A lifelong equestrian, Meghan Benge has competed in everything from hunters to international level combined driving and para-dressage. You might know Meghan as one of our sponsored riders here at RW, but what you might not know is that she is also a professional photographer! A graduate of the Savannah College of Art, she runs her own business, Megan Benge Photography and Graphic Design. In this blog, she offers up ten tips to help any horse owner take some treasured shots of their steed!
Tip #1: Learn Your Equipment
Whether you are shooting on your smartphone or your digital camera, learn how to control the focus and exposure. Most smartphones have these controls now. Mine brings them up by tapping on the screen, but yours may be different depending on what make or model of phone you have. For a digital camera, you can consult your owner’s manual to find the setting or focus mode for moving objects.
Tip #2: Work Your Angles
We have a natural tendency to photograph things at a 90-degree angle to the subject. A lot of times, a three-quarter view creates depth and lends to a more dynamic photo.
Meghan's Pony, Zoey, shot in three-quarter view.
Tip #3: Bend Your Knees
A straight line from your horse’s shoulder to your lens is generally a good angle to aim for. Want to make your horse seem giant? Get really low!
Can you believe that Bert is only 11.3 hh?!
Tip #4: Zoom In
Have you ever wondered why your horse’s head looks giant in photos? Try zooming in a little to get your phone or lens out of a “wide angle” range. Wide angle makes things closer to the lens look larger. Stepping back and zooming in will fix this.
Tip #5: Try Portrait Mode
In addition to zooming in, portrait mode on your phone can work for pretty pony pictures, although it sometimes struggles with whiskers and mane hairs.
Another one of Meghan's ponies, Trip, shot in portrait mode and converted to black and white.
Tip #6: Put the Sun Behind You
This tip is pretty straightforward but easily forgotten. Be sure to face away from the sun.
… or don’t. Shooting into the sun can have some really wonderful results. You will want to have a handle on controlling the exposure (lightness or darkness of your photo) as you will typically have to underexpose (make it darker).
This image was shot on Meghan's Canon EOS 5D during the CPEDI in Wellington, Florida.
Tip #7: Use the All Ears App
Need help getting rid of that mare glare? The All Ears App makes noises intended to get your horse’s attention and, as the name implies, all ears up.
Tip #8: Edit Your Photos
Phones have increasingly effective built-in editors. It’s a great idea to crop and edit your photos. You can also use one of the exceptional photo editing apps available. My favorites are Snapseed and Lightroom Mobile.
Zoey taking a drive in the forest.
Tip #9: Take a Lot of Photos… and Forget the “Rules”
Practice makes perfect. Take lots of photos, experiment with settings, angles, and compositions. Ultimately, photography is completely subjective, and you should make photos you enjoy. You can always delete the bad ones later!
A moth landed on the pony's back while he had his sheet on. This is the result!
Don’t forget to print. Most phones these days take photos with more than adequate quality to make prints from. There are several apps and print services designed specifically for making prints and other items from your phone photos. My favorites are Parabo Press and Social Print Studio.
Visit Meghan's website and follow her on Facebook for more beautiful photos!