Tips on Photographing your horse

If you are advertising your horse for sale, a good photograph can make a huge difference. To help you, we have compiled a list of useful tips. Remember; a well taken photograph will show your horse at its best, but a poorly taken photograph can exaggerate any faults your horse may have.

bullet Pick the right day. A bright day is good, but pick a day that isn’t too sunny (not usually an issue in Ireland). Too much sun will create dark shadows, and can be particularly problematic if you are shooting a dark horse. If you have no choice but to shoot on a sunny day, use a flash to eliminate shadows. It sounds odd, but it really does work!
bullet Prepare your horse. Nobody expects your horse to be turned out to show standard, but a clean well groomed horse will always look better. Grey horse in particular, need to be really well washed to show them at their best.
bullet Pay attention to the background. A natural background such as a field, woodland, or pasture is a good choice. No matter how clean and tidy your yard is, there is almost always something in the background. You want the viewer to see your horse, not to be distracted by your new tractor. Also, pay attention to the perspective. Very often, you will see photos where some background object appears to be growing out of the horse.
bullet Make sure tack is clean. Fluffy nylon head-collars will do your horse no favours.
bullet Enlist the help of a knowledgeable horse person. You can’t take pictures and position the horse too, so you’ll need some help. It’s best if the person who helps you knows how to pose a horse to his best advantage.
bullet The angle and position of the horse are key. For a full body shot, stand the horse with both front standing square 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. Horse not cooperating? Have a friend make some noise (outside the frame, of course!) to get your horse’s attention.
bullet If you are taking shots of your horse in action, you’ll want to capture his power and impulsion. If your horse is trotting or cantering, try to capture him with his leading leg extended.
bullet Stay away from the front and rear. This is particularly important if your horse has a naturally large head. If you photograph them from the front, their head will look huge.
bullet Keep clicking! While skill is most certainly involved, some of the best horse photographs are lucky. Don’t wait for the perfect moment. Just keep clicking and you are sure to get a shot that shows your horse at his best!