How To Photograph Horses

Photographing horses is a challenging but rewarding experience, and for many photographers, can result in a wonderful experience and some stunning images.

How To Photograph Horses

With their captivating beauty, grace, and power, horses make for breathtaking shots that can capture the heart of anyone who views them.

Whether you are a professional or just starting out with photography, learning how to photograph horses can be an exhilarating and inspiring journey. In this article, you will learn the basics of photographing these majestic creatures.

Common Types Of Horse Photography

There are a number of types of horse photography that you may choose to try, and these include:


Portrait shots are perhaps the most popular type of horse photography. These shots usually focus on the head and face of the horse, and you may want to make use of props or accessories to help create a more interesting composition.

Action Shots

Action shots are a great way to capture the movement and energy of horses in full gallop or jumping. In order to capture these shots, you will need a fast shutter speed to prevent blurring.

Detail Shots

Detail shots are a great way to capture the unique characteristics of a horse, such as its mane, tail, or markings. These shots are often taken with a macro lens to capture fine details.

How To Photograph Horses

So, just how do you capture that perfect equine shot? Here are some top tips to help you succeed:

Be Prepared

When it comes to photographing horses, preparation is key – remember that working with animals can be unpredictable and tricky; you will only have a limited amount of time before they get bored and restless, so you will need to work quickly and efficiently, as well as safely.

Before you begin shooting, be sure to make a list of all the photographs you want to take and plan out how you will get each shot.

This will help you focus on the task at hand and ensure that you don’t miss any important details or angles in your photos, and will allow you to complete your photography session more quickly.

In addition, it is important to make sure you have a good understanding of the horse’s behavior and that you take proper safety precautions when shooting them; avoid sudden flashes or loud noises – instead, try to take photographs in natural light where possible – and make sure to move calmly and sensibly around the horse at all times, never approaching from the front, or standing directly behind the animal.

Understand The Horse’s Nature

Another important aspect of photographing horses is understanding their nature. Horses have a wide range of personalities and behaviors, so it is important to understand how they behave in different situations before you begin shooting.

Knowing how the horse will move or react in certain scenarios will help you get the most out of your photo session, as it will give you an idea of what type of shots to take and which angles to capture.

Choosing The Right Equipment

When photographing horses, it is essential to have the right equipment for the job. Investing in a quality camera and lens is a must – a DSLR or mirrorless camera with a telephoto lens and a fast shutter speed will give you the best results.

A tripod can also be useful for keeping your shots steady and blur-free, as well as for getting those tricky angles.

In addition, it is important to have the right lighting for your photos – as mentioned, natural light is often the best option, but you may also want to invest in some studio lights if you are shooting indoors.

Choose The Right Moment

How To Photograph Horses

Capturing the right moment is key when photographing horses – timing your shots correctly will make a huge difference in the quality of your photos.

When shooting, be sure to watch for moments of action or energy that you can capture, such as when the horse is galloping or leaping in the air. Keep an eye out for subtle details, too, like ears pricked up or a turned head.

These are the moments that make for unforgettable photographs, so take your time and wait until the right moment comes to you.

Decide Whether To Shoot On Film Or Digital

One of the first decisions you will need to make is whether to shoot on film or digital; both have their advantages and disadvantages, and you may decide to use a combination of both throughout our portfolio.


Film refers to the chemical-based photographic film used in traditional photography, and works by capturing light as it passes through the lens.

The image is then recorded onto the film and can be developed using a darkroom or other specialized equipment.


  • Offers a higher dynamic range, meaning the image will contain more detail; ideal for shooting horses in natural light.
  • Produces more accurate colors than digital cameras.
  • Gives you more control over how you expose the shot.


  • More expensive to buy and process than digital cameras.
  • Difficult to edit or manipulate the image once it has been taken.

Digital Cameras

Digital cameras use an electronic sensor to capture light and record it as a digital image that can be stored on a memory card. Digital cameras are increasingly popular due to their convenience and affordability.


  • Affordable and easy to use.
  • You can take more shots without having to change rolls of film.
  • Images can be easily manipulated or edited on a computer.


  • The dynamic range of digital cameras is not as good as film, so it may be difficult to capture certain details such as hair or fur.
  • The quality of the image is dependent on the size of the sensor and the quality of the lens.

Choose Backgrounds Carefully

Another important aspect of horse photography is choosing the right backgrounds. Some horses look best against a simple background, while others can be placed in more complex environments.

Consider the colors, textures, and shapes of the background – try to choose backdrops that bring out the best in your subject.

Final Thoughts

Photographing horses can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience, but it is important to take the time to understand their nature and to have the right equipment.

With patience and practice, you will soon be able to capture amazing photos of these majestic creatures.

Laura McNeill
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