5 Simple Tips To Improve Your Equine Sales Photos
A few simple tips to bear in mind when taking your own sales photos.
I can’t emphasise enough the importance of a good photo in the business of selling horses, in an age of social media the first impression a potential buyer obtains of your horse is from the photos you’ve provided them with so you want to make sure it’s a good one. Think of taking sales photos as a digital showing class, only rather than trying to catch the judges eye you are trying gain the attention of a client.
1. My Golden Rule
This is the most simple but perhaps the most important, make sure your horse is clean! You want your horse to look immaculate and be presented as is appropriate to best show off your horses features and breed. This rule extends to the tack you use, whether it’s a head collar or a bridle, make sure it looks smart! Your hot pink head collar that hangs out in the paddock all day is not ideal. If you were selling your car you would make sure it was clean and tidy in the photos you put up.
2. Clean Backgrounds
You don’t want a busy backdrop so make sure there are no distractions in your photos that detract from the time and effort you put into the presentation of your horse. This doesn’t mean scenery has to be boring or that you have to stand your horse up against a wall though, simply take the time to remove any unsightly objects or move your shoot location to somewhere a little more pleasing to the eye. Some may be lucky enough to have a picturesque yard but for those who have limited location options then using an open turn out area such as a field or menage will work just as well for clean cut portraits. Remember you are not creating fine art, you just want an appealing photo overall.
3. Angles and Composition
Just like with humans, there are flattering and unflattering angles to be photographed from. Horses generally look better from a slightly lower angle. The aim is to display the horse in a favorable light so you want to highlight the horses composition and deter focus from anything undesirable in their appearance. If you are photographing from eye level they can often look a little squat and stocky, warping their composition, so you really want to find a position to photograph from that is flattering and gives the horse more presence.
Although my opinion on this is totally different when it comes to normal portraiture, for sales images it is best that your horse has his/her ears forward and is looking alert and attentive. There are lots of techniques i’ve come across for the more stubborn models including (but I promise in no way limited to) picking grass, shaking tick tacks and I had one client wear a feedbag on their head, whatever works to get those ears forward! I have found other photographers also suggest a phone app that plays various horse sounds which is bound to do the trick.
Unlike people, horses look fantastic in full sun. It brings out shiny coats which is another attractive feature of your horse you’ll want to try and emphasise. Try and keep your horse parallel to the direction of the light for side on shots and keep an eye on any harsh shadows that might be covering your horse and re position accordingly.