Equestrian Portrait Photography Tips by Aly Rattazzi

ratherberidinglogoHey there again! This is Aly Rattazzi, of Rather be Riding Photography. You all may remember me and my article about Horse Show Photography from the last time that I was invited to blog. I am thrilled to have been invited back again for 2014 to share some more tips to getting the perfect shots. I want to talk to you guys today about taking pictures of your horses in general. If y’all are anything like me, then your phones are probably filled with more pictures of your horse than anything else, and on top of that, any form of social media that you may be associated with is also overflowing with pictures of your favorite Equine partner. I am also guilty of taking numerous “selfies” with my horses, usually much to their disapproval. Everyone likes to have pretty pictures of their horse, whether for personal use or something like advertising for a sale ad, so here are a few tips that may help you out.


-The most important thing that I look for every time that I take a picture of a horse is to make sure that their ears are FORWARD. It is the amazing the difference it makes in a shot when your horse’s ears are forward and alert compared to either laid out to the side or back. If your subject is not a natural “poser” like many are, then using something that interests them will usually do the trick. I personally will use anything from a wrapper from their favorite treat to a squeaky toy, and in desperate times, pulling out a bucket and shaking it.

-Always make sure that your horse is standing correctly. By correctly, I mean to make sure that their legs are underneath them and not all splayed out; this is extra important when you are taking conformation shots.


-Presentation is the key. If you want a shot to frame and hang on the wall, then you don’t want your horse covered in mud from his/her daily roll in the paddock, or for their mane or tail to be all knotted. Take a few minutes to groom them up and make them look their absolute best!

-Never, ever shoot below looking up at your horse and vice versa. It makes them look un-proportional.


-When picking somewhere to take your pictures, try to find a location that is open and pretty. I know what you’re thinking, “DUH, of course pick a spot that looks nice”, but seriously though, find a spot that isn’t busy so that your gorgeous horse can be the main eye candy and focal point.

-If you are taking pictures of people and horses together, don’t always go for the posed shots. My favorite part of photographing owners and horses is really trying to capture the relationship between them. I generally put my subjects in a spot, and tell them to forget that I’m there, and I just shoot away.


-Your camera’s flash isn’t always your best option. Horses don’t usually take to kindly to having a bright light in their faces, and no one wants their horse to have glowing demon eyes.

-If your camera has a sports/faster shutter setting, I highly recommend you use that when taking pictures of horses, or really any animal in general.

-Lastly, HAVE FUN! J



Aly Rattazzi

Rather Be Riding Photography

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1 comment for “Equestrian Portrait Photography Tips by Aly Rattazzi

  1. March 19, 2014 at 4:45 PM

    Sweet tips – thanks so much for sharing & I have to say those are gorgeous pictures!

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