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Photography Question 
Bobby R. Strange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/14/2006

Horse Portraits with Backdrop?

Hi all. A friend of mine thinks (strongly) that I should start going to horse shows, setting up a huge canvas backdrop, and offering to take portraits of the horses. She insists I could make a ton of money doing this. If I decide to do this, how big a canvas would I need for a backdrop? I mean, these are some pretty big horses! Have any of you ever tried this? Thanks!

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7/21/2010 10:57:01 AM

Carolyn  M. Fletcher
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/6/2001
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  Why the backdrop at all? Seems to me it would just be asking for trouble, with the wind factor and the spooky nature of some horses. You could probably find a pretty good background outdoors somewhere around the area, or if not, you could just blur the background enough to get rid of anything distracting. Just a thought.

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7/22/2010 2:52:26 AM

Bobby R. Strange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/14/2006
  Yeah, I was kinda thinking that as well. The only reason she had mentioned a backdrop is because she had seen another photographer use one and it made the shots look more like studio portraits. But it does seem like it could be a lot of trouble.

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7/22/2010 3:26:43 AM

Leslie J. Morris
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/30/2007
  That's an interesting proposal. Having shown horses most of my life (until raising kids became more important), I cannot imagine getting my horses to stand still near a flapping backdrop. It would work for some horses, particularly those trained in competitive trail and such, as they are used to flapping stuff. I just had a vision of an Arabian horse owner trying to get his high-strung young halter horse to stand on the backdrop ... it could be quite entertaining! That being said, I imagine if the horse could sit still, it would make for a great and different portrait. Would love to see the work of the other photographer who did this!

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7/22/2010 8:13:55 AM

Jeffrey R. Whitmoyer   I would prefer a natural background. However, maybe you could look into digital backdrops and photograph the horse, then do the Photoshop thing to merge it and the digital backdrop. There's no reason you can't create your own series of digital backdrops as far as that goes. You then have options for the customer.

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7/22/2010 6:30:35 PM

Janice  M. LeCocq
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/3/2007
  Listen to the horse people...I have 6 and even the most "broke" could be a problem around a strange "flapping thing". If you really want to change the background, there are some pretty great plug-ins that allow you to cut out, even pretty credibly around mane and tail hair (I've done it). One of my photos of a paint stallion was published like that...I cut him out of a bald sky and put him in front of a gorgeous sky...keeping light directions in mind!

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7/27/2010 8:48:39 AM

Ralph L. Nuerenberg   Having a daughter that competed in horse shows, there is a reason for backdrops on occasion. Many shows are conducted in inside arenas. At the higher shows such as Nationals, etc. it would be unpractical to have pictures outside. Photos can involve rider, sometimes 2 horses at a time, trainer(s)if not more. Size backdrops I have seen are large - greater than 10 ft in ht, and about 20 ft or greater in length. Backdrops are usually fabric fastened to a wall or on a complete frame (top, sides, bottom). By the way, there is more to it that just the backdrop. Most photographers are experienced in working with horses and getting their head set correctly for the photos; and are equipped with staff and equipment for immediate review of photos, and ordering on the spot. Photographers also have inside arena staff that shoot photos of riding events, and also have proofs to review for immediate order. Most established breed circuits have agreements with photographers, so I dont know if you can set up shop without approval of the circuit. Hope this helps.

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7/27/2010 11:19:49 AM

Tom Schmitt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/22/2005
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  Yann Arthus-Bertrand's "Horses" is a huge coffee table book that shows amazing horse photography done with large backdrops, some with the horse running past the backdrop! It's cheap on eBay and a treat to leaf through even if you decide not to go that route. Enjoy!

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7/27/2010 11:21:11 AM

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