At popular request, I am creating a pferdetrends "guide to outfit photographry". This will not include specific camera settings, etc.

First of all:
Beautiful can be taken from any camera with a lense. It doesn't have to be top of the line, or pro photographer technology. Even a smartphone with a clean lense and the right light can create a masterpiece.

We do reserve the right to remove pictures of subquality from the website. But that does NOT mean that these tips and tricks are what we use as a selection process. These are only point to keep in mind while taking photos of you and your horse.

For Starters:
Always photograph a clean & healthy horse, without manure stains or a thick sludge crust on its coat. Of course, exceptions can be made. If a 1/1,000,000 pasture snapshots is absolutely amazing, but your horse is wearing a stained blanket, for example, submit it for review, but you should at least still be able to recognize color / pattern of the blanket, for viewing purposes.

Take your time! The old saying "slow and steady wins the race" hold true to photgraphing your horse. Often when photographers rush or are constrained by time, mistakes will happen. this stress can also carry over to the horse and make it restless and uncooperative. Take your time, and find the right moments.

Ideally, you should use the shutter on your camera in the sun and/or slightly overcast sky . The ideal time of day is in late afternoon or early evening when the sun is between 25 and 40 degrees from the horizon. This allows for proper colour recognition, good lighting, and the softer shadows than when the sun is higher in the sky. The best photo light is in the opinion of many photographers around 1-4 hours after sunrise or before sunset.

Keep in mind that summer brings many insects in the afternoon and evening hours , which might annoy your horse. Therefore in summer months we recommend morning photos. A happy horse makes for a much nicer photo. Photographing on cloudy / rainy days is of course possible, but will normally lack a certain " happiness " and the splendor of the sun. The horse is normally not as lively in the rain either making for a much plainer photo.

Should you have lighting problems with a color that seems to become too bright in sunlight, then try a photo in a shaded area of the same motif, and review. sometimes regular shaded daylight or twilight is all you need.

Images taken indoors can be very beautiful however the lighting must be PERFECT! more often than not, the light indoors is insufficient for a quality shot, so we recommend to wait for the nice weather and take the photos outside.

Selects a quiet background with very little distractions for the horse. Make sure that no visually displeasing obstacles are within view of the shot. Cosntruction, sties, manure piles, etc. No matter where you are, there is always a beautiful backdrop to be found. an open field, a nice tree line, a clean stall, or even a clean brick or stone wall can present a gorgeous scene. The only unsuitable background for any type of photo is the sky, in our opinion. You will never get the same resolution in a photo against the sky as you would in video. Our exception here is tournament / Course Pictures, because your background choice is limited if any.

Position of the Horse:

The correct positioning of the horse makes a big difference, and taking pictures before or after the horse has been worked. A sweaty horse doesn't look as awake and vital as a tired horse that has recently been worked. Also note; each horse has a "best side", much the same as humans. This is only discovered through the taking of many photos with trial and error. Next time your are on a ride bring the camera and test this out.

When photographing saddles, blankets, wraps,ect. We find it best to take the picture in landscape mode. This allows for capturing of the horse if it moves or looks around, which would otherwise fall out of frame. Important: The Horses head should be visible and facing your direction! You may want to have a helper take the reins over the horses head and help hold position this way.

Of course, there are again exception when photographing only certain items, where these positioning and posture tips may not be important, but these are the general guidelines we try to keep in mind.

Here are some examples

Halter, bridle, Ear bonnet pictures etc. should ideally be taken in portrait mode, this allows to capture the entirety of the item, and not the whole side profile of the horse. Here the horses head should be in side view profile, with the horses head straight on, also depending on the type of item in frame. Here are both pictures in portrait or landscape mode, see which fits your tastes. However, it is not recommended to take pictures directly from the front, rather slight angle, so that one can recognize all viewable items. Again, note that the horse the position of the horse and that no hands, shadows etc. show in the image.

To keep your horses attention you should always have a helper (like also Figure 2), to assist with of Feed buckets, plastic bags, mobile phones ringtones, etc. this is a trick you can use to catch the lost attention of your horse.

Make sure that you are keeping the entire motif of the photo in frame, and maybe even a bit more. Apicture with a large background can be more effective, sometimes, than a picture that seems squeezed in to the fame.

Moving or motion shots can give the photographer a serious disadvantage. When one aspect of the picture is out of proportion, all 4 legs/ hooves, positioning ect., it makes for a frustrating shoot. But with this comes the trial and error. This is where you will really discover the best ways to photograph your horse.


Photographer Positioning:

A very important lesson is to always shoot with the sun at your back! This the assured way the horse will uniformly exposed and you can see its true colours. Backlit images are beautiful, but not suitable to present an outfit.

If your camera has a zoom function, it needs only to be used slightly. Certainly, one needs no 400mm zoom (usually 200mm focal length is perfect and sufficient for SLR cameras), however, a slight zoom can create a PERFECT image. If you are too close to it and zooms out, it causes unsightly distortions and you will often see your own shadow cast from the sun behind you.

In order to obtain correct proportions in the picture, you should always shoot from a level roughly even to the breast of the horse and no higher. Otherwise, the image appears out of proportion. The sharpness of the image should always be seen in the eye of the horse. In addition, you should make sure that your images are sharp in the overall impression.


During the subsequent cropping, please note that you should NEVER change the aspect ratio. The usual aspect ratio is 2: 3. people are always more attracted to a full portrait or landscape photo as opposed to a banner style photo. Pay attention to the contrast, brightness, etc. processed so that the colours appear real. A completely discoloured horse or a horse too bright is just unattractive. Also pay careful attention when sharpening images, it easily produces a grain that is perceived as unpleasant noise.

We politely ask:

When photographs are submitted that include a rider who may not want to have their face shown on the website, please DO NOT use white dots, eraser tools, or blur tools to distort the photo. crop the photo to your desired size and submit in a clean format.

For example:

Own Copyrights are allowed, BUT only subtly. I sort out basically all the pictures that have a huge Copyright and thus detract from the subject. Nor are copyrights allowed in link form, thus making direct advertising for a page. There are some exceptions, due to special conditions.

And finally, even the most important indication for beautiful photos:




And a final tip? Only practice makes perfect and a beautiful picture is still in the eye of the beholder. Therefore, everyone must decide for themselves what is beautiful and what is not.

Your Beate and Aileen

Text and images copyright © 2015 by Beate Hübner and Aileen Geerdts. The unauthorized copying and / or reproduction - even in part - without prior authorization shall constitute an offense under the copyright laws and will be prosecuted under criminal and civil law.