Tips For Photographing Your Horse For Sale

One of the most important factors in advertising your horse for sale is to include good photographs, so when you advertise your horse for sale check out our tips for taking great photos to include with your advert.

  1. Whenever possible use a camera, not a smart phone, to take the photograph and set the image quality to the highest resolution to ensure the best quality photos.
  2. Take outdoor photos when the weather is good. Early morning or late afternoon are the best times of the day for taking outdoor photos on sunny days as taking photographs mid-day can cause harsh shadows to appear in the photos. Take photos with the sun behind you to get the best lighting and to avoid sun glare in the photos or the horse being shown in silhouette and barely visible.
  3. Groom the horse - there is no need to turn it out as if preparing for the show ring with hooves oiled and mane plaited, but the horse should look clean and tidy.
  4. Clean the tack and ensure it is properly fitted - this is particularly important if tack is included with the sale of the horse, but even if not included with the sale dirty or poorly fitting tack won't help to create a good first impression.
  5. Ensure the rider is smartly and appropriately dressed - there is no need to dress in full show gear but proper, clean riding wear should be worn as poo stained jodhpurs, wearing trainers, muddy boots, etc doesn't make a great photo.
  6. Keep photos relevant to the advert. If advertising a show jumper prospective buyers will want to see photographs of the horse jumping. Although a portrait photo of the horse to show its conformation or a photograph of the horse working on the flat can help to create an overall impression of the horse, it is the jumping photos that potential buyers will expect to see with an advert for a show jumper and are the photos that will generate the most interest from someone looking for a show jumper. Similarly if advertising a dresage horse take photos that show the horse doing flatwork/dressage, for an eventer include photos of flatwork, and jumping show jumps and cross country fences, etc.
  7. Check the background for your photos - remove unnecessary objects from the riding area to avoid cluttered backgrounds or the horse being obscured by objects when taking the photos.
  8. Take portrait/conformation shots first when the horse is fresh and alert without any sweat marks and take the photos from the side as photos taken from an angle or taken from the front can cause the horse to appear distorted and appear to have conformation faults that don't exist. Find a level, plain, uncluttered area to take the photograph with a background that compliments your horse - a dark background for pale coloured horses, and a light background for dark coloured horses will show off the horse best. Ensure the horse is stood so that all legs are visible. Take the photograph at a height level with the middle of the horse's shoulder so if photographing small ponies, kneel or sit down to take the photos as photos taken from above can also cause the pony to appear distorted with short legs. Wait until the horse has its ears forward to take the photo so the horse looks friendly and attentive. Photos of horses with their ears back never look good.
  9. Always take plenty of photos so you have several photos from which to choose the best. If you only take one photo you may discover afterwards that the horse blinked, stuck its tongue out, something happened in the background, etc at the moment you took the photo.
  10. Don't take photos from too far away that the horse is barely visible. Ideally the horse should take up at least 50% of the picture.
  11. Time your action shots. The best trot photos are taken at the moment when the horse's hind leg and front leg track up on one side and the other front leg is fully extended as this shows the horse moving nicely forward. The best canter photos are taken just before the moment of suspension when the horse has its front legs in the air or during the moment of suspension. Canter photos taken after the front feet have landed on the floor can make the horse look on the forehand. Jumping shots are best timed when the horse is fully in the air over the jump before it starts the descent. Practice and take plenty of photos to be sure of getting one with the timing right.
  12. Look at your photos critically when selecting which photos to choose to accompany your advert. Check that the horse looks happy and obedient in the photo with no signs of resistence, that the horse and rider appear in harmony, that there is nothing undesirable in the background, that the photo shows off the horse well. Look at the photos from a prospective buyer's viewpoint to see if you can find a fault with it because if they can find one then that might just stop them contacting you about your horse.

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