Equine photographer

The Equine studio in action.

Ok, so it’s been a while since I’ve updated my blog, time just seems to escape me plus I’m not sure that anyone is really that interested! Anyway, I’m afraid this post is aimed more at fellow photographers, students and enthusiasts, and might be a tad techy, but hopefully it may still be of interest.

I thought I’d throw together a quick little times lapse video of one of my “studio style” photo shoots. The reason being, I get a lot of emails from students and other photographers asking how it’s all done, and I thought this was going to be the best way to explain it. It’s by no means the definitive way to do things, but its the way I do, and it works for me. This is just a basic two light set up, but I rarely shoot with more than three lights, it’s just one more light stand to potentially get knocked over.

This video was filmed using a little GoPro camera set to take a picture at five sec intervals, then put together in Adobe Premiere Pro (not very well I might add).

All my lighting equipment is from Profoto, arguably the best lighting equipment available, strong, reliable and consistent, and with a range of light modifiers, second to none. I tend to use their large Octaboxes but sometimes I’ll use the big Magnum reflector when I need as much light as possible. The power packs are The B3 battery packs with lithium batteries (faster recycling and considerably lighter!) these packs will deliver up to 1200W/S of power to a single head, which is useful when shooting outdoors in the summer, when I need to over power the sun. I also use the profoto wireless triggering system which frees me up from cables, and syncs with the inbuilt receivers in the packs. Talking of cables, the reason I use the battery system, is to allow me to set up the studio virtually anywhere, and to not have to deal with cables on the floor, obviously not a good idea with horses around. I use very heavy duty light stands, the type more normally found in the film industry, the only draw back of having the extra strength is the weight, but it makes them very secure, as the last thing you want is one of these falling over with a flash head and large modifier.

The aim of this shoot was to try and specifically replicate an image I’d taken a couple of years previously, with two different horses, at the same yard. As we had all suspected, it wasn’t going to be easy and quite likely not to happen, but as you’ll see from the final image, we pretty much managed to get the shot plus a few others, so a good result at the end of the day. It was a very cold day, and even in the big indoor school out of the wind, I started off with just a jumper, then a jacket on and then another jacket on top of that, but it was worth it.

Each horse is generally in the school for no more than 15 minutes, only sometimes a bit longer if they’re taking time to acclimatise to the slightly unusual situation. My approach is slow, calm and quiet, hence why I seem to be standing around doing nothing a lot of the time! I’ve yet to have a horse that wouldn’t let me take their picture, so something must be going right. All the horses in this shoot were new arrivals at MRWC and had yet to properly settle in, so they were a tad “fresh”, but patience always pays off. Now lets hope that hasn’t just jinxed it!

Equine studio photoshoot from mark beaumont on Vimeo.

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