How to Take Great Horse Photography

Do you love taking pictures of your horses? Do they always turn out dull and boring? On top of that, do your "models" look scruffy? Here are some tips to get your pictures looking professional!


  1. 1
    Gather the necessary supplies, as shown below.
  2. 2
    Locate the area you would like to shoot in. Clean up any debris, manure, or other unsightly items. Also, check for any unsafe things, like nails or broken glass, that the horses could step on.
  3. 3
    Observe the location and figure out the best lighting. Unless you are equipped with professional photography lights, natural lighting is the best. Early morning or late evening light is the most flattering, but check that there is enough light to take a picture without the flash.
    Watching the world go by.
  4. 4
    Clean and polish any tack that the horse may wear, especially any metal pieces or colored parts, as these really stand out in a photograph.
  5. 5
    Groom the horse well. If you want to bathe it, do it the day before, so that the natural oils in the coat will return to give the horse a healthy sheen.
  6. 6
    Remove all the dust from the horse's coat, and spray the horse with a shining product for the most glamorous photo.
  7. 7
    Apply clear hoof polish after cleaning the hooves.
  8. 8
    Clip the horse's long facial whiskers, ear hair, bridle path and fetlock hair, and then apply a light coat of equine highlighter to the muzzle, eye area and ears.
  9. 9
    Brush out the mane and tail, and braid or band the mane if you wish. Spray both with a detangler so as to avoid clumped hair in your final shot.
  10. 10
    Bring the horse on location and decide on the best background for your photo.
  11. 11
    To take an action shot, let the horse loose (in a fenced area, of course!), take a lunge whip and pop it on the ground to get the horses moving. Pop it as many times as needed to get the horse at the pace you need. It helps to have one or two helpers doing this so that you can get a still shot.
  12. 12
    To take a posed shot, bring your horse to the area where you want the shot to be taken. Have a helper hold a carrot or other treat just out of the camera shot to position the horse's head and make him prick his ears.
  13. 13
    Focus your camera appropriately. Many cameras have a portrait setting that is perfect for posed shots, and some also have an action setting that works nicely for action shots.
  14. 14
    Time your shots. For a portrait, this is not quite as essential, but for a motion shot, try to catch the horse when he is airborne, with legs fully extended, or with legs fully contracted. Mid-stride shots are usually not very attractive.
  15. 15
    Shoot many, many pictures. Shoot at different angles and sides, and shoot a lot. When the shoot is over, you will have many more photos to choose from when picking out the best ones.
  16. 16
    Have fun with it. Experiment with different styles. Make it your own.


  • Learn about and stay aware of depth of field. Make sure the subject is in focus. Also make sure distracting background elements are not in focus.
  • NEVER clip the horses whiskers!! They help the horse feel and without them they can get cuts and scrubs on the muzzle because they can't be as careful when they have no whiskers to feel with. don't rush it horses are big, strong, and beautiful animals. don't push too much.
  • Attend to the whole picture. Make sure you don't have distractions in the background (advertisement, someone gesturing or a fence rail "growing" where it shouldn't, etc.) or foreground (a "present", a spectator's arm, etc.)
  • Learn the length of time it takes before your camera takes the picture. Then, by watching the horse's strides, you can time your shot so the camera takes the photo at the perfect moment.
  • Remember that practice makes perfect - don't give up! Keep at it.


  • Be careful during action shots; you don't want to get run over.

Things You'll Need

  • Camera with optional adjustable focus
  • Horses
  • Tack
  • Tack cleaning supplies
  • Grooming supplies
  • Long whip
  • A helper
  • Lead rope
  • Treats
  • Film

Article Info

Categories: Animal Photography | Horses