Sunday, 5 December 2010

Equestrian Photography

My knowledge of horses is frankly... embarrassing. However, learning... I am.

Next year I am hoping to cover equestrian photography in a reportage style much like my wedding photography. Yesterday was my first experience in this genre of photography, and frankly the lack of knowledge was rock bottom.

What position does the horse look its best when it is jumping?
What kind of shots would you like of your horse?
What makes a good picture and what makes a bad picture?
What is the routine before an event?

All these questions, however simple they are, need to be answered. Any photographer will tell you how important it is to know the subject you are shooting, whether it is landscape photography, wildlife photography, wedding photography or sport photography you need to be able to predict what is going to happen before it does.

This is why I asked Annabel if I could take some photos of her practicing with her horse, in hope of finding the answers to some of these questions.

When I set-up this side of my business I am hoping to cover an individual client through their day of eventing, starting from the "prepping of the horse",through to the event itself with "jumping shots"...(haven't quite got the lingo!). I will then provide the client with a personalised luxury album. I wanted a more personal approach than receiving one photograph of a client clearing a jump at an event. This way the whole story is told plus some great informal images of the client and their horse.

I am still in the very early stages of this side of my business however I thought I would post this in case any of you are interested in the idea.

I arrived and met Annabel at 7:20am. For those of you who like bed, at this time of year the sun doesn't rise until around 8 o'clock. I had very little light to work with and what light there was was the steely blue light of early dawn.

I saw this circular window of the stable with the horse eating its hay inside. The blue light of twilight contrasted with the warm light of the artificial lighting in the stable.

Annabel brought 6 horses to be exercised, when they were being saddled up I took some reportage type images as you see here.

When told that Annabel was going to a school with her horse, images of multi-coloured Biros, blotting paper and protractors immediately came to mind. The extent of my horse lingo is again embarrassing and is the reason why I need to learn A LOT before proceeding into this side of the business.

However when faced with the "school" it turned out to be a empty warehouse with close to no lighting at all. A room that would make a photographer begin to cry inside. However I had little pressure as this was just for practice I tried a few techniques to see what would work. In order to capture the action, I tried slow-shutter speeds by panning: Blurring the background but keeping the subject relatively sharp to project speed

And Flash to freeze the subject.

I had a great time, I got some fun photos but with more practice hopefully I will reach the standard I am happy with, then I will start up this new side of my business that I am very excited about.

If anyone would like me to take some photos of them and their horses please give me a ring, I would love to come over and of charge of course!

Thanks Annabel!

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