Equine Photography

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Moxie, Jan 13, 2009.

  1. Moxie

    Moxie TPF Noob!

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    Anyone occasionally, or mainly shoot horses? If so, what advice would you share with a noob just starting out?

    Also, what types of lenses would you suggest? Or even equipment?
     
  2. Dagwood56

    Dagwood56 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    My one neighbor has three horses, and my other neighbor has one and I have gotten some nice shots of them. I like to go for head shots, but I have some of the entire horse with the light refelcting off their muscles which are nice also. When I shot them I was using my Canon 570is point & shoot on a sunny day.
     
  3. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Are you referring to horses in a field, paddock, stables etc ... or in competition (hunter, jumper, dressage, eventing) outdoors and indoors ?
     
  4. Moxie

    Moxie TPF Noob!

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    I'd like to shoot both.
     
  5. Mgw189

    Mgw189 TPF Noob!

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    Both doesnt really cut it considering the list. What equipment do you already have and what kind of budget do you have to work with?
     
  6. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I shoot with a mid-range Telephoto lens when taking pictures of horses in a field.
    I try not to get too close, as one of two things will occur: they run away or they come close (for a snack).

    A wide-tele zoom is ok when horses are in a paddock.

    A very fast standard lens is great in the stables if you want to avoid flash.

    A mid-range tele zoom is good for competions such as dressage or hunter/jumper.

    A long telephoto is best for eventing.

    There should be a number of small equine competitions around in your area that you can look for. This will give you a start.
     
  7. Moxie

    Moxie TPF Noob!

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    Sorry, I'd like to dabble in a little bit of everything until I find an area that really peaks my interest, then stick with that. I ride western, mainly trails, but love dressage, hunter/jumper, reining, english/western pleasure. I'd also like to do abstracts as well; I'd really just like to do my own 'thing'.

    Right now I have a Canon EOS XS w/ just the stock lens and will soon have a 75-300mm to add to that.




    Great Info! Thanks so much.
     
  8. Mgw189

    Mgw189 TPF Noob!

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    If shooting outdoors the two lenses that you have will work pretty well for any kind of pasture/paddock type shooting. As long as there is good light at the events you go to they should also work for some slower events. Neither lens is going to be very good for indoor shooting. For indoor work you going to want to look at something in the F2.8 range which is generally going to cost much more money.
     
  9. Moxie

    Moxie TPF Noob!

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    Okay, and what would you suggest for a faster lens to shoot barrel racing and so on?
     
  10. Mgw189

    Mgw189 TPF Noob!

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    Personally yes. I have a 3.5-5.6 and its pretty useless especially with any indoor action if it is not well lit. Outdoors as long as there is good light you will probably be ok. Up your ISO and shutter speed as high as you can tolerate. I HATE noise in my photographs. So I dont do much with action photography because at ISO 400 my Sony Alpha A100 has to much noise for my liking even with NR on.
     
  11. Michael P. Harker

    Michael P. Harker TPF Noob!

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    I did horse photography professionaly for two years back in the late 70's and I worked with a Mamiya RB 67 - a medium format film camera that gave a 2-1/4" x 2-3/4" negative. I used a 127mm lens (which is a short telephoto lense for that camera) because it gave me the proper perspective to shoot the whole horse and worked well for head and shoulder shots, also.

    The one essential ingredient in taking equine photographs that the owners would buy was how to pose the animal. The front legs have to be lined up slightly forward of the shoulders, the back legs have to be lined up about a foot behind the hips, the head has to be extended up and out from the shoulders and turned towards the camera so you can see both ears and the nose (about a forty-five degree turn of the head) and the ears HAVE to both be extended straight up.

    You have to work very quickly once you get the horse posed, as they usually only hold it for a few seconds. Start with the legs. Then try to get the horse to turn its head to look at you. To get the ears straight up, have someone behind you snap their fingers and shoot immediately when the ears go up. If that doesn't work, have an assistant stand slightly behind you and to your right with a black umbrella. Have him open the umbrella slowly (with it facing the horse) and then quickly snap it completely open -THAT will get the horse's attention!

    But that tecnique usually works only once on any one animal.

    I photographed western halter classes in southern Illinois, Indiana, western Kentucky and central Missouri, English jumping horses and fox-hunting (million dollar horses) at Bridlespur Riding Club in St. Louis (owned by Augie Busch of Aneheisur-Busch) and the posing I have outlined was essential for all of the horses.

    Good Luck!

    Michael
     
  12. BlackDog's

    BlackDog's TPF Noob!

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    I occasionally shoot horse portraits.

    I think you’ve already received good equipment advice so I’ll focus on some other things.

    I find that my clients love the shots that capture the spirit or personality of their horse. Therefore I don’t focus on a perfectly posed animal like you see in the show horse magazines. I try more for a natural pose from the horse. For each horse this will be a different kind of shot (i.e. standing, running, head shot). I like to talk to the owner first to get a feel for their horse. Questions I ask would be things like age of the horse, personality type, breed, funny stories, etc.

    Once I’m on location I like to acclimate the horse to the camera first. The horse doesn’t know me and probably hasn’t seen a camera like mine. I’ll stand there and take a few shots of noting so they can hear it first. Then I’ll get closer and let them sniff the camera and my hands. This only takes a few minutes and really seems to pay off. They know I’m not a predator or something scary. I don’t want them to be all jumpy while I’m trying to photograph them.

    Good luck and I'll be happy to answer any questions if this is the style your interested in.

     

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