Of Horse

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8 Tips For Photographing Your Equine Friends
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8 Tips For Photographing Your Equine Friends

Know What You Are After

What type of picture are you after? An action shot? A candid shot? What is the goal you want to achieve? Answering these questions goes a long way in how you will approach your photography for the day.

Combining a shoot conformation shots and action ones can work well for you. When the horse is first out, he is frisky making it hard to get him to sit still for those conformation shots. Let him frolic and use the opportunity to get some action photos. He will then be more apt to calm down and give you the great conformation shots you want.

Candid shots are often favorites so keep your camera at the ready.


Learn what looks best by practicing. With the new digital cameras, you can take one shot after another and review to see what is best. Trying out different settings on your camera can help you find the right effect you are looking for.

Framing your shot correctly can take some practice also. Pictures of the head seem to be best when either both eyes are seen or a bit of the other eye is visible.


Natural light is best. Plan for the best lighting. Early morning is a good time. Cloudy days can give you soft, even light, but can be lower light making adjustments to the ISO and shutter speed necessary to get a sharp and in focus picture. Clouds can also be a diffuser of sunlight and spreading light out evenly, taking away the harsh shadows that a bright, sunny day can bring.


If you are having trouble getting the right composition, try hunting the web for the picture like the one you want and try copying it. Also check your local library for books on photography.

Beware of your background. A simple and uncluttered background is best. There is nothing worse than taking a great picture of the horse, but the background is awful. This can be especially true in crowds. Most photos look best with a plain background that doesn't contain lots of distracting objects to take away from the subject matter. Taking a step or two in either direction can eliminate the background that isn't working and make your shot work.

Know The Equipment

In addition to trying to photograph from different positions, such as laying on the ground, you'll need to be sure you know your camera. The zoom lens is fun to use and the telephoto lens helps with those up close pics you will probably want. Utilize the camera's manual to be sure you are using all that it has to offer.

Get Close

Using the full range of the wide angle lens helps with getting closer shots. Pictures with impact come from doing things like filling the LCD display and viewfinder with the subject.

Freeze The Action

This idea is where you take many pictures in succession. You just don't know what you might come up with by doing this! You'll want to shoot fast, at about 1/500 or faster. The light can be tricky for this one too. Using a shutter speed of 1/4 to 1/8 and panning the camera steadily while keeping your eye in focus will help with this type of picture.

Have Patience

Wait for the right pose. They may raise their head just so or their ears may go forward just right for a great effect. Practice panning for a shot. If you know the horse and he is almost doing what you seek, start to take some shots and see what you come up with.

In Conclusion

If you start out practicing and experimenting with different lenses and light, you might be surprised what you will come up with. Remember you are working with an animal and they don't always do what you think they will. Experiment and practice. Take some chances and have fun with it.


Image: Flickr.com

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  1. Ann Johnston
    What a cute post filled with wonderful tips.
    1. Eve Sherrill York
      Eve Sherrill York
      Thank you so much, Ann.
  2. Sarah Johnston
    Sarah Johnston
    This is a very fun post to read and is filled with wonderful tips. Voted
    1. Eve Sherrill York
      Eve Sherrill York
      That is very nice of you to say.
  3. Julie Sinclair
    What a fun article you wrote Eve
  4. Mark Calvo
    Mark Calvo
    This is a great post Eve. All of your advice is really good. I've been covering horse shows for 8 years now and every time I shoot I learn something. I have a trick for those who are having trouble getting the correct pose and will probably do a blog of my own. My trick is I have an assistant who can mimic a goat. If I want an over the shoulder shot she and I get set up then she makes her goat sound. The horse will turn to look at her and boom you have a shot. There are a lot of tricks. In short I would tell those who are new to photographing horses to pay attention to your blog and keep shooting. My mantra is shoot, review, repeat.
    1. Eve Sherrill York
      Eve Sherrill York
      That's great advice. Thanks for your input.

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