shots to ensure that you capture the horse centre frame. If you find it too difficult to snap a horse cantering or galloping, try taking pictures of them jumping. You will know exactly where to focus the camera because the fence doesn't move.