2. Composition

equine photoshoot

How you position your subject in your picture can make an ok photograph, to a great one!

Photographers call this composition. It’s principles are used to guide the viewer’s eye towards the most important elements of the photograph.

Here are 5 top composition tips to help you with your equine photography.

1. Positioning of your subject

When photographing horses, they are a large animal, that can take up the whole of your camera frame.

Take a step of two back and allow more space around your subject.

It can be natural to place horses in the middle of your image, but instead experiment with them slightly off to the left or right.

Cherishing memories - Emma Campbell Horse Photographer

The Rule of Thirds

Taking this a step further, you could follow the Rule of Thirds principle. It’s one of the most popular compositional techniques that can guide the photographer to the best place on where to position your subject. The Rule of Thirds divides your scene into a 3×3 grid with equal size rectangles. If you use Photoshop, the crop tool can be set with the 3×3 grid. For more information on the rule of thirds – click here.

Lake District Fell ponies - greetings card

2. Depth of field

By adding some foreground interest such as the gorse in this photo, it aims to draw the eye into the image and onto the ponies across the other side of the lake.  Adding the gorse creates a more 3D feel to the photograph, which are typically 2D in nature.

Experiment with adding some foreground interest to create depth.

3. Leading lines

Leading lines can help the viewer focus attention within the photograph.

Elements such as  paths, walls or patterns can be used as leading lines.

Here a path is used, that draws the eye up to the path and to the subjects walking away from camera.

Cumbrian equine photographer
Emma's fell pony Louie

4. Isolate the subject

Getting to know your camera out of auto creates greater scope to take control of the photographs that you’re taking and experiment with your aperture settings.

Aperture allows you to control the opening of light which enters your camera, and enabling you to create a blured background and a pin sharp foreground.  

I will often photograph my portrait horses around F3.5 so that I can pick up all the sharp detail of the horses face but the background is nice and blurred for me.

For more details on aperture visit: https://photographylife.com/what-is-aperture-in-photography

5. Remove clutter

When photographing your horse, try and eliminate any background distractions before taking the photograph.

Before you snap, take one more look and see what’s in the background.  

Try and position your horse somewhere there are no hay nets or rugs hanging from a wall. You don’t want any distractions in your photograph, you just want the eye to look straight at the horse.

Gold award winning photo by Emma Campbell


See if you move the subject to the left or the right of the image, does it look better?
Have a look at the rule of thirds and see how you can make your subject stand out!
Can you use a nice path to draw the eye to the subject?
Keep it simple and look before you snap.
Add some foreground interest, to draw the eye into the image.

1 to 1 training available

I offer 1 to 1 training which can be done remotely via Zoom or Skype.

Ideal if you’re wanting to improve the photographs you take of your horse, or your thinking about turning professional.  An hour session tailoured to suit your needs. For more information, please contact me below or visit here.