Many places across the US are opening back up for business, which is great for those who have been starved of horse contact. Naturally, this is the perfect time to get lots of photos of your equine friend. But, of course you get lots of pictures of your horse. Everyone does. It wouldn’t be normal not to takes lots and lots of pictures. But if you feel like your photos are starting to feel the same, here are a few ideas of different shots to get some variety.
If you’re still under lockdown, well, I guess you’re going to have to sit this one out for now. Make a note of things to try when you can see your horse again.
This isn’t about the technical details on how to get a good photo. There’s numerous guides out there with how to use your camera. Instead, this is for helping to get your creative juices flowing on composing your shot.
You also don’t need a fancy camera. The best camera is the one you have with you, and if that is your cell phone, so be it.
White Background Portrait
A horse head on a white background is a classic shot. To get this photo, you’ll need appropriate weather conditions, cloudy or overcast. Get lower than your horse and shoot towards the sky. Keep in mind that you aren’t trying to get a picture of the underside of the horse’s face, so try to be creative with your angling. Take a step back if needed.
Alternatively, you can just find a white background. I painted my barn white, which works well. Berry in her bridle below was shot against the barn. In this instance, I waited until the sun was hitting the barn so it would reflect and smooth out the background completely.
We all know horses be some of the spookiest or most suspicious animals around. Bring something new out, and snap the reaction. Please be safe and know your horse – if your horse is truly going to lose his mind or hurt himself, do not try this one. But with something mild, a reaction shot can add interest to a photo. Try things like an umbrella or a beach ball. Or try what I did, and bring out a baby. Horses loves checking out babies and baby strollers.
Silhouette shots are some of my favorites. It add an interesting layer of depth to what would have been just an ordinary shot.
To get a silhouette, position your horse perpendicular between you and a light source. Silhouettes work best if there’s clear separation between the limbs of the horse, making it very identifiable as a horse. A slight angle is fine, but don’t end up turning the horse so much it ends up as a mushy, unrecognizable block of a horse.
The sun is a good light source to use, or can try an very interesting bright sky, like I did below. I made the edited shadows darker to make the silhouette clearer.
It’s great to see the whole horse, but sometimes showing just part of the story is compelling. The way the leather of the bridle lays on their face, how perfect the hooves look after the farrier just left, a hoof print in the arena, or the treat in your hand being offered up. Take a moment to appreciate, and zoom in on, the little things that make being with your horse so wonderful.
Be careful to ensure the elements in your photo are very clear, otherwise you risk people not understanding what or why you took the photo. Think about why the main reason that detail speaks to you, and try to make your photo reflect that.
Something to remember when trying any of these – perfection does not come immediately. (Or maybe you’re special and it does). If you like the idea of some of these, but it didn’t end up looking the way you hoped, that’s okay! Try it again! There’s no reason you can’t shoot it again and work on getting a better result.
There was a lot of trial and error to get these photos but I kept trying because I love the concept of them. For every frame I post on Instagram, there’s about 20-30 others that I just trash. I just keep trying new angles or compositions to try to make it better, until I finally get one that looks how I think it should.
Good luck! Let me know if you try them!