Professional Photographer to the Rescue: horse photography without the long face

Professional Photographer to the Rescue: horse photography without the long face

In our latest Professional Photographer to the Rescue post our professional photographer, an experienced equine photographer, shares his best horse photography tips for taking equine pictures in a range of different styles.

Professional Photographer to the Rescue: horse photography without the long face

Meet our professional photographer

Equine specialist Craig Payne has been photographing horses since the age of 12. He turned professional in 2007 and has an extensive knowledge of the subject, capturing both action shots of horses at events and specialising in portraits of horses and riders together. To see Craig’s full portfolio head to

Meet our apprentice

Ecologist and horse-lover Rebecca Hendry is from Yeovil, Somerset. She’s had an interest in photography for the past 12 years, although it’s only in the past few that she’s taken it to the next level. Armed with her Canon EOS 7D, Rebecca was keen to improve her photography skills to understand how to best photograph horses and riders together.

Technique assessment

Craig showed Rebecca how to rein in her shooting skills and get back in the saddle

Horse photography technique assessment: what shooting mode to use

What mode?
“Rebecca had been using Aperture Priority (Av) mode, but the most important thing about horse photography is the shutter speed as there’s lots of constant movement in the horse – even when it’s standing still,” explains Craig.

For action shots you need a shutter speed above 1/640 sec and for portraits keep it above 1/250 sec, ideally, although this can be pushed if there’s less light. If the light is flat I take a few readings and put my camera into the Manual (M) mode. If the light keeps changing I’ll shoot in Shutter Priority (Tv) mode, although you need to keep an eye on the aperture setting and ISO value if you do this.”


Horse photography technique assessment: raw or JPEG?

Raw or JPEG?
“Although you can recover a lot more detail in a raw format file, you don’t have to shoot in Raw if you get the exposure right in-camera,” Craig advises. “A large JPEG means you can spend less time editing your images as your camera processes the image and applies a few basic edits, such as increasing the colour saturation and sharpening.

“I shoot at a lot of events where it’s important to get images to clients quickly, so I always shoot JPEGs, but if you’re not confident in getting it right in-camera then by all means shoot raw – or you could use 
the Raw+JPEG option as a back-up until you’re more confident.”

PAGE 1: Meet our professional photographer and apprentice
PAGE 2: Horse photography tips for during the shoot
PAGE 3: Final tips from our professional photographer
PAGE 4: Shot of the Day


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  • Wulfox

    Absolutely loved this article! I cannot wait to put this advice to use.