Photographing a Profile: Positioning the Horse
- May 23, 2019
- Savanna Simmons
When posing a horse’s profile to shoot for a horse sale, sale ad, stud flyer, or other reason, I find that positioning a horse with the front foot nearest forward, and the hind leg nearest back, and the two off-side legs in closer. This flatters the horse and doesn’t create anything that doesn’t exist, conformation-wise. It also offers a good look at all four legs.
This horse appears downhill and having poor conformation just because of the photo I took (as an example). Can you spot what can be changed to make this horse more appealing and a more truthful representation of what he is?
I spoke, in the last post, about being at or near the horse’s hip when photographing and backing up while using a long lens to shoot the photo to eliminate distortion.
I also covered positioning the head and neck to flatter the horse and eliminate distortion. When you place yourself near the hip, the head and neck are a ways away. Slightly tip the head in, to make all thirds of the horse equal distance from the photographer.
Above is an example of too near the head and too much tip of the head. Whoa, that’s a big melon!
Below, I’m a little too far behind the horse, but he is set up nicely, really. I generally prefer to shoot a horse on his mane side, but there can be exceptions. He has a somewhat short mane that isn’t flattering to his neck, so he’s an exception to the rule.
Below is a nice clean representation of what this horse is.
Try to have a clear background with minimal distractions when photographing your horse. (The photo is still busier than I prefer. All of these are.)
Place the horse directly in the sunshine to highlight his muscling and figure. If you place the sun behind the horse, as done for the appy above, his features are lost in the shadows. If you have a flash, you may flash the horse, even if in full sun, to further eliminate shadows. I prefer to shoot early to mid morning or late afternoon for softer shadows but still ample light.
The horse being saddled is the preference of the person selling, and I find a simple bridle or nice halter to work well. The horse may have his reins on his saddle horn, or if need be, he can be loosely held by the handler.
Try to ensure all of his feet can be seen as well.
All of these horses are available for sale, and most are consigned to horse sales. Please comment or contact for more information.
About Savanna Simmons
I'm Savanna Simmons and I live north of Lusk, Wyoming, on the Four Three Ranch with my husband Boe and our sons, Brindle and Roan. I grew up evolving my horsemanship with clinicians like Ray Hunt, Joe Wolter, and Jack Brainard, but not within a...