half-body horse Photo by Marylou Fortier on Unsplash

A Beginner's Guide to Horse Photography: Tips | Ideas | Techniques

November 22, 2022

Horse photography is a rewarding and challenging genre that can be both fun and frustrating. It takes patience, practice, and a bit of luck to get that perfect shot. But when you do, it's worth it. This guide will give you some tips and ideas on how to get started in horse photography and techniques to help you get the most out of your photos.

What is Horse Photography?

Horse photography is a type of photography that focuses on capturing images of horses in various settings. This can include anything from portraits of horses in their natural environment to action shots of horses in motion. Horse photographers may also capture images of horses used for various purposes, such as racing, dressage, and jumping.

There are many types of horse photography, from action shots of horses in competition to portraits of horses and their owners.

  • Portraits are a popular type of horse photography. These photos can be of just the horse or the horse and rider together. Portraits allow the photographer to capture the horse's personality and the special bond between horse and rider.
  • Action shots are some of the most popular types of horse photography. These photos capture the horse in motion, whether racing around a track or jumping over a fence. Action shots are challenging to take but can be very rewarding.

two horses fighting against each other

Photo by Hans Veth on Unsplash
  • Wild horses are sometimes photographed in their natural habitat. These photos are often used to raise awareness about wild horses' plight or document the beauty of these animals in their natural setting.
  • Promotional photos are often taken of horses that are for sale or lease. These photos show off the horse's conformation and color and are often used in advertisements. They are often taken in a studio setting but can also be taken on location.

Professional Techniques for Beautiful Horse Pictures

1. Don't Use Flash

Flash is generally not considered one of the best techniques for taking horse pictures. Horses are very sensitive to light, and the sudden burst of light from a flash can startle them.

Instead, try to use natural light as much as possible. If you're taking pictures indoors, try to position your horse near a window, so they are bathed in natural light.

2. Take Action Shots

This means capturing the horse in motion, whether running, jumping, or simply trotting along. Action shots are not only visually stunning, but they also capture the horse's personality and spirit.

Make sure you have a fast shutter speed. This will ensure that the horse is frozen in motion and that the picture is not blurry. Use a low aperture so that the background is blurred and the horse is the main focus of the picture.

3. Use a Low Angle Shot

photo of a horse sitting on the grassland

Photo by Soledad Lorieto on Unsplash

A low-angle shot is a great way to show the power and beauty of a horse. It is also a great way to get a close-up of the horse without getting too close. When taking a low-angle shot, ensure you are not too close to the horse, as this can make the horse look uncomfortable and startle the horse.

4. Choose the Right Outdoor Location

The right outdoor location can make a big difference in the quality of your horse pictures. Here are a few tips to help you choose the perfect spot:

  • Look for open spaces with good lighting. Avoid areas with too much shade or direct sunlight, which can create harsh shadows or make your horse's coat look dull.
  • Consider the background. A busy background can be distracting, so look for a location with a simple backdrop.
  • Pay attention to the ground. Avoid areas with long grass, as this can make your horse's legs look shorter. Instead, look for a location with short grass or a sandy beach.

5. Take Portrait Shots

white and black horse photo by looking aside

Photo by Kirsten LaChance on Unsplash

As a professional photographer, you will want to take beautiful horse pictures. Here are some techniques to help you take stunning portrait shots of horses.

To get near the horse without disturbing it, use a telescopic lens. This will assist you in capturing the horse's personality in your photographs. Using a wide aperture, blur the background and focus on the horse. This will make your horse photos appear more professional.

Experiment with different shutter speeds to capture different moments of the horse. A slower shutter speed will capture the horse in motion, while a faster shutter speed will freeze the horse in time.

6. Get the Right Equipment and Accessories

As a professional photographer, it is important to have the right equipment to capture the perfect horse pictures. The type of camera, lenses, and accessories you use will depend on the type of horse pictures you are trying to take.

If you want to take pictures of horses in action, you will need a camera that can take high-quality action shots. A DSLR camera with a fast shutter speed and a telephoto lens is the best option for this type of photography.

If you are interested in taking portrait-style horse pictures, you will need a camera with a good-quality lens. A 135mm or 70mm prime lens is a good option for this type of photography.

three horses looking towards the camera

Photo by Fabian Burghardt on Unsplash

You will need a tripod to keep your camera steady for both types of horse photography. A remote shutter release is also a helpful accessory to have so that you can take pictures without having to touch your camera.

Best Horse Photo Shoot Ideas

1. Prepare the Horse for the Shoot

When planning to take pictures of a horse, it is important to take some time to prepare the horse so that you can get the best possible shots. Here are some professional tips to help you prepare your horse for a photo shoot:

  • Make sure that the horse is clean and well-groomed. A dirty horse will not look good in pictures, so take the time to brush and groom the horse before the photo shoot.
  • If you are taking pictures of the horse in action, ensure the horse is well-rested before the shoot. A tired horse will not be able to perform at its best.
  • Be patient. Horses can be unpredictable, so it is important to have patience when taking pictures.

2. Get Creative With Your Shots

horses wandering on the outside hill grassland

Photo by Isabella Jusková on Unsplash

There are endless possibilities when it comes to horse photography. Get creative and experiment with different angles, lighting, and poses. For example, try lying on the ground and shooting up at the horse, or capture them running and playing on the field. You can even get creative with props and accessories.

3. Choose the Right Time of Day

Horse photo shoots are best done in the early morning or late afternoon when the light is softer and more flattering. Avoid shooting in the middle of the day when the sun is high in the sky, as this can create harsh shadows and highlight blemishes.

4. Consider Framing Your Hot with the Horse

If you're looking to add a bit of equine flair to your next photo shoot, consider framing your shot with the horse as the center of attention. This can be a great way to add some drama and excitement to your photos, and it's also a great way to capture the beauty and grace of these magnificent creatures.

a running white horse

Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

5. Kneel to Keep the Camera Lower

If you want to obtain some fantastic images of horses in action, try having the horses rush toward you while kneeling on the ground. This will assist in keeping the camera low to the ground, giving the photographs a more dynamic and thrilling vibe. Plus, getting up and personal with these magnificent creatures may be a lot of fun.

6. Focus on Horse and Rider Matchy Sets

Horse and rider matching sets are a great way to add a personal touch to your horse's photo shoot. Not only do they look great, but they also help to show off your horse's personality. There are many different ways to style horse and rider matching sets. You can go for a classic look with a white shirt and black pants or get creative with colors and patterns. If you're unsure what to wear, consider matching your horse's coat color or choosing a color that will complement their eyes.

Safety Guide to Horse Photography

Horse photography can be dangerous if proper safety precautions are not taken. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind when photographing horses:

a herd of horses eating grass

Photo by Christine Mendoza on Unsplash

1. Don't Approach the Horse From Behind

Approaching the horse from behind can startle them and cause them to kick. It's best to approach the horse from the front or side so they can see you coming.

2. Stay Out of the Horse's Field of View

If the horse can see you, it may become startled and run away. It's best to stay out of the horse's field of view and let them get used to your presence before trying to take photos.

3. Don't Make Sudden Movements

Sudden movements can also startle the horse and cause them to run away. Move slowly and smoothly when around horses.

a horse standing in the grass and looking far

Photo by Giorgio Manenti on Unsplash

4. Be Careful With the Ear Prop

The ear prop is a small metal rod inserted into the horse's ear to keep its head still for photos. If not inserted properly, it can cause the horse pain.

5. Be Patient.

Horses are creatures of habit and may not want to be photographed. It's important to be patient and wait for the right moment to take the photo.

6. Always Maintain a Safe Distance.

Horses are large animals and can easily injure humans if they feel threatened. Always maintain a safe distance from the horse and never put yourself in a position where they could hurt you.

a woman riding horse in the golden hour

Photo by Taylor Brandon on Unsplash


Horses are truly magnificent creatures, and it is important to show them off as best we can. Photography is a great way to do this; with these tips, you will be well on taking some amazing horse pictures.

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