Friday’s Five – Tips to shoot flawless horse show photos

 

Friday’s Five – Tips to shoot flawless horse show photos

Digital cameras have made taking action pictures an easy task for your average Joe. You can take hundreds of pictures on your digital camera, delete off the bad ones, then use editing programs to enhance the lighting, straighten and crop them. Purchasing a disk with all of the photos from one event typically costs over $100. For under $200 you can buy a camera that is capable of taking horse show action shots.

Buying a quality camera will pay off in the long run if you are a parent of a rider or share the camera amongst the people from your barn so you can all take turns taking one another’s competition pictures.

Here are some simple guidelines to help you take pictures almost like a pro. Keep these tips in mind the next time you play horse show photographer:

1) Avoid unsightly backgrounds: An action shot is only as lovely as its background. Would you really want to hang a picture up in your house of you and your horse clearing a massive jump with a bunch of outhouses in the background? Probably not, so look for jumps with scenic backgrounds.

Unattractive background.

Unattractive background.

Scenic background!

Scenic background!

 

2) Fill the frame: You are taking pictures of riders and horses so fill the frame up with them and do not have excessive background. Otherwise, you will end of with pictures of a field dotted with a pea-sized rider on a galloping horse. This rule is especially important to follow if you are not shooting high definition pictures that you can zoom in and crop afterwards without the image being too blurry. The more you fill the frame, the more impactful and clearer the pictures will be and you will save time cropping.

IMG_0802

Poorly framed.

Full frame.

Nice full frame!


3) Don’t bother shooting from behind: Butt shots never look that impressive. You cannot see the rider’s face nor the horse’s, just a pair of butts and the front of a jump. Always try to situate yourself so you are shooting riders and horses coming towards you or take profile shots. Be aware of jump flags and standards when you are taking profile shots because they can often block too much of the action. My favourite angle to shoot from is just slightly off to the side of the jump because you get to see some of the jump’s width but you still get the rider’s and horse’s face in the picture.

Unimpressive butt shot.

Unimpressive butt shot.

Much better angle.

Much better angle.

 

4) Shoot with the sun behind you: Always take pictures with the sun behind your back so it is shining on your rider and horse, making for the best lighting. Shooting towards the sun will make your rider and horse appear too dark in the pictures and even with good editing software, the pictures will not turn out great.

Shooting into the sun.

Shooting into the sun.

Sun behind the photographer.

Sun behind the photographer.

 

5) Take a practice picture or several: Once the rider and horse you want to take a picture of are galloping towards you, you will have little time to get ready to take the perfect pic. Take a few practice pictures to get yourself ready to capture the money shot.

  1. Determine the angle you want to shoot from.
  2. Check that the sun is behind you.
  3. Make sure there is nothing unattractive in the background.
  4. Set your zoom so the frame will be full of mainly rider, horse and jump.
  5. Take a few pictures of the jump and look at them in your preview mode, to ensure everything looks all right.

This may seem unnecessary, but it has saved me from almost taking pictures with the lens cap on, wrong camera settings, bad lighting, etc. If you have enough time, it is ideal if you can take pictures of other riders tackling the fence that you want to shoot a particular pair jumping over. This way you can make sure they are not jumping out of your frame, the flags are not in the way, etc. and you have time to make the adjustments. Always take the time you need to prepare to nail that perfect shot.

3-2-IMG_9337

Scroll for more top stories on Eventing Connect