Equine head shot project

1 year 5 months ago #618806 by Troponin
I have been snapping photos at a local ranch for a few months now. The owner approached me and asked if I could get some head shots of her “lesson horses”; retired horses she uses for giving beginner’s lessons on. The photos are going to be put up in the lounge so that new clients can see photos and read about the horses before they meet them. 

I just wanted to share the set. My skills have improved so much and I feel very blessed having been given this opportunity, but still feel I have a loooong way to go. As it turns out, the owner also won the national amateur riding championships this year and has asked me to take photos of her new show horse that will get published in several riding magazines this next season. I am up for the challenge, but I feel my abilities are still far from where they need to be. Any feedback would be appreciated. 





Make: SONY
Model: ILCE-7RM3
Lens: FE 85mm F1.4 GM
ISO: 100
Aperture: f/1.4
Shutter speed: 1/3200 sec
Captured: Tue, 27 Nov 2018 9:47am
Make: SONY
Model: ILCE-7RM3
Lens: FE 85mm F1.4 GM
ISO: 100
Aperture: f/1.4
Shutter speed: 1/5000 sec
Captured: Tue, 27 Nov 2018 9:55am


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1 year 5 months ago #618812 by Troponin


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1 year 5 months ago #618820 by GaryA

Troponin wrote:


My fave, the others, while are quite nice, aren't as 'natural', (for lack of a better word), as the posts and lanyard/reins are distractions. Overall a nice job.  The owner should be quite happy.

There are photographs everywhere. It is the call of photographers to see and capture those images.
www: garyayala.com

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1 year 5 months ago #618823 by Troponin

GaryA wrote:

Troponin wrote:


My fave, the others, while are quite nice, aren't as 'natural', (for lack of a better word), as the posts and lanyard/reins are distractions. Overall a nice job.  The owner should be quite happy.


Thank you! One of the challenges I faced is that these lesson horses tend to be lazy and unaffected by anything around them. It’s very difficult to either get their attention. They are generally just tired from the two lessons of the day and just want to eat/graze.  I tried for weeks to get natural shots, but in the end, a couple were just too stubborn and needed a handler. 

I am going to continue shooting them though. I have permission for full access to the farm at any time (outside of deer season), so I am hoping to eventually get one without. 


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1 year 5 months ago #618825 by Troponin
This girl was easy, but it wasn’t a lesson horse. This is her husband’s horse, and she definitely pays attention to everything...I Have lots of this horse because she is always on guard. 


Make: SONY
Model: ILCE-7RM3
Lens: FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS
ISO: 125
Aperture: f/2.8
Shutter speed: 1/160 sec
Captured: Mon, 24 Sep 2018 10:04am


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1 year 5 months ago #618852 by GaryA

Troponin wrote:

GaryA wrote:

Troponin wrote:


My fave, the others, while are quite nice, aren't as 'natural', (for lack of a better word), as the posts and lanyard/reins are distractions. Overall a nice job.  The owner should be quite happy.


Thank you! One of the challenges I faced is that these lesson horses tend to be lazy and unaffected by anything around them. It’s very difficult to either get their attention. They are generally just tired from the two lessons of the day and just want to eat/graze.  I tried for weeks to get natural shots, but in the end, a couple were just too stubborn and needed a handler. 

I am going to continue shooting them though. I have permission for full access to the farm at any time (outside of deer season), so I am hoping to eventually get one without. 


Food!  A yummy snack like an apple slice or a carrot will get their attention and perk them up a bit.

There are photographs everywhere. It is the call of photographers to see and capture those images.
www: garyayala.com

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1 year 5 months ago #618853 by garyrhook
The image in your second post is, IMO, outstanding.

The first set are very good as well, although I'm not as wild about #5. I think you could tighten up your aperture for this purpose.

The reins don't matter to your viewer. What matters is a connection between the viewer and the horse. You want the viewer to see the portrait and connect. And I think you've managed that pretty well in the first set.

As for cooperation, try two year olds. It's your job to move around and be patient.

Your lighting and exposure here are quite nice; I'd only suggest a deeper DoF. And a long lens if you have one, but that's a nit.

Nicely done.


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1 year 5 months ago #618919 by Troponin
Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I am realizing that shallow DoF is not good at every angle. That being said, I like the fast lenses because a lot of my shots are done in places where there are a lot of distractions. In photo # 5, you could see the arena there and it has a lot of clutter in it most times. If you look closely, you can see an orange cone. 

I had a 200mm 2.8 before this lens and I really didn’t care for it as much as this 85mm. Sometimes I am taking shots inside of the barn too, and 1.4 vs 2.8 makes a big light difference, especially consisting shutter speeds on top of that. 


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1 year 5 months ago #618943 by Kira Minori
Nice 2nd shot! 


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1 year 5 months ago #619171 by Steve Rodriguez
Beautiful and grand! 


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1 year 5 months ago #619472 by Suni Park
Very good set! 


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1 year 5 months ago #619635 by Monica Martinez
Nice close up shots! Well done! 


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1 year 5 months ago #619681 by NewavaMike
Nice group of shots.  What an amazing animal.  


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1 year 5 months ago #619697 by albinpix
Don't short sell yourself - a lot of these pictures look great! I feel like either the "straight on" head shots or the style in the second post could work well for the upcoming assignment. If you can get a copy of the publication, it might be a good idea to flip through and get a feel for the style they're after.


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1 year 5 months ago #619957 by Rohan Tushar
Nice wildlife capture! 


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