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|Category:||Animals / Wildlife|
Photograph a horse - If you see a horse while you're on a walk stop and take its picture.
A 60mm macro lens will get you great portraits if you can get close enough but your standard kit lens will be just as good as this will get you both close ups and shots of shy horses who stand further away. You can even find use for a wide-angle with more friendly beasts, especially when enticed with some grass - just take care because horses do bite!
Before you aim your camera at the horse take a look at its ears. I know it might sound like an odd thing to do but if their ears are forward it means they're happy but if they're leaning back it means they're tense and an unhappy horse won't make a great looking photo. Don't blast flash in their face either as you'll just startle and upset them.
Try exploring different angles and levels, paying attention to the height and size of the horse you're photographing. If it's a pony, for example, they won't be very tall so bend down to their height instead of shooting down on them which will distort their appearance. Avoid taking photographs straight on too as the pictures from the front make the head appear larger than the rest of the body making them appear feeble. If you're too far away and the horses head's down the neck can look very long and out of proportion too.
There are certain specific guidelines for photographing certain breeds of horse but when you're walking along and see a horse you're not necessarily going to know the breed so just as long as you fill the frame without distorting the appearance of the horse you'll be okay. Make sure the eyes are sharp and if you can, position yourself so the sun causes a catch light in one of the eyes as this will stop the horse having a vacant look. Sunlight also gives their coats sheen but watch midday sun as it causes long, deep shadows that can spoil the image. If the horse is positioned in front of a distracting object, such as a horse box, move your position so it's no longer in shot and if the horse is running remember to crank up the shutter speed and use a wider aperture.
Another technique to try is using a telephoto lens and just picking out the eye, ear or nostrils. A wide aperture will keep depth-of-field to a minimum for added impact.
You can also take the landscape approach with horses grazing away in a field. Use them to add interest to the foreground or to occupy one of the intersections if you use the rule-of-thirds to help your compositions.
You've read the article, now go take some fantastic images. You can then upload the pictures, plus any advice and suggestions you have into the dedicated Photo Month forum for everyone at ePHOTOzine to enjoy.