Learn how to photograph moving horses

Have you tried photographing your friends schooling or your horse playing in the field, but not quite happy with how the photos coming out? Check out this blog post to learn what to think about when photographing moving horses.

The firts thing I would recommend to anyone wanting to learn how to photograph moving horses is to study how they move. By learning which order they put down their legs, it will be easier for you to time when to press the shutter and get a beautiful image.


To me, walk is the most difficult pace to be flattering to a horse. I tend to photograph when there is a bit of bend to the front leg and they are about to lift it. The horse will then looks lsughtly less on the forehand. A well schooled horse that either stretches out their neck or are working in a contact will look better than one with a tense lower neck and that isn't on the bit. To help make these horses look better, I photograph them on a bent line. Only supple horses with a good and active walk will look attractive directly from the side. I would phootgraph all other horses as they are turning or going around the corner. The bend in the neck and the body will help to create some curved lines into your photograph.

Learn how to photograph walking horses
How to photograph walking horses
Equine photography walk
Photograph walking horses


Trot is a lot easier to photograph. The one part pf the trot is what you can see in the photos below - when the horses two far legs are reaching under it's stomach, forming a V-shape. During this step, the horse will be in balance and off the forehand. When the horse is stretching out the two legs closest to the camera, it will be using it's muscle, making it look more athletic.

If the horse is lacking suppleness, I would again try to photograph it turning or going around a corner to help create some curves. I also photograph supple horses on a slightly bent line, or at an angle, as I find this more pleasing to the eye.

Learn to photograph trotting horses
How to photograph trotting horses
Photograph a trotting horse
Equine photography trot


I find that the easiest way to time the canter is to look for when the inside hind is reaching forward. The horse will then lift through the body, again this is the part of the stride where it's coming off the forehand, which is more flattering for the horse.

Learn to photograph cantering horses
How to photograph cantering horses
Equine photography canter
Photographing horses in canter


In the gallop, I instead of olooking for the colelaction in canter, I want to see the horse stretched out. I think this is the best way to properly show the speed. Even if the gallop also have the collected bit, even if it's less than in canter, the horse looks flatter and the image doesn't give either the beautiful lift through the horses body in canter, or particularly looks very speedy.

Learn to photograph galloping horses
How to photograph galloping horses
Photograph a horse in gallop
Photograph galloping horses on the beach


For most jumps, I would photograph the horse as in pictures one and three below. The horse is putting all it's weight on the hind legs and is tucking up it's front legs to come over. The horse will look good and tidy, even over small jumps. When photographing hedges and some cross country fences, I prefer photographing as the horse is going over or is about to land on the other side. For this to be a pleasing photo, the fence needs to have a bit of hight, and the horse has to be jumping with it's back.

Learn to photograph jumping horses
How to photograph horses jumping
Photograph horses jumping cross country
How to photograph jumping horses