Photographing Your Horse for Sale: Six Things to Avoid
If you are trying to sell your horse, you probably understand the importance of taking good photos. Unfortunately, many sellers post poor quality photos of their horses for sale, turning away potential buyers, and reducing the value of their horse.
Here are several common faux-pas of equine photography to avoid.
1. Not Grooming Your Horse
It is amazing how many people take photos of their sales horses without grooming them. There is nothing less attractive to a buyer than a muddy, hairy, generally dirty horse who looks as though no one has bothered to take the time to care for him. This is particularly true if you are advertising your horse as a show horse or a stallion prospect. Take the time to clean up your horse before photographing. You will find it is well worth the effort.
2. Taking Pictures in the Field
While casual pictures of a horse outside can be nice, they are not good sales photos. A horse is not shown off well if he is busy stuffing his face with grass, or even worse, if he has his head deep into a round bale. Pictures of your horse sticking his nose into the camera, or trying to eat it, are not particularly becoming. You also should avoid photos with a group of horses in them – the buyer will have a hard time knowing which horse is the one for sale.
3. Bad Backgrounds
It is important to get photographs with backgrounds that are not especially distracting to the eye. A buyer can’t get a good look at the horse if it is surrounded by a busy or highly contrasting background. Likewise, barbed wire fencing, old farm tools and other dangerous articles are a poor decoration for your photo. The buyer will be more concerned about your horse’s safety than about actually buying him. Also, beware trees or posts that “grow” out of your horse’s head or back.
4. Using Old Photos
There is nothing more annoying that to look at a horse that is advertised to be a four-year-old only to be shown nothing more recent than his baby pictures. Make sure that any photos you use to advertise are current. If you are advertising your horse as going under saddle, make sure that you have some photos of him working under saddle. The more recent your photos are, the better. However, good quality summer photos are better than photos taken in the winter when your horse is shaggy and not looking his best.
5. Doing it all by Yourself
To take good photos, you really need an extra set of hands. With a helper you can have someone set up your horse so that he is standing well. A helper can also chase your horse so that he is moving forward if you are taking free motion photos. Of course, it is also essential to have a helper if you are taking photos of your horse under saddle. Too many photos are poorly taken due to a lack of assistance, so call in those favors and get your friends out to assist.
6. Bad Camera Angle
The camera lens will distort the picture you take, and you need to compensate for this. Photograph the horse by squatting down enough to have your eye-level near the middle of the horse’s body. Avoid head shots where all you will see is the nose and a tiny body.