Equine Portraits – Head Shots, natural light

There are many ways to photograph a horse, one classic composition is the facial portrait. Whilst it is possible to use flash lighting & artificial back drops, this is not necessary; rewarding portraits can be achieved with just natural light. This does of course require some patience, waiting for the desired lighting. Today was just such an occasion, the low freezing  murk cleared at lunchtime, leaving a brief sunny spell that was ideal for purpose. Here are some example images, all taken today.

eqport1-02Jan09  Click image for a larger view …

The key in each of these shots was to encourage the horse to make a characterful expression. Sometimes it is easier to do this with an assistant but here I was on my own. Of course there are other points to consider as well, such as:

  • Direction of light
  • Background positioning
  • Fast enough shutter speed to freeze any motion
  • Large aperture to reduce depth of field & blur background
  • Suitable focal length for horse’s confidence / nervousness (all above were taken at 150mm)

The opportunity can also be taken to do some close detail shots of the horse, like below:


Finishing can include the production of Black & White images, colour variations, the addition of vignettes and many other things; its great to experiment & explore.


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