Horse Photography Tips and Techniques

Bicycles, buggies and horses
Bicycles, buggies and horses

When you think about photographing horses, you probably picture a naked woman riding an Arabian stallion on a sandy beach at sunset. It’s a good plan if you can manage to put it all together, but until then you may want to practice locally.

Living in Pennsylvania it’s easier to find horses than it is to find good lobster and they all love to pose. If you have trouble finding horses where you live consider going to a riding stable or school.

Tip 1: They usually have crud in their eyes. You don’t have to point this out to them but see if you can find one that has less. Another option is to get further away and avoid head shots.

Tip 2: As soon as it gets really hot they’re often covered with flies. While this may not seem like a big deal it really does take away from the beautiful animal that you’re trying to capture.

Tip 3: Horses are very friendly and will come up to you to see what you want. Despite the warnings, I always pet them and have never had my fingers bitten off. Your results may vary.

Tip 4: Consider converting to black and white. Unless you’re lucky enough to capture the perfect light, choose one of the many ways to do this then lie like a professional. Tell everyone how color is distracting, that black and white forces you to focus on the image, and that you were going for that aesthetic, artistic look.

Tip 5: This is the big one: you want to get a good composition, an interesting pose and ideally something in the background. Most horses have very little to do during the day so they just sort of stand there, which is good because you’ll have plenty of time to think about the shot.

Finally, don’t ask them why the long face, I’ve never met once that thinks that’s funny.

17 thoughts on “Horse Photography Tips and Techniques

  1. I’ve photographed a bikini-clad woman riding an average horse on a sandy beach in the Cook Islands. Does that count?
    Another tip – when horses meet they touch noses in greeting so, when introducing yourself to a new horse, hold your fist out at almost arms length as a nose substitute. You won’t lose your fingers and the horse will appreciate your good manners.

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        1. I was thinking about that Sandy. They must work at least part time, pulling buggies and plowing but they always seem to be standing around looking at the cars going by. I’ll ask someone next time.

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