What is true love and how do you document it? When the love of your life is measured in hands and requires constant grooming then why shouldn’t you have a memento of your relationship? Whether you are savvy with a camera or enlist the services of a professional photographer, there is a style out there that suits everyone taking pictures of horses.
Equine Photography – To DIY or not?
When strolling through the internet, there are numerous sites that will give you blow by blow steps on how to take images of you and your horse to a professional standard. At the very end of it all, it comes back to you. You alone know your horse’s temperament, their likes and dislikes and best angles. If your horse has a fear of water then, you can rule out photos of the two of you frolicking on the beach in the surf. You may get her on the sand but unless you’re aiming for the spooked horse look, you won’t get her into the water!
Most photographers recommend natural lighting at either end of the day. It has a certain softness to it that seems to make even the toughest image attractive. Here is a quick list of things to consider when going down the DIY route
- A digital SLR will take great shots when set in automatic mode for the novice. More experienced photographers can further extend their skills with manual options. With all the new apps for phones being released daily, don’t feel you need to look any further than your smartphone to apply filters and set the right tone.
- Location, location, location. As in real estate this is also a primary decision when choosing where and when to capture your horse on film. Ideally you would want a location that your horse in comfortable with. If it is a new area ensure safety for all by checking gates are latched, and the area is safe in the event your horse may become unsettled.
- Grooming, and I’m not just referring to the rider. Wash and comb your horse the day before photos to allow the natural oils in the coat to show. This process will ensure your horse has a healthy sheen on film. Check all tack and buff and polish equipment so it looks at its best.
- Your choice of shot comes down to the type of shoot you are doing. Dressage, open country and loose or a posed shot all require your horse to stand and move differently. Enlist some helpers to assist you in both positionings of the horse with treats and bribes and changing equipment i.e., saddle or bareback.
- Timing. Are you after an action shot where your horse is airborne with extended legs or standing straight and tall in a classical pose. Most cameras are compatible to taking both portrait and action shots. Remember to try different angles and props.
- Patience. This virtue applies to both the rider and the horse. If your horse isn’t in the mood to be following hours of instructions then follow suit and change your style. Your photos want to show the relationship you have with your horse, not a strained afternoon on a trail ride.
How to choose a Professional Photographer
Choosing a professional photographer for your memento should be no different to selecting one to photograph your wedding or family portraits. Ideally ask your fellow riders, family or friends for a referral of someone they know. Have an idea book or board to help illustrate what style of images you would like. Cutouts from magazines or online boards such as Pinterest are a great way to pull a set of looks together. Ask to view work that they have done previously to see that they have a similar vision. See if they can recommend a location, time of day or even season to maximise your final image. Don’t forget one of the most important items when selecting a photographer is how you feel with them. You want to select someone that you can relate to, is at ease with you and your horse and someone who can receive feedback.
Meet a friend of Abler
The images used are not stock images found online. They are a beautiful team of rider and horse. We would like to introduce Elise and (WES Monaghan) otherwise known as Hannah. Although retired now, Hannah a Holsteiner Warmblood was trained in elementary dressage and also partook in some showing with Elise. They had a very close relationship and although Hannah was 17hh, and Elise a petite 5’5 their difference in height was never a challenge for the two. Although Elise has grown up on horses and owned many throughout her riding years, it was Hannah who has a special place in her heart. The beautiful photos were taken in Australia by Sara Fife Photography. They capture the pure beauty and grace of Hannah and the special bond that she shares with Elise. Hannah has now retired to experience a sea change and spends her days being ridden by a wonderful woman. Elise will always have these striking images to remember and reflect on her relationship with Hannah.
Don’t be camera shy with your DIY photography.
What the main focus is to let your passion for Equine photography
shine through and be displayed for all horse enthusiasts to admire and repin on Pinterest.