Getting that “picture perfect” shot of a horse and rider is hard. The image can be blurry or there is a glare, or the horse has moved outside the frame. The quality of a cell phone camera is different than a regular camera, but you can still get great photos during a lesson, horse show or camp, especially the final camp horse show.
When taking pictures in the indoor arena, be considerate of everyone around you. Avoid using the flash feature and lower the volume of your phone to prevent a horse from spooking at unexpected sounds. If you are crouching or sitting at the edge of the ring, stand up slowly, and never move suddenly around the horses.
With that safety check in mind, here are five tips:
- Pay attention to timing
Be sure to watch the action a few times before taking a picture, especially when riders are doing patterns or jumping. This helps you get an idea for when to snap the shot. Also keep in mind that the faster the movement of the horse, the more likely a photo will be blurry. Tapping your screen will help refocus your camera onto the horse and rider.
- Use natural light as much as possible
Adjust your phone settings so the camera sets the proper exposure and focus without the flash. Keep light sources behind you and directed at your subject to better illuminate the photo. Aiming at sunlight or glass in particular can create glare or awkward shadows. Another way to enhance photos, especially in low light, is to use an HDR effect. This is available in most smartphone cameras and photo-editing apps.
- Check for a “burst mode” feature
Similar to name-brand cameras, smartphone cameras might have a “High-Speed Burst” feature that allows you to take several photos in quick succession. For movements or jumps that can be difficult to capture, this is extremely helpful in picking out the perfect shot.
- Be careful of your zoom and technique
Do not zoom in on the horse and rider if you can help it. Zooming tends to lower resolution and emphasizes any shaking in your hands. Lean on a stable surface whenever possible to stabilize your shot, especially when crouching or standing. You can crop the picture later to create the image you want.
- Edit the photos yourself
If the pictures are still not what you want, there are many free photo-editing apps for your phone and other devices (tablet, computer, etc.) that allow for image enhancements. Your phone’s photo gallery might already include an editing feature, or you can use a popular app like Snapseed.