Equine photographer

Equine Portrait

A slightly different approach to some Equine portraits this week, my aim was to try and create a rather more “gritty” image, and to do this without doing tons of Photoshop work. The way to do this was to control and manipulate the light in order to get the effect, and this meant getting a studio type shot, but without actually having a studio.

So, creating a studio outdoors is in fact fairly easy to do, even in broad daylight, you just need powerful enough strobe lights that are capable of overpowering the daylight, and fortunately I do have powerful lights.

I also recorded a little timelapse video of the process from start to finish which you can see here, and gives you a bit of an idea on how I was working. You’ll see the main light is to the left with a “Kicker” light behind and to the left, though the kicker light wasn’t used much as I decided the one light approach to get the gritty equine portrait was better suited on this occasion. You’ll also see that the backdrop didn’t extend along the floor as well, this was because I was only shooting the top part of the body.

So my subject was “Fonzy”, who I’d shot previously about a year ago., you can see some of these here. Fonzy is a lovely mild tempered Grey, ex-racehorse, and not any racehorse at that. He was ridden in over forty races by none other than Frankie Dettori. Now he’s retired and has a rather pleasant life doing what horses like to do and just getting hacked out a couple of times a week.

We tied Fonzy up to the end of the stables so he could see me as I was erecting the large back drop and stands etc and get used to it being there. He didn’t bat an eyelid and was quite relaxed about it. The next job was to get him used to the flash, it’s not so much the flash of light that disturbs horses, it’s more the popping sound the unit makes, and this gets progressively louder as you turn up the power. But anyway after a gradual introduction he was soon totally relaxed with that too.

As I said at the beginning it’s a different style for me, but I’m very pleased with the results, especially as they’ve had little, if any, Photoshop work done to them. These images are the result of controlling light to my best advantage, and that’s how I prefer to work.

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