Here’s a quote I want you to keep in mind today:
You never look good trying to make someone else look bad.
My major goal when photographing horses is to always do my best to capture images that enhance their conformation. Capturing just the right shot at the correct moment of stride to make him look his best is key. Timing is important here and it takes a lot of practice to get it right.
Let’s look specifically at when you should press the trigger at each gate. We’ll primarily be talking in regard to Western/stock horses.
At the walk, you want to take the photo just as the near fore has come forward but not met the ground. Otherwise, the horse will either look on the forehand or you will only see three legs.
Here the horse in front is a good example of this.
I think trot work photos work best with the near foreleg forward, creating a clean line from the withers through the shoulder to the toe.
There is a bit of controversy here as to whether it is best to have the near side front leg extended or the offside.
Some like the far front reaching forward, as they feel it opens the shoulders up a bit. So, I would say to shoot both and decide what you or your client like best, it will vary depending on the breed or discipline.
At the canter or gallop-I want the horse’s shoulders to be elevated with good engagement from behind.
I’d prefer the leg closest to the camera be extended, most likely on that lead.
However, the shot below will work as well.
This shot running directly towards the camera at the moment of suspension with all four feet off the ground is a favorite.
Captured head on the horse is what I would call the most compact in his stride. Typically, his head and neck will be a bit higher than when he is stretched out.
In conclusion, I like the horse to be as uphill as possible.
Achieve this by taking photographs on the ‘up’ part of the stride, as he is propelling himself forward, not coming back down to the ground.