Equine Photography Tips and Tricks
 By Madeirey   •   11th Jan 2013   •   5,931 views   •   4 comments
Ah, my life, my hobby, and my dream. Photography. Some of you may understand my passion for it and others may not, but either way I am going to tell you some of the little tricks up my sleeve to get high-quality, clear, and beautiful action shots for the equine lover.

I personally have a Canon t2i which is a very nice camera, if I may say so myself. There is a setting on it called ‘M’. I use that one almost all the time or I sometimes use another setting called ‘AV’. Let me tell you the difference between them. ‘M’ lets you set all the little settings to whatever you want, the shutter speed, the ISO, the F-Stop, ect. (also called ‘Manual’) and ‘AV’ is more of a light controlling setting and it works as well, but if it is a cloudy day or the lighting is bad you will probably get a blurry shot without the use of flash or a very high ISO.

Say I'm going to shoot some dressage at a show. I would go to ‘M’, switch my ISO to Auto, F-Stop to 5.6, shutter speed to 2000/1 (2000ths of a second), and and AF Mode to “AI Servo”. AI Servo automatically focuses to where you are pointing with your camera. It is great for dressage because while the horse is moving, you can pan with them and just hold down the, what I like to call, "The Clicky Button" to capture multiple frames (if your camera as that). The ISO is used for letting in light. You have to fiddle with your ISO a lot in AV because you don’t have the option to set the shutter speed in AV. The higher the ISO, the more you let in light, and the higher the shutter speed will be. I just use Auto in ‘M’ because I have already selected what the shutter speed will be.

Now that I have all my settings correct, lets take some pictures! You don't want to cut off the horses legs or have bad timing. Here is what you typically want in a good dressage shot:

Equine Photography Tips and Tricks

Also, you don’t want to get any walking shots. The timing is almost always bad and it makes for a boring shot. Vertical shots for dressage and jumping are for when the horse is coming toward you. And as for lighting, you always want to shoot AWAY from the sun so that the horse will be in the sun. It shows detail much better.

On to jumping! You will want to change your AF Mode to One-shot now and bump up the shutter speed to 2500/1. Jumping shots take a lot of practice, the timing is hard for those two or more precious shots per jump. The horses knees have to be tucked nice and pretty, the rider has to be visible, and all that fun stuff. Same thing for the lighting, always shoot away from the sun. Here is what you typically look for in a jumping shot:

Equine Photography Tips and Tricks

Getting clear shots every time is actually pretty easy. All you do is use the FLR trick. FLR stands for Focus Lock Recompose. So you half press down your camera "clicky button" so it focuses on the jump, pan upwards so the jump is in the middle of the picture and wait until the horse and rider come and jump the jump. Take the picture when you see the horses knees (or sooner, you will have to practice a lot to get to know your camera’s timing) and ta-da! A clear shot.

Stock photo shots are just exactly as you would shoot a dressage round, it’s just a bit harder because the horse is completely unpredictable of what it will do.

I hope I have helped y’all a bit and I hope to see some awesome shots of y’all in the near future!
Horse News More PB Articles About:  Photography,
Horse News More In This Category:  Graphics      Horse News More From This Author:  Madeirey
This is an awesome article. Thanks a lot for all the handy tips :D
  Jan 12, 2013  •  6,468 views
PonyBox  MOD 
I definitely needed this. My photos are quite horrid when I'm behind the camera.

Excellent article! Would love to see more.
  Jan 12, 2013  •  6,709 views
PonyBox  MOD 
I actually used some of these suggested settings today. Thanks for the explanation!
  Jan 27, 2013  •  6,408 views
This is very handy. Thank you. I am glad i had the opportunity to read that. It will help alot!
  Feb 1, 2013  •  6,135 views
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