Getting Started in Horse Photography – Camera & Settings

I have been on many photography workshops and read many books and I find most of them either confuse me with the terminology or do not actually get to the point and tell you what settings you should use so that you can get started capturing great images of horses while you are learning what all the settings are doing.

I fully support just getting outside taking photographs as one of the biggest areas for developing your photography skills, in my opinion no amount of book reading can improve your photography better than experience, although the one book to have with you at all times no matter where you are is your camera’s manual, with the increase in functions and settings on cameras today you do not want to be stuck out in the field not being able to capture the shot because you don’t know what your camera is doing due to you accidently changing a setting.

If you are itching to get outside with your camera then here are the settings I suggest you use to get started.

You ideally want a camera with a 70mm – 200mm lens any smaller size lenses will distort the horse.

Shoot in large fine JPEGS unless you know what you are doing when it comes to processing RAW files?

Set the ISO to Auto – Most camera technology is pretty accurate. Leaving your camera to decide on ISO means you will not have to keep checking each time the light changes.

Set camera to shutter speed priority: Set you shutter speed to 1250 – I find for a beginner this will cut 95% of camera shake and horse movement no matter how fast the horse is going.

Shutter speed is the only setting that can guarantee a sharp image. You can not do anything about a blurred image because your shutter was too slow.

While using shutter priority TV = Canon S= Nikon your camera will choose the best aperture for you.

Now set your focus to a “single point focus” and place this in the middle square for now, check your lens is set to “Auto Focus” AF and your Camera focus is set to auto tracking / alservo

Now pick a sunny day, make sure the sun is behind you lighting up your subject and start taking photos. If the day is really sunny then why not use the sun and increase your shutter to 1600 or 2000 to guarantee freezing any horse and camera shake, especially if the horse is cantering or galloping.

Using shutter priority with auto ISO means the camera automatically chooses the aperture so all you have to worry about is shutter speed and composition.

Support the lens and not the camera!Your all set to get outside.

Having just written this I thought I best go out on Dartmoor find some ponies and show you some images!

Camera set to ISO = Auto: Shutter Priority 1250: Single point of focus in the middle with al servo tracking focus. I put the sun behind me and even increased my shutter to 1600 at times.

When you start questioning these setting you will be well on your way to Manual Mode!

This post is to help the beginner get out capturing great images of horses and not have to consider much about which settings and why.

My future post will start to go into more detail on camera settings and maintaining conformation of the horse.

Don’t forget please email me if you would like me to cover a specific topic in horse photography or you need any of the above explained in more detail.