Deliberation – Horse Portrait Photography & Locations

We have been taking horse portraits for over ten years now, so people make the assumption that when it comes to capturing the connection and bond between a horse and its owner, we succeed every time, the truth is we don’t, but we do try very hard too.

Photographing animals is very different to photographing humans and just like humans, horses have good and bad days. Over the years we have learned a lot about horses and locations in relation to photography, for example a horse will have a much harder time standing still on uneven ground than flat ground. Trying to work out good photography locations that are also horse friendly, requires time, effort and persistence. However, when everything falls into place, I think we do take some beautiful images.

As all of our horse portraits are photographed on location, our ability to control the light the weather can be very unpredictable. To overcome these two challenging factors, we combine portable lighting and photoshop to improve and enhance the process of the images we take.

I think the term “capturing the connection and bond between a horse and its owner” has become a marketing strapline and although equine photographers aim to achieve this, the reality is, it is not a guarantee.

However, what I wanted to promote was ways in which we try to add atmosphere to the images we create and share some of the methods we use in relation to some of the images we take.

Although we constantly look for new locations for equine shoots, one of the things I have learned over the years is how what may seem like a mundane location, can be improved with a little imagination and photoshop.

However, the original location prior to some photoshop has to have some positive elements for any photoshop editing to work, so taking any location and relying on photoshop and expecting photoshop to perform miracles in my opinion is a mistake.

Original Image Location

The original image location with flat dull sky

Edited Image Location 1

Edited image location 1 adding a new sky and some warmth to the image.

Edited Image Location 2

Edited image location 2 adding a new sky and some warmth and brightness to lift the feeling of the image, resulting in a much more intersting look and feel.

Edited Image Location 3

Edited image location 3 adding a new sky  darkening down the image to create a different type of mood.

The above four images are of the same location  and exact frame, but they can provide a different look and feel to the backdrop of an equine shoot and by adding lighting to the horse and owner you can increase the chances of making an equine photograph more desirable thus increasing the chances of “capturing the connection and bond between a horse and its owner”

I personally think that the backdrop (natural background) is a vital element in relation to equine photography, but it is often overlooked by many people in relation to horse portraits. I hope this article and these examples encourage a little thought and I would really appreciate any comments people may have?

Many Thanks Fletcher


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