I’m an equestrian photographer: here’s how I get the jump on the competition when I shoot showjumping

Equestrian photography
(Image credit: Sebastian Oakley)

A sport that involves a horse and its rider navigating a series of obstacles and jumps, showjumping is very rewarding to photograph. While my day job is to find the best deals on cameras and lenses as Digital Camera World’s Ecommerce Editor, my background is in equestrian photography. My photos have been used by The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), The Jockey Club, Horse & Hound and many more for various advertising campaigns, books and pre/post-event highlights. The showjumping arena is a place I know very well.

A great showjumping photo conveys the natural movement of the horse with the rider’s face in focus. This often requires you to stop down to around f/4, or my preferred aperture of f/5.6. You will need to get both subjects in focus – if either the horse or rider isn’t sharp, the photos aren’t worth the space on your memory card. While a 70-200mm zoom range will cover most smaller venues, you’ll soon want to add a 400mm or 600mm super-telephoto to your kit bag.

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Sebastian Oakley
Ecommerce Editor

For nearly two decades Sebastian's work has been published internationally. Originally specializing in Equestrianism, his visuals have been used by the leading names in the equestrian industry such as The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), The Jockey Club, Horse & Hound, and many more for various advertising campaigns, books, and pre/post-event highlights.

He is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts, holds a Foundation Degree in Equitation Science, and is a Master of Arts in Publishing.  He is a member of Nikon NPS and has been a Nikon user since the film days using a Nikon F5 and saw the digital transition with Nikon's D series cameras and is still to this day the youngest member to be elected into BEWA, The British Equestrian Writers' Association. 

He is familiar with and shows great interest in street, medium, and large format photography with products by Leica, Phase One, Hasselblad, Alpa, and Sinar. Sebastian has also used many cinema cameras from the likes of Sony, RED, ARRI, and everything in between. He now spends his spare time using his trusted Leica M-E or Leica M2 shooting Street photography or general life as he sees it, usually in Black and White.