Tips For Taking Beautiful Horse Photography
Unlike other pet photography, horses require quite a different approach when photographed.
Horses are some of the most beautiful animals in the world. They have majestic movements and a graceful presence. As such, these magnificent beasts make lovely subjects for photographers.
Here are our top tips for horse photography!
Become Comfortable With Horses
Animals pick up on your emotions, especially intuitive creatures as horses. Your response to them will affect their response to you.
You have to remember that horses are prey animals. If you are acting uncomfortable, fearful, or anxious, they will become nervous as well.
This is a biological response based upon their nature. Herding animals rely on one another’s emotions to notice if there is a predator around.
Likewise, if you act very threatening to a horse, they will become spooked. On the flip-side, the horse will pick up that you are unsure of what you are doing and are not in control. As a result, it may take advantage.
Spend time with horses before attempting to photograph them! Talk to equine experts and equestrians, and learn as much as you can about this beautiful species!
Pay Attention to Safety
Safety is very important in animal photography. Safety goes both ways. You have to ensure that you and the horse are both protected.
Make sure you listen to the equine’s handler, they will know their horse the best, respect their limitations, and don’t cross the boundary.
Alongside paying heed to their handler, be attentive to the horse’s reaction to your behaviour. No photograph is worth an upset animal. Our priority should always be the welfare and well-being of our subjects.
A good suggestion that I use for my own work is arriving at a photo session early. Allow the horse to get to know you a bit better, as well as your gear. At the discretion of the horse’s owner, give the animal some treats, a happy rub, and let them check out your camera!
Make a couple of shutter noises to gauge the reaction. If the horse is feeling over the clicking, switch to a telephoto lens and photograph from far away.
Choose Equipment to Compliment Proportions
Speaking of lenses, you have to choose gear that compliments horses’ proportions. There is a heavy focus on the proper positioning and the aesthetic of the horse.
As such, you should steer clear of any form of lens. That means no wide angles or artistic lenses.
You’ll likely find yourself using standard lenses. This normal lens produces an image that roughly matches what the human eye sees. Hence, the image looks natural to the viewer.
Standard lenses have an angle of view of around 50 to 55 degrees diagonally.
They also tend to have wide-open apertures, making them great for low light and shallow depth of field. An awesome standard focal length is the 50mm.
Telephoto lenses are another must-have for your horse photography kit. You can sit far back and not disturb the horse while taking pictures. Telephoto lenses are also useful for action photography.
They produce a natural perspective. The result is free from the caused by using a wide-angle lens. A popular telephoto lens is the 70-200mm.
Of course, this tip is a guideline. I, myself, have taken some excellent wide-angle and fish-eye photographs of horses! But the majority of this was not client work.
Bonus advice: Don’t forget the put a filter on your lens! Stables tend to be quite dusty. Always have a lens cloth on you as well.