We always need pictures of our horses for registrations, sales or just to show them off. Like children, horses do not always want to co-operate so we did some reading in various places to get some hints on how to make this an easier task. We thought we would share our findings with you. Who knows...like us, you might learn something new....

No matter what kind of camera you have there are ways to get a really pretty picture using what you have. 
*A 35mm camera with a zoom lens is the most commonly used camera for photographing horses. The zoom needs to be 300mm or larger if you plan to get creative and take shots from all angles. The large zoom will reduce distortion. 
*The new digital cameras are great for taking pictures that you can save or discard immediately. Some have the capability to provide sufficient zoom to reduce distortion. A big plus of a digital is to be able to update web sites quickly.
*The point & shoot is the most limited type of camera, but will work find for taking side shots of a horse. This kind of camera doesn't give you a zoom capability but if you take care to make a side shot with the horse standing and looking straight ahead you will have little distortion.

Horses are one of the more challenging subjects to photograph because their size and shape creates distortion. This distortion results when one part of the horse is closer to the camera than another part is. Whatever is closest looks larger and what is farthest away looks smaller. If you use a point and shoot  or a camera with minimal zoom and the horse has his head turned toward the camera, you will have a horse with a very big head. If the horse is at an angle to you, whichever end is farthest away will look smallest. Try to have the camera looking right at the middle of the horse with the horse standing straight and there should not be any distortion. For full body profile and 3/4 frontal body shots (where most of the head is pointed towards you and the hindquarters are a little away), point your camera towards the horse's heart area - that is right behind the front leg about 2/3 of the way down from the withers. Any more towards the shoulder and you will accentuate the horses forequarters excessively. Make sure you can see all 4 legs through the viewfinder. Position your body relative to the position of the horse to point at the heart/girth area and see all legs. 

To photograph minis, get down to their level. The smaller the horse, the lower you must be or you will have a very short legged look. For really small horses, lie down or have the horse on a hill above you. Try to show your horse's conformation by taking a good side shot with the head facing forward. When taking a head shot, always make sure you can see at least one eye and at least the eye socket area of the other eye. Of course, if the picture is for registration, the forelock must be put to the side and the picture dead on.

Take pictures on a sunny day before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. to minimize shadows and have a more flattering, softer light. Pictures taken in the middle of the day have the sun at a bad angle. On overcast days you can shoot anytime. If you have palomino, bay or chestnuts try to shoot just before sundown to get wonderful gold and red tones.

If you are able, you should have three people...the cameraman, horse handler and the attention getter. Plan your background...try to avoid clutter. We find a horse can get "lost" with greenery in the background. 

Now, let's go shoot some pictures!



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Marilyn & George Peters
Box 565
Steinbach,  Manitoba
R5G 1M4


Breeders of quality AMHA registered Miniature Horses

Sunrise Estate Minis  -  Recommended by all the people who own them...