If you are looking for some tips on capturing social and share-worthy shots of your horses, here are 10 quick suggestions for smartphone success.

Our social media manager, Andrea from NHS, compiled this list and LOVES a great horse pic…

While Andrea isn’t a professional photographer, there are a few basic principles she uses to help her to create social-worthy shots.

Andrea Gibbins

Social Media, Marketing and Australian & New Zealand Customer Service Manager

Andrea’s Hot 10 Tips

Moving or Standing Still

  1. What your horse is doing at the time will determine how you may want to take the shot.  Movement is generally best captured with the phone in a horizontal position/sideways to ensure you get enough space to capture the whole body.  However, video for social media is best shot vertically.  If your horse is standing still, you might find taking the still shot in the vertical position is more suited to capture detail. 
  • Phone in Horizontal Position for horses in motion is best but…
  • Phone in Vertical Position for videos for social media 
  • Extra Tips for fast-moving action like cantering, jumping, etc: 
    • Be steady with your camera.  
    • Follow the action and try to keep your horse centered.  
    • Try a fun effect like time-lapse or slow-mo.  You might discover some really interesting videos!  

Keep your arms close to your body to help steady the hands!

Home Page Hayli Ride Trail Happy

Nothing says ‘movement’ like flowing hair

Lighting

Make sure you have ‘touched’ the screen of your phone in camera mode on your horse’s ‘brightest’ point to allow your camera to adjust for bright light. 

If the image is too “hot”, you may lose some detail. 

Some smartphones now have an AE/AF lock so that can be very helpful.

Remember the ‘post editing’ features of your phone are great to fix a myriad of issues.  Try experimenting with the settings to see if you can improve it after or use a filter… some people use a consistent filter to ensure all their photos have a similar look….and always know there are great coaching tips on YouTube for learning how to do such things.

Kai TessLeo 2020 17 600x800 1

Lighting can be your friend or foe…

Filters

Sometimes it is a lot of fun to play with filters and distinct elements of the photo’s contrast, brightness, etc.  Resist the urge to do TOO MUCH. 

Sometimes simple tweaks are all you may need. 

If you want the image to be shared around social media, perhaps don’t use ‘strong’ filters. 

Leave that up to the accounts who will ‘repost’ to help them match their own look/feel.  If it is over-processed, you don’t leave them much ‘wiggle’ room. 

Encourage those you share your images with to tag you as the original owner.   If you don’t see a tag, be sure to call them out on it!

blog - filters

Clearly a filter has been used here. Warming up the cooler tones.

Angles

Horses are not rigid.  Capturing them with a slight bend in their neck, or with their legs in a particular phase of a stride can really change things in photos. 

Ideally, you want to capture the horse’s mood AND motion and imagine what comes next.  Play around with angles.  Try different heights and distances to see what looks good!

Blog-Tom-Appy @tomtheangryappy

Get down low for example! See what you get.

Time of Day

Well, sometimes you just don’t have a say in what time of day you find yourself in with your horses. 

Have you heard of the golden hours?  They are early morning and late evening when the sun is low in the sky.  They create beautiful golden outlines, cast warm glowing light and long shadows… 

Yes of course this all can make beautiful photos, but when you can’t dictate the time, then you just make do!

Kai TessLeo 2020 49 scaled

Sunrise or Sunset can give you an amazing backdrop and silhouette.

Cropping

As your insta feed prefers ‘square’ images (1000×1000 pixels) you will often find you need to ‘crop’ the image when uploading it.  That can mean losing the TOP and BOTTOM, or LEFT and RIGHT of the shot. 

Instagram and Facebook Reels & Stories prefer vertical, but you can use horizontal if needed. The results may not be as good with horizontal images and videos and when it is a ‘mobile first’ environment they do prefer the whole screen be filled with image/video. 

YES you can ‘scale’ the video in REELS to fill the screen but lack a lot of control on ‘how’ that video is then seen and much of the shot can be removed – install into your reels then pinch and zoom to see how you can manipulate the look… Experiment to find out how your existing horizontal videos and photos may end up when you do this.  Trial and Error! 

Horizontal video in the FEED is a little different.  You can adjust slightly, but shooting for the environment you plan to post in is always best practice.  Where possible!

blog - reels

When you upload to Instragram Reels (which requires vertical) you can ‘scale’ the image.

Action Shots

  1. When it comes to ‘action’ shots, you will want good lighting (but not too bright) and perhaps use your phone’s ‘burst’ feature if it has it.
    • Burst feature means you can take multiple shots in quick succession.
       
    • Photographers use this when tiny fragments/changes in the moment need to be captured quickly. Ii.e. Diving, Running, Car Races, etc.

Google your camera model to find out how!   

This image of Jesse Peters below  (Riding our Roper Saddle, Brideless in mounted Shooting) is a great example.  This is taken with a professional camera that can handle low lights – your smartphone may struggle and appear grainy.

Jesse NHS Horseman Saddles

Speed – That ONE frame can be the winning shot.

Colors

The colors of your photos are hard to control in a ‘candid’ moment.  However, if you are planning your photos, you may like to think about how the colors of each element go together. 

Creating ‘color pallets’ is something that can really create particular looks.  We find leather saddles and horses of all colors go so nicely with contrasting green pastures, neutrals of summer grasses, pale sandy areas and nature of all kinds… framed with lovely blue sky or stormy and threatening clouds can make it even better. 

The stronger the elements the better sometimes, except for too much sun.
That can blow out the brightness to where you can’t repair it in post-editing.

Letitia test ride DSL proto

The purple and the summer grasses, contrasted with the rich sorrel are all working here.

Re-examine

Look back through all your photos on your phones. You may discover some images on the camera roll you forgot to examine for ‘potential’! 

With a simple crop and change, you can often find post-worthy pics without even having to pick up the camera again! It is always worth going through those 1000s and 1000s of photos you know to lurk on your phone! Haha. Cropping creates an entirely different image & focus.

blog - crop

Cropping can create a totally different image. Changes the focus entirely.

Sharing

We love to see brands in action, and your pics may assist a smaller business in ways you didn’t even know! 

YOU are an influencer whether you try to be or not!  At Natural Horseman Saddles we LOVE when you show others the success you have with our saddles, pads and shims.  It makes us so proud to see people and their horses looking amazing and comfortable while on the trail, down at the beach, in the arena, the pasture, a horse show, or wherever you venture out with the equipment we’ve worked hard to develop for you… It helps our message soar further when you share.

All horses deserve comfort under their saddles.
THANK YOU for sharing!

 

*** Below is a picture we were given to share with our community of a gorgeous little girl in the UK who was trying out her Mom’s beloved new Deep Seat Light Saddle.  Adorable!

We hope you found this all helpful! We can’t wait to see your images online!

READ BELOW TO FIND OUT  HOW SHARING YOUR PICS COULD SCORE AN AWESOME PRIZE FOR YOU!

Have you got a hot tip you’d like to share?

Comment below!

We have another article that may offer more things to think about – cooperation with Sharon Carr, a professional equine photographer.  Horse Portraits with Smartphones.

PicForAPadPromo 1000x1000 1Are you riding our saddles, pads or even just using our shims?
Own a smartphone or camera?
Think your horse is worthy of some ‘likes’ ‘comments’ and ‘shares’?
Then you are a perfect candidate for our PIC FOR A HALF PAD promotion!

Every season, Summer // Fall // Winter // Spring, we will be choosing one qualified person to win a pad from our Versafit Pad Line.

English or Western, you can choose!

The first pad up for grabs is one of our new ENGLISH or WESTERN HALF PADS
Half the Pad with Full Protection!
Your horse can now look the goods with this discreet yet effective pad!
Simply place your favourite saddle blanket underneath for the individual look you love.

So many new benefits like :

  • An exciting new material developed to eliminate sweat
  • Close contact impact elimination, thermodynamic smart foam
  • Easy access pockets for our exclusive saddle correcting tapered foam shim system {can be used without shims}

Check out our STORE for all the product details on these new ‘ride changing’ Versafit Saddle Pads.

HOW TO ENTER – The details.

  • Take a pic or video of your horse using/wearing any of our products
  • Upload to either Instagram or Facebook {reels, stories, newsfeeds, profile – set to public} and tag the relevant page/brand/account
    • Not on social media?  You can still enter!
      Email [email protected] with PIC FOR A HALF PAD in the subject heading with your image