Skip to main content




Sharon Carr

Equine Photographer

When it comes to taking horse portraits that will look amazing on any wall, you need to know a few basic photography tips.
With the help of Sharon Carr, we have compiled this top 10 list for you.

***Don’t forget to scroll to the bottom of this page too for your exclusive chance to win one of West and Willow’s amazing customized horse portraits or phone covers.  (Entries end April 16th 2021) PLUS we’re offering our community 15% off products on their website.  They make amazing gifts for friends and loved ones… Or yourself!  Simply click HERE
and use the exclusive discount code at checkout. 

1 – Phone a friend
Get a friend to help! Having a friend around to hold your horse and do other things is a godsend. Nothing like an extra pair of hands…
We all want our horses to look perky and interested in photos, so you may need help to get those ears forward, or heads up.
Buckets, treats or even the “Horse Sounds” phone app work well.

img 20200209 115936.jpg

2 – Background Choices

Make sure your horse has a very contrast colored background.  Simple is better and lighter backgrounds work well. If there is movement, cars, people…take a moment to reposition your subject before you shoot.  One you have your subject in the frame, take a moment to look at what is in the background of your photo.

Note – A plain background it is easier to remove if you are going to do so in a post photo editor app.  Some great free ones to try!
Snapseed – APPLE or ANDROID
Adobe Photoshop – APPLE or ANDROID

3 – Lighting

The best lighting is typically in the early morning, right after sunrise, or late in the afternoon. You may have heard of the Golden hour?  That is about an hour before the sun goes down.
The light is beautiful and…well… golden. If you can’t snap a photo during these preferred times, look for shade and even lighting.
Shade you say?, yes shade!
The light is more even and you won’t get hard shadows.

Hang worthy horse portraits

4 – Exposure

Once you are focused on your subject, you can tap and hold the yellow box (on APPLE) or similar on ANDROID, and use the slider or adjuster to increase or decrease the level of light.
If you have portrait mode, try it! It’s a brilliant feature on newer phones and will add a depth of field making your subject stand out more.
Depth of field will create a blurred background and really draw attention to your subject.

exposure - horse portrait photography

5 – What’s in the frame?

Don’t always fill the frame. Leave some negative space and looking room, which is  in front of the horse, in the direction they are looking.  Also make sure to show some neck.
You can always crop any excess things out later – but can’t add it in.
Also think of the RULE OF THIRDS (read up on this HERE)
With that said, don’t be afraid to experiment with getting up-close and personal.  Getting a nice close-up will bring out the beauty in any subject and give you some great feels.  A nice way to do this is using portrait mode on your phone. (See tip #8)

looking room horse photography

6 – Focus

Your APPLE iPhone (for those that have them) is well equipped to help you take clear, crips, in-focus photos.
The best way to do this is to lock the focus.  If you don’t lock it, your phone will use ‘automatic focus’ and decide for itself what to focus on.
To ‘lock’ the focus (iPhone), tap on the screen where you want the focus to be, and hold your finger on it until you see the AE/AF Lock message in a yellow square.
You can simply unlock it by tapping elsewhere on the screen.

depth of field portrait mode iPhone horse

7 – Angles

You may want to play with taking photos from many angles, not just at eye level.  Try lower to the ground, or stand on something and get higher up.   Another great tip on angles is to always try and place your subject to one side or the other of your frame, never directly in the center.
Don’t forget to move around & experiment with what looks great in the frame by moving your feet!
Different angles can have a really fun result!

horse portrait horse photography

8- Portrait Mode

Using the portrait mode on your phone (if you have it) can be your best friend.  It automatically blurs your background adding depth of field and enhances your subject.  Just follow the prompts on your phone, typically a yellow box that will fill when you’re in the right range for shooting with portrait.

Blog-Tom-Appy @tomtheangryappy

9 – Watch that zoom

It’s always better to move closer to your subject that use the zoom. If you use the zoom to get close, your image will lose quality and will not be great when you need to enlarge or print it.

horse portraits with your smartphone

10 – Take a bucket load of shots

Take more pictures that you think you’ll need, you can always sort through them and select the best ones.  The best part about digital images is it costs no more to take one or 1,000!  Simply don’t forget to ensure you have lots of memory on your phone for your photoshoot!  And ALWAYS charge your phone battery to full.

April 10, 2023


June 28, 2022

A Mother & Daughter Story

March 24, 2021


March 2, 2021