Take your photography to the next level and beyond...

  • NEWS

Why not join for free today?

Join for Free

Your total photography experience starts here

Equestrian photography

cf73 13 234 Australia
2 Feb 2014 11:25PM
G'day all,
I attended my first equestrian (practice) event yesterday to watch and photography my partner in her first event in a long time.

I would like to know if there are any major do's and donut's for this type of photography. I have posted up my first image, ISO 1000, f/9.5, 1/1,500th sec, 155mm focal length (using Nikkor 80-200 f/2.8).

I found it very challenging due to the nature of the 'furniture', all the fences and posts plus it was very hard to avoid the background, people and/or buildings and so on.

Any help or suggestions are appreciated, I will be doing this a bit more regularly.


Join ePHOTOzine for free and remove these adverts.

Migster 5 106 England
3 Feb 2014 12:17AM
when you say equestrian event what exactly what type of event was your partner competing in? If she is show jumping in an arena you will find it hard to get a clear background. Take time out to find a good vantage point offering good views over a couple of jumps. To cut out the clutter in the back ground think about using a wide aperture. This will reduce the depth of field and allow you to wind down your ISO for better image quality. As a rule of thumb I always try to use the lowest ISO that I can while maintaining the a suitable shutter speed and aperture..

If she intends to do any dressage you will have an empty arena. Dressage riders are very particular about how they and their horses look. Have a look at images in horse magazines to get a feel of what they want to see.

Always try to get the rider looking confident, sitting correctly and not pulling or leaning on the reins. Always try to get the horse in a shape, ( ask your partner ) ears forward, and looking as athletic and powerful as possible.

Cross country riding usually allows you access to jumps away from the crowds. You can usually get to a position where you can choose an uncluttered background.

Whatever discipline your partner follows you can practice at her yard. That way you can get your eye in before you go to an organised event.

Most of all get out there and have lots of fun.
Good luck and post some of your results.

cf73 13 234 Australia
3 Feb 2014 12:32AM
Thanks John,
She has been practising dressage on the arena where she keeps her horse so I have taken some there.
But yesterday was a show jumping practice which I think she will do more of.

I was apprehensive of having a very open aperture incase both her horses face and her face were not in focus. Do you recommend going down to f/2.8 if I can? I will try next time.

When she gets a bit more confidant I think she will have a go at cross country, I would really like to try my hand at that.

Thanks for your advice, much appreciated, and yes, it was fun. Much more than I thought it would be and very rewarding once I saw the images.

hobbo Plus
7 1.2k 2 England
3 Feb 2014 1:19PM
Absolutely NO FLASH, would be my golden rule.....all of my grandchildren ride in a variety of events, two take part in dressage. I have discovered the same problems of drab backgrounds indoors, or busy ones out.
Indoor events require, careful camera settings including high ISO numbers and relatively high shutter speeds to catch any speedy action.

Outdoors, your camera will require setting to suit ambient light, stand where you get the least intrusive backgrounds, fill the frame with your target horse and rider, or include others in part or slightly OOF.

You might be able to request permission to get a little closer to the action, or, find somewhere to get down low or even high up, to vary your viewpoint.

Pinkpony 3 40 United Kingdom
18 Oct 2015 1:54PM
I would class myself as a novice , maybe all the gear and no idea ! I use a Nikon D7100 and last year invested in a 70-200 f2.8 , haven't looked back since with taking images of Dressage horses both indoors and outside. Even the darkest of arenas look like day light without a flash. I use auto ISO , appeture priority , set to f2.8, Af-a and shot in raw.

I am now wanting more ! Thinking of going out of my comfort zone and trying shutter priority as I now want to freeze the moment of subspention , or to freeze the moment of elevation of the front legs so would be really interested in any helpful tips, hints, as coming into the winter months the images will be taken in an indoor arena.
rhol2 7 369 1 United Kingdom
18 Oct 2015 4:36PM
Setting the highest possible shutter speed is a fundamental factor. To freeze motion as you describe takes much higher speeds than might be expected, especially to get legs looking sharp and in the right shape.

Some people still prefer Aperture Priority, however Shutter Priority is the direct approach .

Obviously you would have to set appropriate ISO values, and be aware of possible
underexposure and depth of field issues

Another element is the matter of timing the shot to capture the horse in the correct shape. i.e. body well rounded, legs as mentioned above , preferably ears pricked, etc . Riders and Owners can be very fussy about such matters as you are probably aware already.

Burst mode can be useful, but it's still quite possible to mistime the starting point , and find that the critical moment comes between frames.

Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.