Becoming an Equine Photographer

The path to becoming an equine photographer is much like any other niche. To be successful in any area you need to have the three basics:

  • Understanding
  • Commitment
  • Passion

Without these three essentials any plans to work in that sector you might as well throw away. This is especially with my understanding so far of Equine sports photography.

Forget all you know about artistic photography. No one wants a rule of thirds framed image of their horse looking all candid at a competition. It’s all about full-framed action shots that look easy to get but are far from it.

Becoming an Equine Photographer – lines, triangles, and squares

Do you know what you are taking photos of? You need to understand the movement of the horse before trying to capture it, what is it that horse people look for?

what to look for in taking dressage photos diagram of horses legs in triangles

For any gait, you need to find the extended stretch to show off the full movement, flexibility and balance of the animal. Horses being quadrupedal means that there are two more legs to worry about than usual, use this to your advantage and look for parallel lines in the legs as the horse extends its gait. Another shape to look for in movement is triangles. Every horse person likes a good triangular stridden horse.

what to look for in taking dressage photos diagram of horses ears

When a horse is still you need to find the square shots, the horse’s stance is square and balanced, and its ears are facing forward making its face symmetrical and rectangular as well as giving it the intelligent look. You also need to consider the rider, where are they in the saddle, do they have good contact with the reins and most important do they look like they are enjoying themselves?

Commitment  – practice does make perfect

In a post, one of my Facebook friends shared the statement that 10000 hours of practising something will make you the master of it, albeit sport, music or a language. I don’t fully agree with the whole 10000-hour part but the principles of committing yourself to your cause, perseverance and pushing yourself to get to the next level.

In photography, you can grasp the basics of a DSLR and read all about the artistic rules and see what Instagram filters can offer, but there is nothing on practicing or pushing yourself to get the opportunities to improve yourself. If you don’t put yourself out there, how are you going to gain the experience and knowledge you desire?

From the first equine photo, I took to the most recent I have seen a miraculous improvement. The main improvement being seen over the last six months with the improvement of understanding and of course, the practice and reading I have made myself do in order to improve.

Passion you get what you put in

You hear people using the word passionate a lot when in interviews or applying themselves to jobs, it may seem unimportant but it is severely underrated. How can you do a job that you don’t have the heart for?

With Equestrian photography particularly having a love for both the subject and the camera is essential. If you love being around horses then there is no issue with taking pictures around horses.

From personal experience, if you are enjoying watching the sport then you normally get better shots, longer stamina and better focus. There is nothing more enjoyable to me than seeing a horse and rider or handler showing their hard work and then seeing their excitement when it pays off with a red, blue or yellow ribbon.

Inhand pony class of a welsh section A palimino pony and handler at the cardigan county show

It may seem easy when read from an amateur blog page, but after the last year of honing my skills I still have a long way to go to be up in the big leagues, but hopefully with my perseverance and continued support and encouragement from friends and family one day it will happen!

Thanks for reading and if you have the time, leave me a comment or check out my sites in the links below!

signature briony molly
All photographs from Briony-Molly Photography, with thanks to AUE for Dressage photos and Cardigan County Show for in hand opportunities.

Published by Briony-Molly

Photographer & Designer. Horse Owner, Book Fanatic

4 thought on “Becoming an Equine Photographer

  1. Interesting post. Having worked a lot in equestrian event photography, and seen so many competitors getting bored with the same ol’ standard trotting, cantering photos, I do think that it’s important to re-introduce an element of creativity into your event images. People are enjoying seeing something a little different, these days, so I think it’s important to stand out from the average tog and offer something a little different. 🙂 x

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