Taking Horse Pictures

ArticleHow to - General Equine AdviceFriday 20 January 2012
Horse Pictures

Everyone does it.  Taking pictures of your horse is just as common as taking pictures of your kids.  With Facebook and My Space and dozens of other photo sites and social networks online, people are taking pictures of their horses and posting them everywhere.

But what makes a good horse photo?  So many of the photos online are terrible pictures.  If you are looking to sell your horse, or even if all you want to do is show him off, it is important to take a good quality photo.

It may sound obvious, but it’s amazing how many people forget.  Before you take a picture of your horse, groom him!  Scrub the dirt out of his coat, or give him a bath if you can.  Nothing improves a horse’s appearance more than a good grooming or bath.  Finish your grooming job by putting a clean, undamaged halter or bridle on him for the photos.

Once your horse is groomed, you will need to choose a good background.  Find somewhere that is appealing to the eye, but not so busy as to distract the viewer from your horse.  Beware vertical distractions such as trees or posts that could wind up sticking straight up out of your horse’s back or head in the photo.

Get someone to help you if you can.  If not, try turning your horse out in a small paddock or ring and bring a whip to get him to move away from you as you photograph.

Your helper should stand your horse up so that his legs are reasonably even.  He should not be standing under, or trailing his legs out behind him.  His head and neck should be up and alert.  Ideally, your helper should stand back from your horse so that you can keep her out of your picture.  By keeping a loop in the line your handler will not be pulling at your horse’s mouth and irritating him.

Step back far enough to comfortably fit your horse in the viewfinder.  Instead of standing, squat down to bring your camera level with your horse.  If you take a photo from a standing position it will be angled downwards, distorting the photo and making the horse’s legs look short and stubby.

The horse should be standing square to the camera.  Angling too much towards the quarters makes them look too large, while angling towards the front will make our horse’s head and neck look too large.

If your horse is loose, it is even more important to catch him in a good position.  It is harder when the horse is moving around, so be ready to take advantage of that large memory card in your digital camera.  Grazing photos may be cute, but they generally distort the horse and don’t show off his conformation.  Use your whip to get your horse moving.

The best shots happen when something distracts your horse from outside the ring.  He will perk up and stare into the distance at whatever caught his attention.  If you can catch it, this type of photo nearly always shows your horse at his best.

Practice by taking lots of photos.  Take advantage of your digital camera, and practice as often as you can.  Look through your photos and weed out the ones that are no good.  Then take the best ones and get some friends to look over them and critique them.  Do your best to learn from your mistakes, and soon you will find that more and more of your photos will be useable

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