Expert Micki Dobson
Questions (For answers, scroll down or click on question)
Questions and Answers
A: Actually, I fell into it. I was taking a lot of photos of my daughter, her friends and their horses. I found I had a "feel" for it and started going to shows and trying my luck. Encouraged by the results, I returned to school to study photography, started to submit work to magazines and was surprised at how quickly my work was published. Aware that this sounds all too easy, I must say that in the early 80s there were only a handful of horse photographers in any given area and there are numerous photographers from other areas of photography that are infiltrating the sport due to its increasing popularity. Your edge here though, can be a thorough understanding of the movement of the horse which many of those photographers lack.
A: There are no quick and easy answers. It is very involved and time consuming. There are many in-depth articles written on this and I would advise reading as many as you can find. Studying the stallion ads will show you how to stand the horse up. If you look carefully, you will also learn the best ways to have the sun "light up" the horse. Use it to his best advantage. Using a camera with a lens in the 100-200mm range will give you the best results. 100-200 speed film is good and use a shutter speed that will stop any movement.
In addition you will need:
A: This has a lot to do with faith in yourself. This procedure feels very strange and encourages doubt until you master it. Pay attention to the way the horse moves. You have to learn to anticipate the movement you want to photograph and take the shot a fraction of a second before the movement happens. If you wait until you see what you want you will have missed it.
Q: I would like to pursue an equine photography career but live in the Chicago area where there are no equine colleges. While I am attending a community college for photography, I would like some suggestions on how I can obtain my equine education?
A: To the best of my knowledge, formal equine photography is not offered at any college. My suggestion would be for you to advise your community college instructor of your intentions. He can guide you in the general area of sports/action photography.
Get involved in the horse world. If you do not ride, you are going to have to develop at least a basic understanding of how a horse moves in order to know "where" the shot is. Look for shows in your area (the larger, the better) and take many photos. Compare your shots to those in equine magazines. Learn how to capture the best moments of the horse - the wrong angle or bad timing can make the best horse look really bad. Show your photos to horse people and ask them to critique them. Also, many photographers at shows will be happy to guide you and can give you tips that will prove invaluable in this field. Once you feel comfortable with it all, look for photographers that hire assistants for the larger shows and you will get on the job training.
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