This article was written by
Allison Mae, Owner/Photographer of Allison Mae Pet Photography!
You know that saying: “the best camera is the one that you have with you”?
Well, it’s true. You don’t need a fancy DSLR to take great photos of your horse. Following these three incredibly simple tips will immediately improve your equine photography- no matter what kind of camera you have.
Tip #1- Watch your Lighting
Lighting is the foundation of a good photography. The prettiest and softest light occurs within the ﬁrst hour or so of sunrise and sunset. But if you ﬁnd yourself at the barn under less than ideal lighting conditions, don’t worry- all is not lost.
Due to Colorado’s altitude, I’ve noticed that the sun quickly becomes harsh and bright during the day. To improve your lighting, position your horse at the edge of light that ﬁlters in through an open arena or barn door. Expose for the bright parts on your horse’s face and let the background go dark. Or stand your horse under the wide open shade of a leafy tree.
In the evening, the sun sets quickly behind the Rockies, but don’t give up just yet. Some of my favorite light is the ﬁfteen minutes or so following sunset- I love shooting in the purple twilight, which will infuse your images with a feeling of calm and stillness. Note that some additional factors will be needed: either a camera with manual controls which you can set to allow more light to reach your camera sensor or an exceptionally patient horse willing to stand still just a little longer while the auto setting on your camera slows the shutter speed to allow for the correct exposure (this will cause blurring if your horse moves).
Tip #2- Clear your Background
A degree of simplicity goes a long way in improving a photograph. It sounds easy enough, but it can be difficult to put into practice. Oftentimes, we include too much information in our photographs and the result is a cluttered and confusing image.
So take a step back and look again at what’s happening behind and around your horse. What your eye sees and and what the camera sees are two completely different things. If there’s visual chaos, you can do several things to simplify: take one step (or several) to the side, move in closer, crouch down or stand on an overturned bucket to change your angle; or if all else fails, simply move your horse a few feet to a new spot. A small adjustment can make a world of difference.
Lastly, just before pressing the shutter, run your eye along the edges of the frame to make sure you don’t have a tree trunk sticking out of your horse’s head or distracting foreground elements lying about like buckets, mounting blocks, etc..
Tip #3- Check your Perspective
Horses can be tricky to photograph and have some unique considerations, namely the angle from which they are photographed.
First of all, I strongly encourage you to always pay attention to surface on which they are standing. If you set your horse up on the down-slope of a hill, even the most nicely put together horse will look downhill. I always look for level footing or an area with a slight up-slope.
Secondly, be aware of the effect that your camera lens (either on your phone or attached to a camera) has. Wide angle lenses or photographing with your phone extremely close up to your horse will distort their proportions and result in exaggerated features such as bulbous noses, stocky barrels and short legs. Depending on what you’re going for, this can have a comic effect; but is generally considered unﬂattering. A good rule of thumb is to photograph from 5 to 10 feet away (or farther if you’re using a telephoto lens).
Master these basics and not only will your photos improve, but your photographic possibilities will be limitless.
Specializing in creating stylish and modern photography for awesome people and their pets, Allison Mae Photography serves Colorado’s Front Range from Denver to Fort Collins- and everywhere in between!
Contact Allison today for rates and to book your pet’s photography session!