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How to photograph your model horses

Ever wonder what makes a great picture great? There are three key elements to keep in mind that will help you to take a great photo. They are lighting, perspective, and composition.

Lighting is, of course, how your photograph is illuminated. Perspective is the angle or view that you choose to shoot your photograph. Composition is how you want your photograph to look.


Composition is what tells the story and gives your picture context. Maybe you just want a great picture of your model horse – composition is still important. So how do you do it?
First, look around you. Try to find a spot that works for the story you want to tell. Maybe it is the railing of a deck, or a small table covered with sand. Getting ground level on a freshly-mowed lawn or dirt works, as well as inside with a model horse barn or backdrop. The key is creativity.
Try to avoid places that have objects in it that are out of scale. These will ruin the illusion you you’re trying to create, as well as distract from your favourite subject!
What is your horse doing? Is he standing, playing? And where is he doing that? Maybe standing quietly contemplating the quality of the sun. All of these things bring the story to your picture. It really depends on what you are trying to do and the places around you have to work with.


Once you have found your setting, you can figure out the lighting. The late afternoon is a great time to shoot pictures, when the lighting is not overhead and more golden. Bright light of the high day gives overexposed pictures that do not show colour well. They are often too bright and stark, not allowing your beautiful horse to be the centre of attention.
If you are shooting your pictures inside, the same applies. Your barn or backdrop can be moved to a bright room with indirect light, although sunbeams have their own place too. Artificial light is wonderful to use as well. Play with the placement of it to see what it looks like.


Whether you’re using a phone, point and shoot camera, or have a professional setup, it’s all about the angle you choose to take the picture. I am almost always on the same level with the horses, be it on the ground or crouched to be at “ground level” when they are on the table. This gives you a more realistic perspective of how you would see a real horse.
Each horse has a good angle, so try to find the positioning that makes your horse look the most beautiful. With digital photography, you can take as many pictures as you want and choose the very best ones.

The most important thing with taking model horse pictures is to try different techniques and figure out what works best for you, the camera you are using, and the environment where you are taking photos. As you practice, your one-in-a-million shot will become one-in-a-thousand, then one-in-a-hundred, then one-in-ten! It takes practice to develop a feel for it, but it does get easier as you go and is so much fun to do!

With a little practice, you will be taking beautiful pictures of your model horses in no time. Don’t be afraid to experiment and have fun!

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