Horse photography - 10 tips and tricks by Lena Matu
When I started photographing horses over ten years ago, the first results were not exactly what I had hoped for. Dramatic skies coupled with expressive movements of the horses... just what you find in calendars, postcards and the Wendy. Photography is not just about having a suitable subject in mind, you also need to know how to best capture it.
So that you might not be as depressed at first as I am, I will give you a few tips here that will make taking photos easier. I'm talking about the absolute basics that you can follow with both a smartphone and a camera.
First of all, however, I would like to say that the well-being and safety of the animals always comes first. Just because others leave their horses unsecured, ride bareback with a collar or or or that is no reason to rush into something. Behind such actions is either years of training, trust and routine or Photoshop. For example, my customers' horses are always secured by at least one halter with a rope. It has also happened to me that the coupling at the other end, for example, was not closed. Save yourself these terrifying seconds and play it safe :D.
Especially in the beginning it is easier for you behind the camera if you only have to concentrate on a calm horse. I would advise you to stay in the familiar environment of the horse for the time being. As a photographer, you not only have to ensure a good result, but also keep an eye on what you can expect from the horse. You get to know the horse a little better when you are there while it is being groomed and can ask the owner a few specific questions.
Tip 1: Prepare your equipment. The battery should be charged and the memory card should have enough free space. Nothing is more annoying than holding a dead camera at the perfect moment.
Tip 2: A clean horse with a shiny coat looks great. You can gently clean your nostrils and eyes with a damp cloth. If a dark horse raises a lot of dust, I sometimes go all over the body with it. However, the cloth should not be too wet.
Tip 3: A tidy background calms the picture and draws attention to the actual subject. In order for the motif to stand out well from the background, you can simply leave more distance between the background and the motif.
Tip 4: Don't just stand still, move around your subject. Try different perspectives and try something new.
Tip 5: Take a look at the appropriate breed portrait for your model and what makes breeding so special.
Tip 6: Let the horse stand diagonally to you. When photographed from the front, the horse can look very slight in the chest but strong around the belly. Diagonally you have your shoulders on it and more area from the neck.
Tip 7: If your horse is not paying enough attention, you can ask someone at the stable to run away with another horse, for example around a corner. This is often a good way to direct your gaze. In case of hardship, there are also apps with horse sounds. I would first clarify whether the horse is possibly reacting nervously. I wouldn't necessarily use the app right next to a stable.
Tip 8: I have a feed bucket with me for free-running movement pictures in the paddock. The horses are allowed to get feed from me once, then I let them lead them to the other end of the paddock. Now I (or rather a helper) rustle the bucket. Most horses give it a little more gas on the second run if they've had a chance to stick their nose in the bucket after running :).
Tip 9: You can get a lot of inspiration from the Internet, for example which poses are good. You can also look at pictures and analyze them for yourself. What do you like? What bothers you? So you can learn a lot for your own pictures.
Tip 10: Get to know your camera better. No matter which camera, there is a manual. If you want to get better, you need to know and understand the technology behind it. YouTube offers an endless supply of tutorials. If you can operate the camera blind, the best pictures can be taken.
Finally I would like to say that the fun should not be suppressed by the ambition. Don't compare yourself to people who have been doing this for much longer. The route is the goal. Unfortunately, social media constantly offers the opportunity to question oneself and one's work more than necessary. Photos should be created for yourself and not for an anonymous number of likes. So get to the camera and dare, nothing can happen but a picture that you delete again :).
Your Lena Matu <3