I’m always being asked for some tips that everyone can adopt when taking pictures of their horse with their phone or their own camera. Particularly on a sunny day. So I thought it made loads of sense to give you all three really quick and simple tips you can put into practice so you can take better photos of your horse yourself…
The ‘Right’ Light.
First of all beware of the midday sun, it really isn’t your best friend when considering photography. Its really harsh and bright light, and it has a horrible habit of creating unflattering and harsh images. You’ll shine, you’ll squint, anything white will be so bright you won’t be able to see any details… the list is long.
Yep, there are definitely things you can do in this kind of light and still take great photos, but ideally if you can avoid it then do so and I’m trying to make this as simple as I can, so I’m not going there!
Photographers talk about a magical time in the day called The Golden Hour that they all love to work with. Theres actually two golden hours in each day, one in the early morning before the sun has risen and one at the latter end of the day before sunset.
They are referred to as ‘hours’, but sometimes they aren’t as long because cloud cover can often impact the time, so be prepared to shoot quickly at times…
The light during these two periods is so much softer and way more flattering. It’s really interesting to actually directly see the difference (if you can be bothered!) by setting up exactly the same image in exactly the same place and angle. Do it in the middle of the day and do it during a golden hour. You’ll see a totally different feeling and look between the two.
I find that even being able to place your horse (and yourself if you are going selfie style) looking straight towards the direction of the sunlight at this time is a bit easier as the light is naturally softer, you’ll get less or no squinting for a start. The light creates a lovely warm glow to the face without being super shiny too.
If you look at the image here I’ve used as an example we are in that are just into the start of the golden hour timeframe, and although part of the horse is in shade or partial shade, I’ve got the key area lit by the natural light and that light isn’t harsh. As the sun slowly sets the light keeps softening and warming.
There’s a whole lot you can do in the golden hour, different angles to consider that will create different looks but essentially this is your key period to shoot in if you want lovely soft atmospheric and flattering photos.
If your only option is to take that photo at a time away from the golden hour, and let’s face it that as a huge percentage of the day, then my first piece of advice when faced with bright light is head to the shade. It sounds really simple but it’s often overlooked. Sunny days do not always mean sunny pictures. So by removing the harsh light you automatically create a much nicer image. If you can’t find natural shade then use something that will help provide something, maybe the side of your horsebox, trailer or a field shelter.
Watch the Shadows
With horses there will always be times when you just can’t find shade… the middle of their field or the middle of the competition showground spring to mind. Don’t worry though; you can still work with this by simply watching where the sun is throwing shadows. Again its about missing the harsh light and shadows, so the best way to deal with this is initially to keep your horse standing still and you move around them in a circle to find where the light is falling on them in the most even way. Once you’ve discovered that angle, then you can turn your horse to suit that light… if that makes sense?
Thats it really, consider these really quick tips the next time you are about to take a photo of your horse and hopefully you’ll see a difference
Have a fabulous week!