Equine photography 101 – improving your portraits

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Equine photographer and author Trudy Nicholson reveals how to get a great pictures of your horse. Here’s how to get head portraits right.

Headshots

Here are some photography tips for capturing a great headshot of a horse.

 

Watch for visual distractions when taking a portrait.
Watch for visual distractions when taking a portrait.

At right: When taking a headshot, watch for background distractions. This portrait is ruined due to the wires in the background, giving the impression they are coming out of the horse’s forehead.

Note, too, how the eye of horse is shaded.  The eye has lost detail due to too much shadow on the near side of the horse’s face. Make sure the sun is complementing your horse by taking your photo with the sun behind you, the photographer.

 

 

 

The shed in the background has ruined an otherwise good picture.
The shed in the background has ruined an otherwise good picture.

At left: Again, watch out for background distractions.

The shed ruins this headshot of this beautiful Arabian horse. The background is too busy taking the focus off the subject.

A little shading on the face like this is acceptable as you can still see the detail in the horse’s eye.

Both of these horses look happy and alert.

 

Tip: Have an assistant when taking portraits. Horses look better with their ears pricked.

 

Horses are renowned for not putting their ears forward when required. Ears of the horse need to be forward for a portrait of this nature, and the horse needs to be alert (but most definitely not frightened). No one wants a portrait of a horse with its ears pinned back, looking sleepy and uninterested, and no one wants a portrait of a tense horse!

You will want the horse’s ears forward and his eyes bright. Be sure to focus on the eyes.

A pleasing head shot.
A good head shot.

Here is a pleasing headshot. You can clearly see the eye, there are no distractions in the background and the horse is alert and happy.

 

» To learn more about photographing horses go to www.nicholsonphotography.co.nz and check out their popular online photography courses.

 

 

 

 

 

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