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  1. #21
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    What I try to think about when doing confo shots - Reg has already mentioned most of these.

    - Horse clean and well-groomed and in a well-fitting leather halter or snaffle bridle.
    - No polos, boots, or wraps on the horse.
    - Horse on level ground that clearly shows his hooves (i.e., not in deep sand or grass unless very short).
    - Horse CLEARLY defined against an uncluttered background. Don’t pose a light colored horse against a light background – including a bright sky. Don’t pose a dark colored horse against a dark background – including trees unless they are in the far distance. Don’t pose a red horse against a red wall. Don’t pose the horse in front of a wall that is visibly dirty or dusty. Don’t pose the horse with other horses, people, dogs, houses, vehicles, kids’ toys, etc., etc., etc., in the background.
    - Horse in a good stance, balanced evenly over his legs and legs correctly positioned.
    - Don’t stretch the horse’s neck out too far. Conversely, don’t push his neck back and his head up into the sky.
    - Don’t cover his hocks with his tail (HATE THAT!)
    - If he has a thick throatlatch or is a bit short in the neck, turn his head slightly toward the camera to help camouflage these areas.
    - Be mindful of SHADOWS! Don’t shoot with the sun casting strong shadows of the horse or where the photographer’s shadow will be visible in the shot.
    - Make sure the handler is out of the shot. I’ve seen some otherwise well-composed shots ruined by the handler’s hand or foot too close to the horse to be easily cropped out.
    - Watch your angle – too far to the left or right can make the horse look longer or shorter.

    Rhonda, your boys' shots are lovely!



  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB View Post
    THAT made me literally LOL!
    Add to that . Hands inside the garbage bags which suddenly and quickly make all sorts of different shapes and forms, not to mention the sound element. This usually works on ears quite well. You may also have eyes the size of dishpans.



  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hocus Focus View Post
    In some cases, you may have to go to extreme measures. Bomb Proof on a daily basis is the best in horses. In photos, they are a nightmare. ha ha

    Each horse different strokes. Mirrors can work on some. Use the cheap kind, those skinny long ones are good. I have used Squeaky toys, people scratching nails on metal buildings, people walking around with garbage bags over their heads, and even hidden in long grass, and jumping up, you name it. Each horse has a different agenda. Others pose all day long and would leave the building if you so much as moved one step in the wrong way. If I am alone and going into a field to photograph, sometimes you can get all the beauty and expression by just taking one element with you. A bit of wind is also good at that time. a plastic bag tied to a whip, poked into a manure heap.... sure works well for that curiosity factor in horses, they come all ears, all expression to see.

    I would try some pretty extreme things to get your horse to animate. I expect the fire extingusher might have at least gotten one ear up. Firecrackers might have worked. Tough some can be. Creative solutions is the key. Whatever it takes!!!!!!!! and be quick and ready when you get it. It may be a three second pose that will be your favorite for a lifetime.

    Hotter blooded horses like saddlebreds and arabs are far easier on animation. In fact it is usually of the other extreme. So use mild spookers yet subtle may be the wiser approach with hot types. If nt, you may be rounding up your horse after he freaks and leaves the premises.
    Good tips, I will try some of those next time. This same stallion frustrated the heck out of us during a photo session after he won at a breed show. There he was, all decked out with about 6 or 7 sashes around his neck, posed in front of a beautiful white lattice work show sign, with flower pots, etc., and all he would do is yawn and ever so often lift a leg to shake off a fly - again with a lovely young mare standing only a few feet away. Aaargh!



  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by DownYonder View Post
    Good tips, I will try some of those next time. This same stallion frustrated the heck out of us during a photo session after he won at a breed show. There he was, all decked out with about 6 or 7 sashes around his neck, posed in front of a beautiful white lattice work show sign, with flower pots, etc., and all he would do is yawn and ever so often lift a leg to shake off a fly - again with a lovely young mare standing only a few feet away. Aaargh!
    Sometimes it is the oddest little things that work the best. The element of surprise. You remember those little laughing toys in bags we could buy at joke shops years ago. They were annoying but were funny. Also Whoopee cushions, people used to love them, even those stick horses that have whinnies, cheer leader pompoms, sparklers on sticks. Bust a few balloons with pins. Find out what works on him. Every Achilles has a heel. Discover his... and for god's sake don't over use it. Keep it for that perfect moment because it will not phase him next time around. With a horse of this type, I hope your photographer has a very good assistant around. He will have his job cut out. Set up your people, make sure your horse is perfect in postion, Get head angle where you want it, Get everything in order, everyone's eyes on you, and waiting patiently so they are going to be right and keep their attention, nice big smiles, lots of pearly whites for days. Then BLOW UP THE BARN!!! Or on a smaller scale you might want to look into how they made old fashioned photos and they had a bit of gunpowder that blew up. That might be your element of surprise. Set it up on a 45 degree angle to the front of your horse so his head will turn enough to see across his face but not so much that you shorten the look of his neck. Aerosol spray cans sometimes will make them perk and animate!!Lighters!!! Don't burn him!!!!! If you don't have access to the local toy shops, there are always ways to get around this, get your assistant with a long hose and a water bucket. Fill bucket half full. When you are "ready" don't toss towards but toss up in direction horse is looking. Water in the air can be creative, harmless and cheap as a visual aid to cause attention. Noone gets hurt, and it is almost free, unless of course you are on town water. Don't get mad!!!! Be extremely patient!!! This is war and you are going to win it!!!!!

    Great horse .. nightmare to photograph. LOL


    Plenty of awesome conformation photos out there. Sporthorses of quality and highly alert. It is not unlike sculpture posing a horse well for conformation.

    http://i229.photobucket.com/albums/e...iccione_03.jpg

    This photo available light, well lit indoor. Good stance, excellent expression. My guess if this horse were less beautifully presented his neck would not look this beautiful.

    http://i229.photobucket.com/albums/e...oyal_stand.jpg

    A lighter framed horse. Very alert, very "up in front", nicely balanced over legs, slight back angle shortens horse horizontally, gives a more square look. Picture has probably been rotated slightly to make legs perpendicular and front end slightly higher than hind end. "off the forehand" I believe is the term.



    What I am seeing here is a very correct well presented stance. Note where the photogapher is standing in relation to the horse's body. Both horses are highly animated and alert. Stunning is the result.
    Last edited by Hocus Focus; Jan. 9, 2008 at 02:20 PM.



  5. #25
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    Also keep in mind... knowing when to stop. First decide your location, your direction from which you will be shooting then set up your horse, dictated by natural light. Look at how the light is falling on the horse. Deep shadows on neck or in flank area are distracting and may cause a disproportionate look to the conformation of the horses. Overcast you can shoot any direction so if you live in one of those places that has one good backdrop only, then this type of light is your light. No need to worry about shadows.

    When you have exactly the stance, you have the horse well positioned over that stance and you have the neck and head at the right angle, add your animation by whatever means, then shoot quickly and get it over with as quickly as possible. Expression and cooperation do not expect all day. It turns into a marathon and your horse is bored and "hates you". Don't go there. Keep it fun, light, expressive and efficient. Highly organized and "Job. Well done!"

    Above tips by Down Yonder were wonderful and very to the point. Add to that a telephoto lens so you do not have distortion to work with and you are in business. Have fun. Show us your results!!!!
    Last edited by Hocus Focus; Jan. 9, 2008 at 02:06 PM.



  6. #26
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    The background elements are a bit distracting, but I was really please to stumble across this photo of Florencio.

    http://www.sjoert.com/gallery/albums...encio7%7E0.jpg



  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by risingstarfarm View Post
    Here are two confo shots of my boys that I really love.

    http://www.risingstarfarm.net/Deja%20B6.jpg

    and

    http://www.risingstarfarm.net/Stalli50.jpg

    The second stallion is very laid back and has challenged the photographer (Pam Norton)! However, I think she does a great job!

    they are superb to me!



  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hocus Focus View Post
    We have to accept differences in breed requirements. I think correct in hunter photo is a lower framed look. Elegant, relaxed, Croup, wither, poll similar height ... pretty much level. Most hunter breeders are looking for this. Styles are changing but this seems fairly consistent.

    Dressage look is more upright, higher neck set, squarer look to horse, tall, proud, arrogant. Discipline different, different look.

    Waht you said: it's the look. To me an anglo-arabian is not low-framed at all. Quarter horses are; I couldn't imagine one being very high-framed...

    It's just not their natural position. And most of the time pics of hunters seem to have been 'zoomed-in' so that the horse gives the impression he gets his neck down to fit in the picture's frame.

    Like this horse:
    http://www.horse-gate.com/hengstregister/pfe/309.jpg
    versus
    http://www.evonlyequestrian.com/sale...nformation.jpg

    I always thought you needed a uphill conformation...



  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quazzle View Post
    they are superb to me!
    Thank you - and to Blue Yonder too :-)

    Hiring a professional photographer is an important part of marketing. Iwant to present my horses in the most appealing and professional manner possible.
    Ronda
    www.risingstarfarm.net
    Standing Abrikos, Cartier R, Cielo B, Ciroc, Deja Blue, Diabolo d'Esquelmes, Esteban, Figaro B, Jus d'O, Kinnaras, Valentino Z

    Become a fan on FB - Rising Star Farm



  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quazzle View Post
    Waht you said: it's the look. To me an anglo-arabian is not low-framed at all. Quarter horses are; I couldn't imagine one being very high-framed...

    It's just not their natural position. And most of the time pics of hunters seem to have been 'zoomed-in' so that the horse gives the impression he gets his neck down to fit in the picture's frame.
    Arabs are porcelain sculptural, refined, lots of snort and fire. Arab Stance is front feet even, off hind with hock to ground vertical, near hind slighly behind, can be with pointed toe but I think old fashioned but still used somewhat. Necks up and hooky. Add tons of neck and snort and shoot from any angle pretty much within the stance. Back should be up and level.

    Quarter horses square, three quarter front angle, poll same height as wither, lots and lots of telephoto to compress the look of a muscle pose, shot from very low so hind quarter is same height as wither and feet are level to ground and equal distance between. Straight, no turned in or out, three equal distances of space between all four legs. They too use a side on conformation angle which is not unlike the hunter pose. Color breeds of stock horse type shot same as quarter horses, color breeds of sport horse type shot same as warmbloods.

    Hunters are elegant, pretty, very poised with kind expression in a tight open stance with a generally lower neck set than the dressage horses. They like them a bit on the fat side, well fed, I believe is the term, and they can't be too cute. Of course they also need to jump with their knees above their ears and do it every single time in a rhythm and pace that flows from the moment they pick up the canter to the moment they nonchlantly strut out of the ring.


    I find some people have more of a nack for certain shots than others. Pam Norton perhaps comes to mind for me as I think she captures a very nice quality in the conformation photo. She has taken quite a few and by the look of consistency, I would guess it may be one of her favorites to do.
    Have a look through some of these shots and look at all the details we have discussed here and see how they translate into finished product. Learn from her. She is very good.


    In particular these shots sing for their ease of composure and level of consistency, that is not as easy as you think.


    http://www.pamnorton.com/photography...adscha_jpg.htm

    http://www.pamnorton.com/photography...avigny_jpg.htm

    http://www.pamnorton.com/photography...rwellb_jpg.htm

    http://www.pamnorton.com/photography...es/RSF_jpg.htm

    http://www.pamnorton.com/photography...feld-E_jpg.htm

    http://www.pamnorton.com/photography...anzeln_jpg.htm

    http://www.pamnorton.com/photography...erin-5_jpg.htm

    http://www.pamnorton.com/photography...es/Tim_jpg.htm

    http://www.pamnorton.com/photography...Tycoon_jpg.htm

    http://www.pamnorton.com/photography...ermatt_jpg.htm
    Last edited by Hocus Focus; Jan. 9, 2008 at 03:21 PM. Reason: http://www.pamnorton.com/photography/gallery%20frames/photo%20gallery%201/pages/Sonset's-Sieger_jpg.htm



  11. #31
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    What a GREAT thread, Reg!!!

    "Getting ears" is, IMO, the hardest part. Or maybe I should say ears and expression. We have a variety of tricks that we use. Dog squeaky toy, a branch with some leaves on it, small children -- which can run up to the horse, run away from the horse or roll on the ground near the front of the horse (at a safe distance of course!) -- this one gives a very, very curious expression and never fails to get ears! We have also used one of our small dogs or a cat -- held out for the horse to go "oh, what is that?!" A lighter, used carefully of course, can also get a cool "what's that" expression with ears up.

    Another one that works well is bringing up another horse. Sometimes you have to get very, very close with the other horse! But I think sometimes those are my very favorite shots!!!

    And finally..... haven't tried this one yet myself, but when my husband went out to Tulsa for the Central Nationals, he took Mardi to pose for the winner's photo. The pro photographer was extremely organized and had a great assistant. They would set the horse up exactly how it was supposed to be, handlers where they wanted to be, smile everyone, then would push a button on one of those little furry mechanical horses that walk around on their own (they make pigs and cows too) and it would whinny - which was INSTANT ears for every horse there. I'm sure you could overuse that one -- but for a one time shot, that worked VERY well!

    I am very much not a fan of using food/treats to get a horse to look. Usually all you gain by that is a horse that has its ears back, and neck/head stuck out too far while it wants to grab what you've got -- though someone besides the handler holding a grain bucket a distance away can be a great trick.

    Probably the most important thing to a successful photo shoot, IMO, is having enough people. My perfect setup is a knowledgable handler, a photographer that knows what shot we are after (I'm usually my own photographer) and knows where to position him/herself and a third person to get ears. Yes, it can be done with two people, but having that extra person really can make all the difference!!!
    Family Partners Welsh Ponies - Home of Section B Welsh stallion *Wedderlie Mardi Gras LOM/AOE http://www.welshponies.com
    Click here to buy: A Guide To In Hand Showing of Your Welsh Pony



  12. #32
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    Here is one of mine...at the time he was 27 months...prepping for DAD.

    http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=8bqkk84&s=1
    Chase's Mom; RIP Dezi 1/99-2/09



  13. #33
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    http://wolfdenfarm.org/sitebuilderco...g.w560h369.jpg

    courtesy Angela Pritchard. I wish his nose was poked a bit more to show off his glorious log neck, but candid shots like this-

    http://wolfdenfarm.org/sitebuilderco...g.w560h448.jpg

    were the norm for him and showed how hyper of a young TB he was!

    Oh, and he was really relaxed, and dropped for most of the class!!!
    I gotta do-over and am doin it my way!!!



  14. #34
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    Reg, unfortunately, I wasn’t the photographer in either case but was just there helping the stallion owner.

    And Rideagoldenpony - I have always said that it takes at least 3 people to get a good horse photo. Having struggled on my own to get good horse photos, I am very sympathetic to photographers at shows and inspections. God only knows how many times I have been the one flapping a show program or hat or something behind the photographer’s back to try to get the darned horse to put his ears up – and often for people or horses I don’t even know. I am always amazed at how many horse photographers don’t keep a “bag of tricks” on hand to help during photo sessions, but I guess between cameras, lenses, tripods, and gear bags, they have enough stuff to lug around. Still, you would think they would at least keep a small metal can with pebbles in it, or something like that, on hand. It is SO frustrating to see a photographer and proud owner struggling to get a good photo of their horse at a show or inspection.



  15. #35
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Hocus Focus View Post
    Arabs are porcelain sculptural, refined, lots of snort and fire. Translate that into any angle pretty much in a certain stance.

    Quarter horses square, three quarter front angle, poll same height as wither, lots and lots of telephoto to compress the look of a muscle pose. They too use a side on conformation angle which is not unlike the hunter pose.

    Hunters are elegant, pretty, very poised with kind expression in a tight open stance with a generally lower neck set than the dressage horses. They like them a bit on the fat side, well fed, I believe is the term, and they can't be too cute. Of course they also need to jump with their knees above their ears and do it every single time in a rhythm and pace that flows from the moment they pick up the canter to the moment they nonchlantly strut out of the ring.


    I find some people have more of a nack for certain shots than others. Pam Norton perhaps comes to mind for me as I think she captures a very nice quality in the conformation photo. She has taken quite a few and by the look of consistency, I would guess it may be one of her favorites to do.
    Have a look through some of these shots and look at all the details we have discussed here and see if you do not see it as well. Learn from her. She is very good.

    http://www.pamnorton.com/photography...ery%202006.htm


    In particular these shots from that group sing to me...


    http://www.pamnorton.com/photography...adscha_jpg.htm

    http://www.pamnorton.com/photography...avigny_jpg.htm

    http://www.pamnorton.com/photography...rwellb_jpg.htm

    http://www.pamnorton.com/photography...es/RSF_jpg.htm

    http://www.pamnorton.com/photography...feld-E_jpg.htm
    Those pictures are marvellous!



  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silly Mommy View Post
    http://wolfdenfarm.org/sitebuilderco...g.w560h369.jpg

    courtesy Angela Pritchard. I wish his nose was poked a bit more to show off his glorious log neck, but candid shots like this-

    http://wolfdenfarm.org/sitebuilderco...g.w560h448.jpg

    were the norm for him and showed how hyper of a young TB he was!

    Oh, and he was really relaxed, and dropped for most of the class!!!
    Silly Mumsy...not sure but think your files here are a tad large, not opening easily. Or is it me??? Be careful how you answer that.



  17. #37
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    Just had to say that I really enjoy this thread and all the helpful tips. Even though I am not breeding, the information transfers beautifully (and obviously) to sales/informational pictures.

    http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a1...formation2.jpg

    This is one of the better conformation (amateur) shots we have gotten. If I were to attempt repeating this picture, I would a.) show the pony in a bridle b.) have both her mane and tail braided. The tail, in order to... ah, well, hide the lack of tail and the mane because it would be silly to have the tail braided without the mane!
    If I needed a photo for a sales ad though, I would probably use this one if nothing better was easily obtainable prior to advertising time. :P

    http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a1...ionJun1407.jpg

    This is one that I would like to see just a bit changed, although again, I'd certainly use it in a pinch as it shows the horse off better than many unfortunate sales pictures I see. I would rather see the horse's neck more arched, because I know he is capable of it and, lacking a naturally wonderful topline, it would help create that illusion, I think. Also - that other horse wasn't supposed to have wandered in, and I wish the hands/arms weren't visible. I would also rather show a picture of this horse unbraided, because it makes his pitiful neck (okay, the QH breeders called it a "pencil neck") look a bit more, ah... Like it is an actual neck? :P Also, the sweat marks... Oops.


    Love to hear more thoughts and ideas. We take annual conformation shots of everyone, to have on file for just in case. And for comparison, so... Come May we'll probably try again, and maybe I'll take the time to braid & bridle!



  18. #38
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    HuntrJumpr, one more suggestion I'd make for your pictures is be careful where the sun is, especially when photo'ing the darker horses. In your first pictures, it's too high, creating shadows on the underline. In the second picture, the sun is not only too high, but on the wrong side of the horse

    If sunlight can't be avoided, early morning or early evening light is often the best. Combine that with low humidity and it's even better.

    This isn't a confo pic, but it shows how earlier light and low humidity can make for a very sharp picture (as well as having the zoom lense that Hocus was talking about):
    http://equestriangardener.homestead....jbsideturn.jpg
    ______________________________
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  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by HuntrJumpr View Post
    Just had to say that I really enjoy this thread and all the helpful tips. Even though I am not breeding, the information transfers beautifully (and obviously) to sales/informational pictures.

    http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a1...formation2.jpg

    This is one of the better conformation (amateur) shots we have gotten. If I were to attempt repeating this picture, I would a.) show the pony in a bridle b.) have both her mane and tail braided. The tail, in order to... ah, well, hide the lack of tail and the mane because it would be silly to have the tail braided without the mane!
    If I needed a photo for a sales ad though, I would probably use this one if nothing better was easily obtainable prior to advertising time. :P

    http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a1...ionJun1407.jpg

    This is one that I would like to see just a bit changed, although again, I'd certainly use it in a pinch as it shows the horse off better than many unfortunate sales pictures I see. I would rather see the horse's neck more arched, because I know he is capable of it and, lacking a naturally wonderful topline, it would help create that illusion, I think. Also - that other horse wasn't supposed to have wandered in, and I wish the hands/arms weren't visible. I would also rather show a picture of this horse unbraided, because it makes his pitiful neck (okay, the QH breeders called it a "pencil neck") look a bit more, ah... Like it is an actual neck? :P Also, the sweat marks... Oops.


    Love to hear more thoughts and ideas. We take annual conformation shots of everyone, to have on file for just in case. And for comparison, so... Come May we'll probably try again, and maybe I'll take the time to braid & bridle!
    OK... I will comment as I see it, and how I think it could be better, ok? Just suggestions. Please disagree if you feel I am off. This is all a learning process for all of us.

    Second photo I prefer to the first. Why? Horse looks good and that is partially your goal.

    First photo.... stance is long and out behind throwing off the balance, should be more square and standing well on legs, balance, no leaning forward or back, no legs turned or twisted. Horse has neck out too much and too low Hard to know what he looks like really in this shot. Light is ok, but to me this is too looking down on the subject which makes me see this as a photo shot with a short lens and by a tall person, use a telephoto, back off and get down low, results will be less upper body and more leggy appearance. Front stance tight, back stance loose. Balance it up. Same front and back. He needs to be popped up a bit, he is really sticking his neck down and out. Depending on his neck attachment, I prefer it be slightly up with a nice shape or arch. If low set, do not force neck so high it looks upside down. This would not help in sales.

    Second shot, first impression attractive, nice. Horse is attractive and that is already achieving part of the goal. Stance is not correct but the horse looks good and that matters enough. However, due to stance being off, it becomes immediately a candid. Remember, no compromise on conformation shots. They are and will always be as classical as time itself.

    Have a handler to keep horse in place and the horse respectful and paying attention, another to place feet and fix when needed. If horse gets annoyed, try to be efficient and organized without excessive irritation. Keep him happy. We want a smiling horse. No need to get kicked or pushed about, because he would rather be elsewhere. Get expression and neck well shaped. Head slight turn. Everything balanced, neat, horse well presented, either braided or trimmed and neatly pulled mane. What you want is a pleasant well let picture in balance in a very correct stance. Good luck. It needs work but there is definitely potential. This photo is not bad as a photo but does not truly measure up as a professional image of conformation for marketing purposes. First is it almost entirely a silouette. I can't see the horse and in conformation pic, I want to see the horse. If this were taken in a line class where the photographer has fifty horses to cover in a ten minute window and he has no direction regarding how anything is done or set up or cannot offer suggestions to the handler, I would call this an acceptable image in that scenario but as a conformation photo for marketing needs, it lacks. Sorry if that is harsh.


    Next question we might ask ourselves is what braiding style is best suited for discipline and what is your preferred style of the moment? Can you have too many hunter braids???? Dressage... is fewer better??? What do you like best... thread? wool? small flat braids? knobs? What is fashionable at this moment in time? Forelocks left unbraided or braided? What about tails? When is a mud tail appropriate? Braiding trick and techniques.... photos please.
    Last edited by Hocus Focus; Jan. 9, 2008 at 05:53 PM.



  20. #40
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    Reg -- I have a question for you. I recently got a Canon 20D -- but sadly got it in the fall, so none of my photo subjects have been un-fuzzy enough to share so far! It came with a kit lens that I think is 18-55, and then my husband bought me for Christmas the 70-300, which I haven't really had time to play with yet -- nor weather, nor subjects that looked decent enough to want to take their picture with the MUD we are currently experiencing here!!

    I noticed on the Pam Norton photos that they looked a bit different than some others I have seen. I wondered if they were taken from a greater distance and zoomed in with a bigger lens. Do you know if that is the case? Somehow the perspective in them looks different, but I can't put my finger on why -- probably because I know next to NOTHING about photography!!!
    Family Partners Welsh Ponies - Home of Section B Welsh stallion *Wedderlie Mardi Gras LOM/AOE http://www.welshponies.com
    Click here to buy: A Guide To In Hand Showing of Your Welsh Pony



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