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Photography Question 
Jean E. Hildebrant
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/26/2007
 

How to Photograph a Black Horse


I have the opportunity to photograph a black stallion. Any suggestions? My equipment is very limited. I have a Canon Rebel xt and the lens that came with it, and that is about it. I want to shoot a woman along with the horse as well. Thanks for any help :)


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2/12/2009 6:14:27 PM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  Keep the sun at your back and meter off something neutral.


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2/13/2009 5:21:25 AM

 
Jean E. Hildebrant
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/26/2007
  Thank you Bob!


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2/16/2009 8:05:39 AM

 
Karim Abiali
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/8/2005
  Take a meter off the horse and a meter off the woman and combine them later on.


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2/16/2009 8:32:00 PM

 
Roy Blinston
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/4/2005
  Bracket your shots (over - normal - under)... or if you have a tripod, normal - then 1f over - then 2f over - in quick succession - then combinethe 3 in Photoshop "layers" (mix and match the exposures).


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2/17/2009 4:33:55 AM

 
Sara L. Tanner
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/2/2003
  What is the horse going to be doing? Being ridden, jumping, trotting in hand, or standing and posing?


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2/17/2009 5:16:09 AM

 
Jean E. Hildebrant
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/26/2007
  Thank you all so much for your advice!
Sara T., to answer your question....all of the above :) We will be doing shots of the horse running free, closeups of horse alone and with model, horse with rider mounted. I am going for a artistic image. she will be wearing a long wine-red dress and she has fair skin and black hair.


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2/17/2009 6:18:51 AM

 
Cristina La Cava
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/14/2006
  Through much trial and error, I've found that high overcast days are best for photographing dark horses, especially action shots. That will also make the red dress pop. I've also learned that a circular polarizer is extremely helpful on sunny days. This would work better for portraits since the slower exposure needed with the CP could cause your action shots to blur. The CP mostly eliminates the highlights from the coat that turn into ugly shine in the finished image and also shows better muscle detail and such. Best of luck and have fun!!


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2/17/2009 6:36:00 AM

 
Dale M. Garvey   Can you shoot raw images with your camera? The comment about bracketing and combining the images in photoshop HRD was right on, but after looking at your gallery we should be seeking advice from you.

Panning at horse at a cantor at 1/30 or lower should produce some stunning shots with that red dress.


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2/17/2009 8:07:13 AM

 
Jean E. Hildebrant
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/26/2007
  Thanks for the info on the CP, Cristina! I'll check out prices on them. I live in SUNNY AZ and we have so few overcast days :-(

Dale G, I can shoot raw and do much of the time. I was planning to shoot raw for this as well. I have never tried the HDR but I would love to try it. And thanks for the compliment but it's PS that gets me good results, without it I'm probably sunk, lol. I'm trying to learn more about my Canon Rebel XT. Thanks for the advice on panning ad the setting suggestion. That is where I really need help-how to meter and how to set my camera to get good exposures.

Thanks so much for all the input! It is MUCH appreciated!
Jean


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2/17/2009 9:28:13 AM

 
Sara L. Tanner
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/2/2003
  Hey there,

I can lend some general horse photographing tips:

*A note on the horizon and the horse's build: Typically a horse that is built "uphill," meaning that the withers (bump that is in front of the saddle)should be higher than the hindquarters (the butt) is more athletic than a horse that is built "downhill." By tilting the horizon slightly, so that the side of the picture with the horse's front is higher, can help to make the horse look as if it is built more uphill. This probably matters more if your audience (viewers) know horses and horse conformation.

*Perspective and jumping: First and foremost is the safety of the horse and rider. If you get really low on the landing side of the fence and shoot up the jump can look much more impressive. I used to do this for little kids on ponies jumping small fences, but it is important to show the horse the photographer so he doesn't jump the fence and is then surprised to see the photographer.

*Getting and holding a horse's attention for posing: One of the best ways to get and hold a horse's attention is an assistant with a feed bucket. Have the assistant shake the bucket or pick up handfuls of grain and let it drop back into the bucket off camera in the direction you want the horse's attention. For the horse that is not food motivated a white plastic bag can do the trick. However, a white plastic can be scary for some horses because of the noise and color. White is the brightest color that horses see because of the makeup of rods and cones in their eyes. I've also heard of people tape recording horses whinnying and playing that back to get attention. If you are in a pinch and without another set of hands picking up some dirt and sprinkling or tossing it can grab a horse's attention sometimes. Another trick is throwing a rock into a patch of weeds off camera to get them to look in a specific direction.

*Safety and equine vision: Be aware that a horse can not see directly behind them or directly in front of their face for about a foot or two because of the placement of their eyes.(In fact, a horse can not see the portion of the jump they are jumping at the moment of takeoff). These blind spots are important to remember when introducing them to new props.

*Panning: I've had a lot of fun panning in indoor arenas because the low lighting and my limited camera didn't allow for much else. With all panning there is that follow through factor. I've found it hard to have both the horse's head and the rider in focus, so you might want to keep this in mind when composing shots. Maybe it was just the limit of my equipment.

*Stallion neck: Stallions tend to have necks that have more crest than their gelded counterparts. The extra curve on the top of the neck might prove interesting/useful in composing shots, but you're the photographer and I'm sure you'll find the shots!

Happy shooting!!


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2/19/2009 6:15:17 PM

 
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