5 Tips for Taking Better Pictures of Your Horse

February 3, 2018

Ever seen your horse in the most regal stance or in a playful mood and thought, “I should take a picture” only to be disappointed by the way the photo turns out? We spoke to the photographers on our team to find out the best and simplest things non-photographers can do to take better pictures, and they didn’t disappoint. These 5 tips for taking better photos of your horse are easy to implement, don’t require fancy equipment, and best of all, you can start using them right away.

1. Use the Light

Our photographer Paul says, “Light is the language of photography,” so if you want someone to understand what you’re trying to say with your photo, you need to know how to use the light. Instead of shooting facing the sun, get the sun behind you. This will light your horse from the front, which illuminates the details of their coat and face. After you do that, get the sun to one side of you, creating drama or visual interest. Experimenting with the sun’s position relative to you can completely change the look of a photo.

2.  Go for Gold or Blue

Pros who shoot outdoors often try to do so at the very beginning or very end of the day. Why? The half-hour before sunset and after sunrise is known as the golden hour because the reddish light casts a soft, golden glow that makes everything look warm. The half-hour after sunset and before sunrise is known as the blue hour. During this time light is indirect, making it diffused and even, with no hot spots or glare to concern yourself with. Try taking photos of your horse on both sides of the sunrise or sunset. See the difference?

3.  Thirds, Please

Skylyn, a wildlife photographer and videographer, suggests learning one of photography’s most basic techniques: the rule of thirds. This guideline improves your picture’s composition and works with the human eye’s tendency to be drawn to certain parts of an image. Imagine a grid that divides your scene into thirds vertically and horizontally. The points where the lines intersect are the spots where the eye will go first, so placing your subject along those will create more interest. Try editing an old photo using the rule of thirds  (a lot of photo-editing apps have the grid built in). You might be surprised at how much better it looks.

4.  There’s an App For That

Photo-editing smartphone apps have come a long way since Facetune. A good one can take your photos up a notch and make them look more professional. Our photographer Chelsea recommends Snapseed and Afterlight. Don’t fear the filter.

5.  Tell a Story

The most compelling photos tell a story. They capture an emotion, set a scene, or show us some action. If you take a picture while you’re in the saddle, getting your horse’s ears in the photo changes the picture from “a pretty landscape” to “here’s what our ride looked like.” If your horse is powerful or you have thrilling adventures together or you are best friends, find a way to tell that story in your photo. People won’t be able to look away.