I am an amateur photographer and professional rider and have always been interested in the art of photography.
I took the plunge and bought my first DSLR camera two years ago and have been playing with it ever since. As a self-taught photographer I have spent a lot of time reading books, surfing the web and fumbling through magazine articles to gain the basics needed to take a good picture.
I have had many of my photographs published on major websites such as Barnmice and The Canadian Horse Journal, in numerous publications such as Toronto CADORA's (Track Right), Collections (a Dressage Canada publication) and I have also done wedding photography in Jamaica.
I am currently enrolled in a photography course in Newmarket, Ontario. I continue to learn more and more about photography every day and I hope a few of my insights will be useful for other amateur photographers.
My favorite tips for capturing a great shot are:
1) Give the subject air to breath: when taking a photo make sure to allow the subject some air to breath. If you are taking a picture of a horse jumping for example, try not to make the entire photo of just the horse. Give some room on the other side of the subject allowing the horse a place to 'jump' into.
2) Try out different angles: I like to play around with as many different angles and views as possible. Everyone can point a camera and shoot a shot of a horse in a field but what will make your shot stand out? Try taking the picture through the fence boards or from laying at ground level. You'll be amazed at the difference an angle change will do to your photos.
3) Great lighting is key: the dictionary classifies photography as " the process of producing images on a sensitized surface by the action of light" so lighting is a major factor in how your shot will turn out. The perfect time to take outdoor pictures is at dusk or at dawn when the natural sunlight is low in the sky. Try setting yourself with the sun at your back and the subject in front of you. Use as much natural light as possible to create those magical shots your looking for.
4) Fast shutter speed: when taking action shots such as a horse running in a field or that amazing dressage horse in piaffe you want a high shutter speed. The faster the shutter speed the crisper the shot will be; however, the faster the shutter speed the less light that enters the camera. You will now get a crisper photo but the lighting may need to be worked on. If the shot is coming out too dark try playing with the ISO on your camera. The ISO changes the sensitivity to light. The higher the ISO the more sensitive the camera is to light.
5) Tell a story: rather then just pointing and shooting at random try to make your photos tell a story. This will give you that wow effect rather then just a run of the mill picture with no meaning. Last but not least always be ready. You never know when that perfect photo op will present itself so try to always be on the look out.
I hope these quick simple tips can help improve your photography. Happy shooting :)
(all photographs we're shot by Justin Ridgewell)