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What makes a good conformation photo?

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  • Great site. One thought - if the photos are going online, keep in mind the fact that monitors and computers are all different and some are fairly lousy and some people are fairly awful at fiddling with either their equipment or the photos (I live in awe of those who can enhance contrast on photoshop) to make up for that problem. If you want to show great photos to the widest variety of people online, think about:

    a) how they'll look on an older/cheaper machine (or one used by a tech-wary soul)
    b) how long they'll take to load
    c) consider a variety of contrasts - some a little darker, some a little lighter - so there's a better chance for at least one photo to come out clear.

    Comment


    • Stacey, we combined your thread with the previous one providing tips for good conformation shots.

      Also, I just changed the title a bit to better reflect the content of the thread for future reference. This will be a good one to move to the "reference" section at some point.

      Thanks for sharing!
      Last edited by Moderator 1; Feb. 29, 2008, 11:15 AM. Reason: more info

      Comment


      • if you check out www.kiki-beelitz.de you will find a lot.
        It is in german, but pictures talk - right ?!
        Kiki is one of theee photographers in horsebusiness apart from bernd eylers (a bit more from the artist side) and the grand old man Werner Ernst. She is doing a lot of the pics in magazines, does stallion catalogues, and is at each and every licensing or stallion presentation lots of shows in Northern Germany or international events.
        Go to Hengste than Galerien and than e.g. Wunschträumer or Licotus. You will see lots of great conformation shots apart form other great pictures of breeding stallions (i just discovered some new Stalypso pics there...)
        And do browse through her whole homepage - go to reportagen - great shots !
        I am not responsible for spelling misstacks - just my PC
        www.hannoveranerzuechter.de
        2017: Lissaro - SPS Don Frederico - Prince Thatch and Finnigan - Sandro Hit - Rouletto

        Comment


        • Thanks!

          I'm going to add this thread to the resource list too. What a great thread!
          http://behindthebitblog.com
          Dressage, riding, sport horse blog
          BTBbrowbands.com
          Unique browbands for dressage and hunter riders

          Comment


          • I might get hosed throwing this picture out to you, since it is a candid snapshot that I unexpectedly got of my 3 month old filly last year. I was out in the field with her when she froze and struck a pose looking at something. The angle is a tad to her rear and not straight on the side. I had the camera in hand and didn't want to try to move and position better before she lost it. I've just always thought the the pose was striking, not a true confirmation set up but appealing in other ways. She was only 3 months old and stood like a soldier. Is it okay to use, or, not good enough?

            http://s272.photobucket.com/albums/j...100_196777.jpg

            And, yes this is a delightful and very instructional thread. Thank you to the pros for sharing such detail. I've taken notes and am learning.
            Don't let anyone tell you that your ideas or dreams are foolish. There is a millionaire walking around who invented the pool noodle.

            Comment


            • BUMPED!!!!

              Because of the new cameras that are out this spring! I want to ask the experts - which SLR is best for horse shots... mostly outdoor conformation/hack/jumping. I am having a hard time choosing between the new Nikon D60 or the new Canon Rebel XSi.

              If I'm going to try and get the results you guys are pushing for, which one of these two cameras do you think would be best? (And I do plan on taking a photography class to help me, I just need the camera now!)

              Edited to add: I am planning on also purchasing the suitable lenses mentioned previously on this thread, such as a 75-300mm lens.
              Last edited by Halfhalting; Mar. 16, 2008, 04:05 PM.

              Comment


              • I have no experience with the Nikon cameras so cannot give you any info on them. I am currently using a Canon Mark IIn but feel all the Canon cameras I have had moving up over the years have been good ones. I would suggest determining which has a faster read write speed as that will reflect how fast you can take photos when you try to catch movement. I know the rebel is supose to be very user friendly but have never used one. Good luck with your camera purchase.

                Pam

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Halfhalting View Post
                  BUMPED!!!!

                  Because of the new cameras that are out this spring! I want to ask the experts - which SLR is best for horse shots... mostly outdoor conformation/hack/jumping. I am having a hard time choosing between the new Nikon D60 or the new Canon Rebel XSi.

                  If I'm going to try and get the results you guys are pushing for, which one of these two cameras do you think would be best? (And I do plan on taking a photography class to help me, I just need the camera now!)

                  Edited to add: I am planning on also purchasing the suitable lenses mentioned previously on this thread, such as a 75-300mm lens.
                  I happen to be a Canon fan. Their consumer/pro-sumer SLRs are excellent for horse photography. You can't go wrong with either brand. If you know a pro, they use a nikon or a canon. They both have advantages and disadvantages and one is not better than the other, generally speaking. Also, you should not need a 75-300 lens. A 70-200 is more than sufficient - and since you're looking at the lower-end models I'm going to assume you're on a budget? It would be a lot better to get a faster 70-200 (say f4). I.e. spend your money on more light/higher quality glass, not more range, especially for horse photos. That's JMO though.

                  Go handle both of those cameras in person if possible. Like I said, you can't go wrong with either one and they both have excellent reputations among professionals. It's kind of like arguing the warmblood vs TB thing on this board! Figure out what you like the feel of and handling in person. Some people can get a better grip on a Canon, and others on Nikon. Oh yeah - but don't buy the camera in person - you can find a lot better deals online in my experience (B&H Photo is the best-known & most reputable online dealer for camera equipment, and of course eBay's always an option too).

                  Comment


                  • Here is a photo a friend of mine took of our guy yesterday that I think is just fabulous for a complete amateur shot. Any critiques on angle, stance, lighting, etc.....?

                    http://i273.photobucket.com/albums/j...s/102_2054.jpg
                    http://www.majesticacresfl.com/

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Halfhalting View Post
                      BUMPED!!!!

                      Because of the new cameras that are out this spring! I want to ask the experts - which SLR is best for horse shots... mostly outdoor conformation/hack/jumping. I am having a hard time choosing between the new Nikon D60 or the new Canon Rebel XSi.

                      If I'm going to try and get the results you guys are pushing for, which one of these two cameras do you think would be best? (And I do plan on taking a photography class to help me, I just need the camera now!)

                      Edited to add: I am planning on also purchasing the suitable lenses mentioned previously on this thread, such as a 75-300mm lens.
                      Either camera should be fine. I'm a Canon shooter, so got my daughter a Rebel XTi. Check them out here: www.dpreview.com which is the best review site for SLR's and lenses. Not all lenses are created equal, and you definitely want the VERY best you can afford. Most pros primary horse lens is an f2.8 70-200. Get as close to that as you can. I bought my daughter a used Sigma 28-200 4.5 (she wanted all around) for a good bit less than a new one at www.bhphotovideo.com (also try keh.com for used). Better quality for the buck.

                      For those wishing to improve their equine photography skills, I highly recommend the 30 day free trial at Equine Photographers Network. This gets you into much of the archives and an absolutely wealth of info on photographing everything horse from basics to point in stride, plus some assignments might be going on at the time. They are having a Winter Solstice Shoot on the 20th and 21st. Check the details at equinephotographers.org. I don't think you have to be a member for that, but I could be wrong....

                      And by all means take a class or classes. There are some excellent places on the web (and some not so good of course). I like BetterPhoto.com and Bryan Peterson at The Perfect Picture School of Photography www.ppsop.net.
                      Barb Young
                      www.RainbowFarm.com
                      www.BarbYoungPhotography.com
                      equine photography in western CO USA

                      Comment


                      • Elio04, what a gorgeous shot!! I would be happy to have one near as nice and love the purple tree in the background. I am not a photographer in the least but my only possibly critique I could even make is it appears you are looking down ever so slightly on the horse, maybe have the person taking the pic get just get a little bit lower?? It is still a stunning shot just as it is!
                        Cindy's Warmbloods
                        www.cindyswarmbloods.com Cindy's Warmbloods
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                        Comment


                        • I agree with Cindy, photographer needs to stoop or kneel to avoid giving the appearance of shorter legs than they are.

                          Really a lovely shot
                          www.oakhollowstable.blogspot.com

                          Comment


                          • All of these to me are good conformation shots.
                            Attached Files
                            Randee Beckman ~Otteridge Farm, LLC (http://on.fb.me/1iJEqvR)~ Marketing Manager - The Clothes Horse & Jennifer Oliver Equine Insurance Specialist

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by VirginiaBred View Post
                              All of these to me are good conformation shots.
                              They are much better than what most people get. There are several minor fixes that would improve them however.

                              Photo #1 - photographer needs to kneel and be a LOT closer to the pony. The shot would benefit from the photographer stepping forward several feet. Also, the judge & a tree trunk are sprouting out of the pony's rear end.

                              Photo #2 - Camera tilted so the pony appears downhill. Horizon line should be level (or perhaps slightly uphill if that is flattering under the circumstances, but the most honest AND flattering is one that is dead level). People in the background are distracting but obviously the photo was taken at a show, so it's pretty hard to get away from that.

                              Photo #3 - handler is standing in front of horse's nose & the horse's tail is blocking the view of the right rear leg/hock. Same problem of distracting people in the background as the other two.

                              Photo #4 - best of the group, but horizon line is still not level and makes the horse appear downhill. This can be corrected easily in Photoshop. Blue pole/piece of fence is distracting. Had the horse been backed up about 5 feet with a similar background it would have been perfect. Horse is standing under himself slightly in front but everything else looks good. Background is blurred out enough (bokeh) to not be distracting, and there is nothing sprouting out of his back or neck or rearend. The horse has a pleasant expression and it appears to be a very 'honest' kind of photo.

                              Originally posted by Rainbow Farm Unltd. View Post
                              Either camera should be fine. I'm a Canon shooter, so got my daughter a Rebel XTi. Check them out here: www.dpreview.com which is the best review site for SLR's and lenses. Not all lenses are created equal, and you definitely want the VERY best you can afford. Most pros primary horse lens is an f2.8 70-200. Get as close to that as you can. I bought my daughter a used Sigma 28-200 4.5 (she wanted all around) for a good bit less than a new one at www.bhphotovideo.com (also try keh.com for used). Better quality for the buck.

                              For those wishing to improve their equine photography skills, I highly recommend the 30 day free trial at Equine Photographers Network. This gets you into much of the archives and an absolutely wealth of info on photographing everything horse from basics to point in stride, plus some assignments might be going on at the time. They are having a Winter Solstice Shoot on the 20th and 21st. Check the details at equinephotographers.org. I don't think you have to be a member for that, but I could be wrong....

                              And by all means take a class or classes. There are some excellent places on the web (and some not so good of course). I like BetterPhoto.com and Bryan Peterson at The Perfect Picture School of Photography www.ppsop.net.
                              Excellent advice!

                              Originally posted by Elio04 View Post
                              Here is a photo a friend of mine took of our guy yesterday that I think is just fabulous for a complete amateur shot. Any critiques on angle, stance, lighting, etc.....?

                              http://i273.photobucket.com/albums/j...s/102_2054.jpg
                              Very nice. The purple flowers in the background are beautiful But there are some things you could do to improve the photo. The photographer could kneel a bit. The photoshopping out of the hand/lead could be done slightly better - it didn't jump out at me right away but I did see it. It's better in most cases to keep a leadrope/reins in the photo rather than try to convince the viewer that the horse stood there perfectly by himself And if someone can tell that retouching has been done, it makes them question the entire rest of the photo, even if all you did, was in fact, take out a lead. I can see that his ears aren't tight - the photo would be really great if he had both ears pricked. Ideally I'd make sure his mane was braided as well but that's not a big deal. Finally, his socks are somewhat overexposed. The EXIF data wasn't available for the shot, but if the shot was taken later in the day, closer to sunset (or sunrise, for that matter), and perhaps if the photographer adjusted their exposure compensation that would improve by quite a bit. These are all small fixes that will make a good photo into a great one.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Quazzle View Post
                                What really bothers me with the 'american' pictures, is that most hunters are showed with their nose down. To illustrate:

                                http://www.anglo-arabians.com/Images...ul06bSmall.jpg (it just looks so artificial...) Where does it come from?

                                versus

                                http://www.sambertino.com/shu/photos/1152111684.jpg
                                It is to show off an elegant long neck and topline, something that can't be done with the head in the air. The back will hollow out, the neck shorten up, it will appear thicker, all things we don't desire in the hunter industry.
                                Laurie

                                Comment


                                • I got my husband the Canon Digital Rebel for christmas and purchased the 70-200mm f/2.8 IS USM lens for his birthday (the lens was twice the cost of the camera!) so I think the lens is extremely important to consider and reading the reviews.

                                  For horses/action, you should purchase a lens with an aperture number of f/2.8 or smaller. Or at least that is how I was advised.

                                  We are really happy with the combo and while he is not a pro photographer, he is getting some AMAZING shots with it (and this is just out of luck, he is just clicking away without a clue, really).

                                  Edited to add, it does good still shots too (an example http://s264.photobucket.com/albums/i...t=IMG_3120.jpg)
                                  Celtic Pride Farm
                                  www.celticpridefarm.com
                                  Become a fan on Facebook!

                                  Comment


                                  • We need good photos

                                    I think this is a great thread as we see so many photos that do not do justice to the horse. If the photo does not say "I want that horse" then it takes away from the value of the horse.

                                    We usa a Cannon digital Rebel. It has a burst that will give you ten pics in a second. Horses always seem to move an ear just when you go to shoot and we found the older digitals too slow.

                                    We spend a lot of time in fitting, posing and getting the light right. Early in the day seems to be the best with the sun still low avouds the harsh shadows of later in the day.

                                    Back ground is a big deal and can not improve a horse but can take a lot away from the image.

                                    One of our favorite photos is at http://www.newperthfarms.ca/wiseman.html

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