Zoom lens camera.

Horse pictures are best done using a camera with zoom capabilities. Make sure you are far enough back to zoom in at least some on the horse. This will keep the horses body proportions balanced even when part of the horse might be closer to you than the rest. (An example of no zoom is when the head looks larger than it should be if it is toward the camera.) If you do not have access to a zoom then make sure the horse does not have the head turned even a little toward the camera.

Choose a sunny day.

The only way to have a really pretty picture is for the horse's coat to shine. This will not happen on a cloudy day. MOrnings are best because it is cool and the sun is not high. When the sun is high, noontime, it will cause shadows on the horse in places that will not be enhancing. It also keeps the horses color from showing normally due to reflection.

Have a leather halter or bridle.

Make sure it is properly adjusted and all buckles and keepers are in place. Do not have the noseband to low or to high. (This results in the head looking long.)

The horse should be wiped off and mane should be contained on the side away from the camera. This will allow you to see the horses true topline and neck connection into the wither. In most cases if the horse is reasonably clean it does not need to be bathed. If it does be sure to wait until it is dry to take the pictures. The horse might appear to be shiny when wet but it also accentuates the ribs and other bends in the body.

Adequate help.

At least 2 people, handler and ear perker are the minimum. It is best if the horse handler has some horse skill and lots of patience.

Have the sun on your back.

Check that the horse is angled so it's shadow is directly behind it. (opposite the side from the camera) Position yourself perpendicular to the wither and below the withers. If you are to low you will show the horses belly. You are just trying to be on a line running through the center of the horse's body. (head to tail)

Proper positioning of the horse.

*Horse must be standing in open stance with the open legs perpendicular to the ground.

*Do not let the horse be leaning over his front end.

*Try to have the front legs and hind legs the same distance from each other. If not the hind can have more space between them than the front but not the reverse.

*make sure you look at the horses body parts and that the stance is not causing the horse to tilt to the side. This will happen if the hind legs are to far apart.

*Try not to have to much clutter behind the horse.

*If the end result of the picture will be black and white make sure the background is lighter than the horse.

*Do not stand horse in deep grass and be sure the ground is level. Many a picture has been taken with the horse looking downhill because the horses front feet were in a low spot.

For the purpose of sale, I usually try to take a picture with the horse's head up and out (dressage) like the one at the top. Then a second one with the horse's head lower and out (hunter)

Above all everyone must have patience. Don't settle for mediocre or just cute. Be critical, a bad picture could keep the shopper from asking for anything more.

This mare is leaning forward which is making her shoulder look much straighter than it was. Having the hind leg to far back will flatten the croup but also make the hip appear longer.

Ear Perker toys.

Collect some things that a horse might be interested in. Try not to use food, horses will walk forward to food or treats. Plastic on a longe whip, toys that move or talk, pinwheel, sheet that a person can put over themselves and run around and a mirror that a horse can see itself in. In the case of a stallion another horse may work. It is also really helpful if you can take the horse to a place or area to which it is unaccustomed. this may make them harder to stand still but they will be brighter in stance and expression.

This picture was taken with the horse going into the sun. You can see the shadows this causes on his body.
It is a real plus if the ear perker is someone with with a good attitude and no shame.
Hunter type pose with head low and out. <

^

<
^
click here to go back to photography page.

 

Picture Taking Hints