Youth News

How to Photograph a Horse

March 19, 2010

Learn how to take horse pictures with Two Bits!

With all the new-fangled ways to take pictures today, some folks have begun to take photos for granted. But not Two Bits. He likes to do it the old-fashioned way… probably because we won’t give him a cell phone with a camera included with it.

Two-Bits

Even a disposable camera can take a perfectly nice photo. Two Bits has some advice for some of you amateur photographers.

  • Stand the horse so his profile is in direct light. The sun should shine directly on his side, and his shadow should fall directlybehind him.
  • Stand about 35 feet away and kneel (unless you are short). You want your camera angle close to the center of the horse.
  • Use the zoom setting and center his profile. If your camera doesn’t have a telephoto setting, stand farther back. His image should not completely fill the frame.
  • Wait for a pretty expression.
  • Shoot.

Attention to details can improve your chances of getting a result you like.

Follow these tips:

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  • Make sure your horse and tack are clean and shiny … unless you want a fuzzy, scruffy, everyday, barnyard shot, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Candid shots give us memories of our normal lives, not just our dress-up moments.
  • Use fly spray. But use it carefully. You don’t want to leave wet streaks that will show up in you picture. But you also don’t want a fidgety horse kicking at flies and lashing his tail.
  • Make sure tack fits. Watch for distracting loops or tassels. These may look perfectly normal in real life, but in a picture they sometimes seem to be sprouting from a horse’s ear or chin.
  • Find a natural background. Or a wall that contrasts with your horse’s color. Put a light-colored horse against a dark wall, and vice versa.
  • Be aware of your background. Changes in background, such as a building or tree line, can blur your horse’s top line.
  • Think how you’ll get those ears up. Grain or carrots can work. Slightly alarming objects, like squeakers, plastic bags, foil or mirrors can work. Best of all is to train your horse to “look pretty.”
  • If photographing your horse from the side. Focus your camera at a point just behind the center of his shoulder. Experiment with your own stance. If the camera is too low, the horse may look too leggy. Too high and he’ll seem squat.
  • Take lots and lots and lots of shots. The editor of LensWork magazine says, “If you’re not shooting 100 negatives for every one print, you’re not being energetic enough.”

So get out there, and get shooting!