Bint Al Bahr Arabians

Preservation Breeders of Straight Babson Egyptians



Photo Tips

©2002  by Diana Johnson  

Masada el Fasab  -  (Fa Asar  X  Zahara Sabiya)  1991 Babson stallion  -  2003 Diana Johnson photo Is it easier to hire a professional photographer to shoot your photos? Yes, but you still have all the prep work to do ahead of time and only who holds the camera changes.  The photographer owns the negatives and copyright.   To get prints from your photo session you must pay the higher prices for a photo of your horse.  When you hire a photographer you not only hire their years of experience to frame the shot and time the shutter button but they also buy the film, arrange for the developing, sort the photos, organize, label and store the photos and negatives indefinitely.  All of this work goes into your session fee and the price of the few prints you might order.  It is a bargain when you think about it…. but YOU want to learn to shoot your own photos.  

You can take your own photos and be pleased with the results.  It just takes planning and attention to detail. These ideas are to help you take your own photos at a reasonable cost to pocketbook and to everyone’s sanity.  

A good photo shoot is a group effort and takes preparation, patience, practice and persistence.  


For the purposes of this article I am going to assume you are using a 35mm camera with a zoom lens but most of these ideas can be adapted to digital cameras. 

Automatic film advance is very helpful as you do not have to take the camera down from your eye after every frame to advance the film manually and lose some valuable shots.  

Ahmed Fabo (Ahmed Fabah  x  Dahma Saafada)  1998 Babson stallion, 2003 USA Equestrian Reg. 7 Dressage Horse of the Year-  2002 Diana Johnson photo

Autofocus is quite handy but I like the camera to also have a manual focus setting as there are many times when autofocus gets in your way.  There is a slight delay time on autofocus that can cause you to miss action shots that require quick response from your shutter.  Legs move faster than the camera so however well you thought you timed the leg to be in the right place when you take the shot, the camera has its own timing on the shutter when using the autofocus feature.  An automatic light meter also comes on most cameras but refer to your instruction book for settings for your camera if it is manual.  Have you lost your camera’s instruction booklet?  Now might be a good time to order a new one (try the camera company website) since it will explain the settings and how to use them to your advantage.  

If using a digital camera, you have a  "delayed shutter time" between the time when you push the shutter button and when the camera reacts and takes the photo.  You also must wait out the "save time" when you are unable to shoot the next photo.  These factors can make your digital photos a bit more challenging.  You also need to consider the camera's resolution so your photo will have maximum clarity when printed. They are now making Digital SLR that will accept your 35mm lens and operate much like a 35mm SLR camera with no film expense with high resolution for clear sharp photos that enlarge very well.

I use a 70-200mm Zoom lens (Ideally I would prefer a 75-300mm Zoom lens) on a Minolta 7000 SLR camera but I used to use an old Kodak Instamatic.  I did get some good photos with it once I learned how to correct for the lack of a zoom and compensate for the lack of a "through the lens view finder."  That was hard work with uncertain results so I am very grateful for my 35mm SLR camera.   

Schedule your “photo day” in advance, well before you need the photos.  It will take you time to sort, label and choose your photo.  Keep in mind you may need to repeat the photo session in case you did not get just what you wanted in the first attempt.  

Your cursor on the photos will tell you more about the photo and the horse.


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