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What makes a good conformation photo?

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  • What makes a good conformation photo?

    A very important photo, appears so simple and yet not always easy to do....Why? What is good? What do you like to see? What do you not want to see? Each discipline has its differences. Where are the limitations on acceptability in each? Let's break it down to what do you consider the professional standard.

    If you are hunter world, what do you want to see? What is great? What is almost? What is just bad? I think we all know the answer to that one, but what is it that makes it very special, the best???? What is the secret to a great conformation pic?
    If you are a dressage breeder, what do you want to see? and all the rest of the questions above? If you are of other specific breeds? What do you expect of a good conformation photo?

    Marketing and the conformation photo are very important. How do you define differences in the type of photo needed for your discipline?

    Samples would be good. Be open to criticism for those who feel an interest to comment. Please be constructive. Comment on photo angle prefered, background preferred, lighting preferred and more.

    Rarely are horses perfect, rarely are photos perfect, but all things taken to the highest possible standard, what and where would you like to see it taken?

    Stallion photos? Mare photos? General Sale shots. Are there differences in what you want in each? Stallion expression? How important is that to you? How do you go about getting that out of a "more laid back" type stallion? Or better yet, the rogue who won't stand still? Or propeller ears as I call them... one forward then back.. other forward then back ... and so on...What insights do you have to share? Let's lay it all out here. We want all the latest and most effective tricks of the trade.

    Please explain your thoughts so all can understand clearly. Let's all benefit from this professional and amateur alike. Don't be intimidated. Don't be afraid to speak out. We all have the ability to learn more and we have all been at different levels of learning. Don't be shy if you have something you wish to say, or if you wish to have your photo critqued that may be another way of answering some of the above questions. Let's try to keep it constructive for all.
    Last edited by Hocus Focus; Jan. 9, 2008, 03:14 PM.
    http://regcorkumlive.blogspot.com/

  • #2
    http://www.sporthorse-data.com/d?sho...ime=1199479430

    this is my horse this summer (after being out of work due to an injury)

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      no boots on wraps or other "cover ups" on conformation photos. Reason... what are you hiding?
      Hooves in grass, or legs buried in snow...other similar NO NO's.

      While the picture as a conformation candid is of good quality as a photo and does show the horse well, It really is quite a nice photo. I think he would look better if you were postioned more to the middle or rear simply because front angles make shoulder look straight and necks short, and heads a bit big, etc, and the lighting would be better without the hot spot. That I find slightly disruptive.

      Not a horrible pic by any means but not the best either.... as a conformation photo.

      OK... your turn...

      What is good and bad? I will say this... should be braided.... should be clipped...background is casual to say the least... dark horse against dark background does not result well normally...... what else? what discipline would this photo be best used as? As a mare photo is it acceptable? What are the errors that you see?

      http://i229.photobucket.com/albums/e...s/f15693c5.jpg
      Last edited by Hocus Focus; Jan. 9, 2008, 12:05 PM.
      http://regcorkumlive.blogspot.com/

      Comment


      • #4
        A true ammy photo:

        http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o...g?t=1199897227

        Faults I notice right away are bell boots, the human, the slight downhill grade, too large halter around nose, and horse really reaching for that treat

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Hocus Focus View Post
          no boots on wraps or other "cover ups" on conformation photos. Reason... what are you hiding?
          Hooves in grass, or legs buried in snow...other similar NO NO's.

          While the picture as a conformation candid is of good quality as a photo and does show the horse well, It really is quite a nice photo. I think he would look better if you were postioned more to the middle or rear simply because front angles make shoulder look straight and necks short, and heads a bit big, etc, and the lighting would be better without the hot spot. That I find slightly disruptive.

          Not a horrible pic by any means but not the best either.... as a conformation photo.

          Oh sorry, I was just going to take him for a ride...

          Comment


          • #6
            Confo's are the hardest to get!! Horrible to get!
            This is the best I have of "Da Man" but he had hit boots and such on.
            http://www.spindletopfarm.net/Confo2.jpg
            www.spindletopfarm.net
            Home of Puerto D'Azur - 1998 NA 100 Day Test Champion
            "Charcter is much easier kept than recovered"

            Comment


            • #7
              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

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by Quazzle View Post
                Oh sorry, I was just going to take him for a ride...
                Don't feel sorry. Not meaning to be mean in my post. Hoping this is helpful. Want others to see and comment as well. I was just taking the first step. Not all I will say is without flaw as well. We are all in this together. Have fun. Don't take any offense please. Not meant as such. You have a really nice horse.
                http://regcorkumlive.blogspot.com/

                Comment


                • #9
                  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?
                  I actually think the nose is poked out....which illustrates the possible topline/look they will have while hacking around the hunter ring. At least thats what I always assumed.......

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by goodmorning View Post
                    A true ammy photo:

                    http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o...g?t=1199897227

                    Faults I notice right away are bell boots, the human, the slight downhill grade, too large halter around nose, and horse really reaching for that treat
                    Seen worse ammy photos....for sure.... What I like immediately is background choice, perfect, good level ground, nice...way the light is hitting the horse, nice.... stance not correct... handler should be less "in the shot"... neck too stretched... can't tell what kind of neck horse has...photographer too far to the right, needs to step to his left three paces...those are a few critiques.
                    http://regcorkumlive.blogspot.com/

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      "How do you go about getting that out of a "more laid back" type stallion?"

                      Boy, I would really like to know the answer to this! A few years ago, I helped a friend do photos of her newly imported stallion. This boy was (and still is) so laid back, we made ourselves crazy trying to pump him up for the photo session. We chased him with plastic bags tied to whips. We opened umbrellas under his nose. We rattled key chains. We cracked a lunge whip at him and snaked it on the ground in front of him. We paraded a mare back and forth outside his paddock fence. For the conformation photos, we stood a mare practically nose to nose with him. He was totally hum-hum about EVERYTHING and just looked at us with a quizzical expression. We could barely get him to put his ears up, even with the mare right in front of him. I was SO tempted to try that old Saddlebred trick of shooting off a fire extinguisher in front of him.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        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!

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          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
                          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.
                          http://regcorkumlive.blogspot.com/

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Quazzle View Post
                            http://www.sporthorse-data.com/d?sho...ime=1199479430

                            this is my horse this summer (after being out of work due to an injury)
                            First thoughts........... you stole my horse!



                            Seriously though I'm thinking reasons why its not a great selling photo:

                            Half sun and half shade
                            Horse not standing square on
                            The background isn't attractive and that plus other things in the photo detracts
                            Boots on the horse makes me think he brushes and over reaches

                            I've also got to say that its hard and I mean REALLY hard to get a good "selling" or "marketing" photo. I reject loads before I find one I'll settle for.

                            And here's some I've had of mine - some I've rejected and some I've used:













                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              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!
                              I really like your first pic. It is very close to perfect in many ways. Pam Norton... of course! Beautiful. What I love about so many of her pictures is horse is very well positioned legs in a very precise correct stance, hind leg square not out behind, nice. Great use of neck, beautiful lighting and background. Love it. This one is an Ace in my opinion for a stallion photo.

                              I still think the Europeans have us beat but that may also have to do with the degree of discipline and the structure of the horse through high levels of training and fitness. When they stand, they stand like sculptured statues, and we just all go Wow.
                              http://regcorkumlive.blogspot.com/

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by STF View Post
                                Confo's are the hardest to get!! Horrible to get!
                                This is the best I have of "Da Man" but he had hit boots and such on.
                                http://www.spindletopfarm.net/Confo2.jpg
                                Originally posted by risingstarfarm View Post
                                Here are two confo shots of my boys that I really love.
                                Very nice indeed. The horses are presented so well I don't care less about the photo.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  To really polish it off, clean/braided, on concrete (no grass covering hooves) and NOT at an angle. I'm a MASTER at butchering the last, as even the slightest angle can make the neck look shorter than it really is, or just not do the horse the right justice.

                                  Thomas 1 - Strong Oak is a lovely type, what is his breeding?
                                  Celtic Pride Farm
                                  www.celticpridefarm.com
                                  Become a fan on Facebook!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    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's not that it's "American" to show the longer/lower frame, it's that it's Hunters vs Dressage/Jumpers. American Show Hunters, even the top levels, go in a longer, lower frame than any upper level Dressage horse or Jumper going around a course. So, when posing a Hunter, you want the more stretched out look with the nose poked out a bit to show off the long, lean lines.

                                    I might argue that the dressage/jumper pose is more artificial Most horses just hanging out are in a much more Huntery type position than the typical dressage/jumper confo shot. The D/J poses look like the horse is on alert - not a bad thing, just different

                                    Here are 2 for me:

                                    6yo OTTB mare, not in work:
                                    http://www.horsegroomingsupplies.com...07-smaller.jpg
                                    Problems with that one - ears not perked, standing a bit over her front end, shot taken a little too forward so her butt looks a bit smaller than it is. The grass hides her feet a bit, but at the time that was the best place I had.

                                    4yo WB gelding, not in work:
                                    http://equestriangardener.homestead....rio4yoconf.jpg
                                    Problems with this one - too dark, though it scanned too dark, the original isn't like that. Tail swishing, hiding his leg connection a bit. Background too dark for his dark body. Otherwise, *I* think the leg stance is perfect for this type of confo shot (though he did turn his LH out just a bit, but position-wise, it's clearly visible).
                                    ______________________________
                                    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by DownYonder View Post
                                      "How do you go about getting that out of a "more laid back" type stallion?"

                                      Boy, I would really like to know the answer to this! A few years ago, I helped a friend do photos of her newly imported stallion. This boy was (and still is) so laid back, we made ourselves crazy trying to pump him up for the photo session. We chased him with plastic bags tied to whips. We opened umbrellas under his nose. We rattled key chains. We cracked a lunge whip at him and snaked it on the ground in front of him. We paraded a mare back and forth outside his paddock fence. For the conformation photos, we stood a mare practically nose to nose with him. He was totally hum-hum about EVERYTHING and just looked at us with a quizzical expression. We could barely get him to put his ears up, even with the mare right in front of him. I was SO tempted to try that old Saddlebred trick of shooting off a fire extinguisher in front of him.

                                      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

                                      Pat Sullivan had a very laid back stallion and he was a challenge and we used a mare almost touching noses to get him to animate his neck, and that was it, that was all he did touching nose with the mare. However, he did give a super photo one that transformed himself. When I did coformation photos of trakehner stallion Stiletto, we used an old gelding which produced animation in expression and neck, but not the dance and the want to breed. 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.
                                      http://regcorkumlive.blogspot.com/

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Hocus Focus View Post
                                        people walking around with garbage bags over their heads
                                        THAT made me literally LOL!
                                        ______________________________
                                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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