Bint Al Bahr Arabians

Preservation Breeders of Straight Babson Egyptians


Photo Tips - Page 2


*Sabah El Kheir  -  note how setting the focal length to blur the background focuses the attention directly on the mare.  See your camera's manual to find out how to do this. -  Diana Johnson photo  A few days ahead

Scout for good background and lighting a few days ahead of the scheduled photo shoot. This is the first step to getting a good photo.  

Choose your location with light in mind.  For lighting, your shadow must point at the horse.  It is best to look for your location at the time of day that you will be shooting.  The softer light of early morning or early evening will keep your shadows to a minimum. The soft light from a bright hazy day will also work for you with the added advantage of not having to worry about harsh shadows.  

Try to select a properly lit background that is level, uncluttered and suitable to the color of the horse.  Light colored horses need to be shot against dark backgrounds and dark horses against light colored backgrounds.  This step may (or may not) only take a few moments but it is important since it is a key factor in the success of your project.  The same spot that worked so well in April may not work at all in June due to seasonal light direction so recheck before each photo session. Almoraima Alegria (Midbar Fa Rabdan x Fa Mahrouf) 1992 Straight Babson mare owned by Elizabeth Dawsari  -  June 2005 Diana Johnson photo

A simple uncluttered background helps to focus the attention on the horse. Consider the trees and shrubs, will they add or distract from your photo? We once did “trotting horse” photos with trees in the background and when we got them back most of the photos had “broccoli” (trees) riding on the horses hindquarters.  They became known as the "Broccoli Butt Photos."  Which is not how your pretty mare wants to be remembered!  A background of a flowering tree may look great through the lens as you shoot it but when the photos come back you may find the background is too busy and distracts from the horse.  If you just have to try to have those beautiful roses in the background, shoot some more shots with a plain background as a backup.  Mow the grass if needed so the horse’s feet will show.  If you can not find such a location consider whether your neighbor might or even trailer out to a suitable location.  It always helps to have backup spot to shoot in case something isn’t working in the selected location. A horse will be more alert and curious in a strange location. 

Buy LOTS of film. Plan on more rolls than you will need. Ten rolls is not an unreasonable amount to have on hand for 1 or 2 horses.  You may or may not need it all.  Better to have more film than you need than not enough.  I like 35mm 200ASA Fuji film as I find that horse colors come out truer to color with this film but a lot depends on who develops the film. It is also a good idea at this time to locate your spare camera battery.  My camera batteries last me about a year but they usually quit on me when I most need them so I now keep a spare new battery in my camera bag, especially on farm visits.  

Remind the people that agreed to assist you of the time and day they need to be there.  You will need a minimum of three people, with 4 being even better.  You need at least three people, one to shoot the photos, one to hold the horse and one to get the ears up.  If you found a fourth person, their job is to help with the grooming and to help the ears up person, handing props or bringing out another horse.  Every job is very important and the results of any photo shoot is a team effort.   

Fabah Serr - a 2001Babson colt.  Notice how the focal length setting blurs the fence and background.  The foral collar is used to keep the colt from leaving as well as adds a touch of color. - 2001 Diana Johnson photo All of us who have tried to shoot photos by ourselves know the value of having help. 

How do you get help?  If you don’t find prospective help at your dinner table then find a helpful friend and agree to shoot photos or be their helper for one of their horse’s photo shoot the next weekend.  I think we all can agree, whatever the breed, we all need help getting photos taken.  

Study photos that you like in magazines to see how a horse is standing, where the legs are or how the headshot is framed.  Think about what makes that photo work and how you might recreate that look.  

Look at your horse and be realistic about your horse’s beauty, work to emphasis her best points.  Look to see what angles she looks best from then use them for your photo shot.  

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


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