I know first hand the struggles of getting a photo of a horse that will not cooperate for a photo shoot. It usually ends in a photo that is all nose and no ears. Hopefully these tips may help you get that winning photo of your horse for a portrait that really does your horse justice.
1. GROOMING | Before taking photos I like to clean up the horse’s nostrils, muzzle and eyes as well as brushing their forelock to remove any unwanted burrs or twigs.
2. LIGHTING | Natural light is always best where there aren’t any harsh shadows that could skew your photo. When you are in full sunlight I’d recommend positioning yourself where the light will be on your horse’s face. Morning and afternoon lighting is preferred to avoid heavy shadows.
2. POSITIONING | When considering where you will take your photo from, up close and personal is best to get the most detail in your photo. Usually framing the horse from shoulders up will suffice and give enough detail for me to accurately depict your horse in a portrait. Cropping a head frame from a whole body shot is going to reduce quality and leave me guessing, possibly missing vital features unique to your equine friend. You will have this portrait for life so I’d suggest picking a photo that shows off your horse’s natural features in a positive light…i.e. ears forward, eyes open and mouth closed. People and objects in the background is no issue as I can just cut that out. Keeping the camera eye level with the horse will be the best way to get a proportionate photo.
3. TACK OFF | Unless you are wanting the tack/halter in the portrait then tack off will give the best possible portrayal of your horse. A rope around the neck has always done the trick to steady the horse while I capture the perfect photo. Simple tack like a rope halter can easily be removed from the photo if you need to keep your horse steady.