The Perfect Pony Print: 7 tips for DIY Horse Photography

Horses are majestic creatures, renowned for their strength and beauty. Their elegance and uniqueness are often captivatingly captured through photography. Horse photography is a powerful form of art that can showcase the individuality of your horse, including their features and expressions, as well as encapsulating memories of your four-legged friends.

If you have a horse and want to get some beautiful photos taken, but can’t quite afford a professional, we have seven tips for DIY horse photography!

Perhaps you’re just interested in picking up a new hobby and have an appreciation for the beauty of horses, then this might pique your interest. Whether you’re capturing the horse in action at a race, or simply relaxing in the yard or field, you should be able to get some great shots on either your phone or camera to bring home. Your phone or camera will capture some really high-quality images, with even the finest details, making the photos you choose to print later come to life! A photo printer will attempt to reproduce high-resolution, colour photos, so you don’t need to worry about your prints looking different to the photos on your screen. By using a mix of ink cartridges,

a photo printer can accurately imitate a variety of colours, so you will be left with some of the most amazing prints!

There are many things to consider before you actually start taking photos with your camera, so these tips will help you start on the right hoof when it comes to DIY horse photography!

1. Get to know your horse and build a connection

Horses often form deep emotional bonds with humans, so if you’re taking photographs of your own horse, you won’t have to worry too much about getting to know them and building a connection. However, if you are taking photographs of a horse you do not know, then there are a few things you should do to build a connection and make it more comfortable for all involved.

  • Approach calmly: When approaching the animal, move slowly and avoid sudden movements. Speak in gentle tones to assure the horse you mean no harm. Horses cannot see directly in front of them, so it is better to approach from the side.
  • Allow the horse to sniff your hand: By allowing the horse to sniff your hand, you’re letting them gather information about you and your surroundings. If the horse touches their nose to your hand, this is known as a ‘horseman’s handshake’ and is one of the most important stages of building a connection with a horse. This is their way of signalling a connection. If the horse shows no interest in sniffing or touching your hand, you should move onto the next step.
  • Try petting the horse: You can gradually introduce petting the horse, but even grooming can be another great way to build a connection. Using a soft brush and gentle strokes, brush the horse in the same direction as its hair. Brushing in the opposite direction can cause discomfort, and this also goes for when petting them. To pet them, start by placing your hand at the bottom of their neck. Once the horse has become more comfortable, you can start petting its neck and stroking its mane also!
  • Use treats sparingly: The first thing you should always do when it comes to treats is make sure they are safe for a horse to eat! Many fruits and vegetables are safe treats for horses, with the most popular being apples and carrots. Treats can be a way to create a positive association and the horse may become more comfortable with you, but use them sparingly as relying on food might encourage some unwanted behaviour as they will learn to expect them.
  • Observe and learn: You should spend some time observing the horse and learning their body language, reactions and general behaviour. This will help you recognise their moods, so you will be able to respond appropriately if there is a change in behaviour.

Ultimately, it is important that the horse knows you are not a threat to them and you’re here to be their friend. Getting to know and building a connection will result in more natural and relaxed photographs

2. Avoid using camera flash or sound

Horses can be sensitive to sound and light, meaning any sudden light or noise can trigger a reaction and may lead to the horse becoming distressed. It is extremely important to consider this before starting to take photographs in order to maintain a calm and comfortable environment. It is recommended to avoid using a phone or camera without a flash or a shutter sound so as to not startle or frighten the horse in the course of your photoshoot. By taking the horse’s sensitivities into consideration, you could end up with a very successful shoot.

Not only will this minimise distractions, but you’ll also be able to work closer to the horse if you avoid using these camera features. With some closer shots, you will be able to capture the horse’s expressions and finer details, resulting in some more intimate photographs.

Aside from your own photoshoot, avoiding camera features that are likely to cause discomfort to the horse, will help the horse overcome camera-induced stress in the future. This can make the experience enjoyable for both horse and photographer.

3. Opt for natural light for the best shots

Without the help of a camera flash, you will likely have to opt for natural light for your photography session. Natural light is widely regarded as one of the most flattering types of lighting for photography, and horse photography is no different! Taking photographs during the ‘golden hours’ of sunrise and sunset can result in soft and warm tones, enhancing the horse’s fur and features, without any harsh shadows. Taking photographs with golden hues in the background will also allow the horse’s natural colours to stand out. The natural light will enhance the beauty of the horse and you’ll be left with some of the most striking photographs.

Don’t be afraid to capture some naturally colourful or dramatic shots, like a scenic trail or vibrant flowers in the landscape. While the horse will always be the main focus in these photos, these will look fantastic in the background and will enhance the overall image. When printing photographs with an inkjet printer, your ink cartridges will be able to accurately imitate any striking colours or shading captured in your photo, so feel free to experiment with the setting and background to create a stunning visual.

4. Try  a few different perspectives

Experimenting with different angles or viewpoints while doing DIY horse photography can help add more interest and uniqueness to your photos. In some cases, your perspective will depend on the horse’s personality and what types of shots suit them best. The only way you will figure this out is by trying a couple of different angles or frames, and deciding which shots you think are most compelling.

Here are some examples of perspectives you could try out:

Low or High angles

Taking photographs from a low angle means you will either be kneeling or lying down. Photographs from this angle will help emphasise the size and stature of the animal, as well as showcasing power and strength.

To take high angle photography, you will need to be in an elevated position, so either a platform or a natural raise in the ground. This will help you capture unique shots of the entire horse that you may not be able to get from other angles.

Get down to eye-level

Getting down to the horse’s eye level will allow you to capture some beautiful photos of the horse’s eyes and facial expressions. Again, this is a more intimate type of photography with close-proximity, so you will have to have an existing connection with the horse to capture these.

Action shots

Action shots work well if you are hoping to showcase the athletic nature of the horse. These photographs can be a little more difficult to take as the horse will be running, jumping or playing in them, but they are beautiful shots that can portray the horses energy and playfulness.

Profile shots

Capturing profile shots are helpful to demonstrate the horse’s body. You will see the curves and shapes of their neck, back, legs and tail in these photographs, as well as any distinctive features that make them unique.

There are a number of other perspectives you could try out, but if you are just a beginner in DIY horse photography, then these are a good starting point for some beautiful photographs.

5. Capture expressions and details

If you’re hoping to capture some more expressive photographs, with finer details, you will have to do some close-up shots with the horse. Focus on the horse’s eyes, as these are the most expressive part of a horse’s face. Watch for changes in their eyes, ears or mouth, as these will portray different expressions and feelings. You can zoom in on features such as their eyelashes or whiskers to highlight some of their finer details. These are all things that make the horse an individual, so you should try to get photos of each of these in the course of your shoot.

Sometimes, interactive shots can also help you capture a horse’s most natural expressions and emotions. Take photographs as they interact with other horses, with humans they have strong bonds with and just with their general surroundings. These photos will speak a thousand words about the horse’s social and emotional behaviour, appealing to much more than just their beauty.

6. Be patient!

Patience is a virtue, and this can be the case in horse photography. Horses can take some time to get used to your presence and might not always behave the way you would expect, so sometimes you may just have to wait for the right moment to take a photo. You may capture some of their most spontaneous and playful moments, but you can also spend this time appreciating their beauty and grace yourself!

Like any new hobby, this will take time, so you will have to be patient both with yourself and your chosen horse. But by taking your time and using some of the tips we have highlighted, you should be able to capture some genuine and natural photographs before the end of your photoshoot. Just enjoy the process!

7. Get ready to print your photos

When you come to the end of your shoot and are happy with your results, we can guarantee you will want to print your photographs! Looking at the photographs on your phone or camera will bring you much joy and a sense of pride, of both your new skills and the beauty you’ve just photographed, so why not have a physical copy to hang in your home? Have a look through your new photographs, select some of your favourites or even ones you think your family might like and bring them to your nearest photo printing specialist! Or, if you would like to save some time and money and would prefer this was a complete DIY experience, print them using your home printer. You will have captured some of the most striking and expressive pictures, and you will remember how enjoyable your day was every time you pass by the images!

If horse photography is something that genuinely interests you, then perhaps you can make a proper hobby (or career) out of it. It is best to print your photographs and build a portfolio to show everyone what you’re capable of and how a horse responds to you!

Overall, this should be an enjoyable experience between you and the horse, so remember to make it fun for all involved and no matter how the photographs turn out, you will have had a great day!


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