In the past few years, photo showing has become more popular than ever. With digital cameras and the internet becoming the norm, the days of mailing piles of photographs through the mail is gone and replaced by online shows which are easy to enter and most times are very inexpensive if not free. Its also an excellent choice for those of you that can’t make it to live shows, like Golden Oak Stables! Here’s a few photography tips for taking winning photographs.
I have had the honor of judging a couple photo shows in the past few months, as well as entering a few. The winter is a good time for this, especially in New England when there isn’t much to do except sit by the fire. I’ve found online photo showing to be extremely encouraging and educational, from both my position as a shower and a judge.
The most important thing to strive for is taking good, clear photographs. It doesn’t matter if you have the most beautiful horse with the most perfect breed, if the photograph is dark or blurry, there sadly is little hope. I use what is called a Photo Tent, a small cloth cube that helps distribute light evenly over your subject without having significant glares or shadows. If you do not have access to a photo tent, the next best thing is using mid-afternoon sun. Setting up outside is easy in the spring and summer, but in the winter it can be very difficult. For shooting inside you’ll want to find a room that gets lots of natural but not direct sunlight and try shooting a few photos in there.
Where ever you have to take your photos, set up on a flat surface like a sturdy table. For a background I like to use a plain cream colored fabric. This works well for nearly all colors of models and you can experiment with different backgrounds. Some people choose to use poster sized pictures of natural scenes and others find success using just nature in the background. Play around and find what works best for you. If you choose to use a natural scene you’ll want to think about the footing your horse is on. Extremely fine ground soil makes a good footing as does a sheet of grass often used for train miniatures.
Once you’ve got it all set up, try to set your horse in its best “light”. You don’t want glares on the horse (Sometimes with glossy models this is unavoidable, but you want to minimize it as much as possible) and you’ll want to make sure that the horse isn’t in any shadows. The hardest part is making sure the horse’s head isn’t covered by shadow.
Photograph above shows poorly lit model out of focus.
Photo above shows a model that is far too dark with a badly cast shadow below it.
Photo above shows model with light poorly distributed on the face as well as multiple glares.
Photo above shows a well photographed model that shows the model properly.
So dust off your camera and start taking photos!