Jul 19, 2011

How to Take Senior or Portrait Pic with Horses

I am not a professional by any means, but have picked up on a few things over the years, so here I have just some quick pointers for you guys to get you started down the right path.  I also have a few different pose ideas and ways to make each pose a little better.

Here are a few pointers, then continue reading to read my comments on specific pictures, what they could use to make them look better and more professional:
  • Be aware of your background--it can make or break your picture and if you are good and your camera can do it, a nice out of focus background, either bokeh or properly using depth of field really adds to the picture
  • Have a helper shake something, make noises or whatever it takes to help get the horse's attention and ears perked, in some cases it may also help to have a helper set the horse's feet for you, depending on the picture
  • Take a few more steps back than you normally would and zoom in, the extra zooming helps prevent distortion of the horse's hip and shoulder which is often seen
  • Of course, have the horse well groomed so the coat is shinny and attractive to best show off your model :)
  • Try a few different poses and angles to see what you like best.  At different angles the horse may look better or you may better show off your subject, just keep shooting until you find what you really like.  Coordinating a horse and person take time and patience, just don't give up

The Importance of Angle and your Subject:
This is a cute picture, but the horse is more of the focal point than my subject, it would be beneficial of me to either change the position of the horse or change angle, so that my subject is at least 50% of the picture, rather than here, were really she is only about 25% of the picture.  Even so, she really likes this picture, just not to the quality that we would print her pictures to give away with or put in the yearbook.  

Precious Moments:
This is another "cute" picture, really more a picture of my horse than her, but really did capture a  precious moment.

Better Balance:
This picture is better as far as balance between the horse and my subject, however, my horse still is drawing a little more of my attention.  The background is also a bit bright, which is somewhat just a product of the day, but as seen in some of the other photos I took if you looked through all of my proofs could have been greatly reduced by changing the angle the shot was taken from.  

Another Good Angle:
This picture is even a little better yet, my subject is drawing even more of my attention, but the horse's ears could be perked forward some more.  When I print this one, quite a bit gets cropped off of the sides, so some of that distraction will be taken away.

My twist on standard pose:
Love this picture, I tend to like to do this pose whenever I take pictures of someone on horse back, just something special and cute about it.  Seems to take one of those standard portrait poses and adds a cute little twist :).

Precious Moments:
Here, this I just find a sweet pose to use, just for the feel of the picture more than anything else, however it is a little tricky, because you need the horse and subject to be just the right height for each other, otherwise it looks funny.

With Prop "Hat":
Ok, this last two pictures aren't exactly with horses, but I like this pose with a cowboy hat, another nice one is with the hat on the leg.  Anyways, I am not particularly happy with these two pictures, but they do look nice.  I find this pose works well with the subject holding the hat as though they are putting it on and leaning up against a tree.

Very similar to the last picture, just different angle, I like this angle better for the background and her silhouette, but do not like as well how her arm is covering a bit of her face.

Hopefully these pictures and comments give you some ideas.  Honestly some of our best pictures were without horses or any horse related "stuff" like a hat or bridle.  We got some really cute pictures just in the western related attire, such as jeans, boots and shirt.  It takes some practice to get some really good pictures and you cannot be afraid of taking a couple hundred too, just keep snapping, then you can go back and look at what you have done, make note of what angles worked and what poses worked and be better next time.  Also, often times there will be little things that are easy to miss that either make or break your photo, another reason to take at least two each time you are at a pose and angle, especially when practicing.

This article was inspired by my previous article were I just put up some pictures I took, decided it might help if I also shared some of the knowledge I gained shooting them :).

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