Canon Digital Photography Forums  

Go Back   Canon Digital Photography Forums > 'Sharing Knowhow' section > Talk About Photography > Pets Talk
Register Rules FAQ Members List Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read



Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 23rd of July 2011 (Sat)   #1
aponi06
Member
 
aponi06's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Woodbridge, VA
Posts: 612
Question Equine Photographers, help?

I've been asked by a few friends who show in an indoor ring but have no idea how to get those good pictures with flash.

I went to a friends lesson while she was in the door and had to take b&w photos because I couldn't get the lighting right. I've messed with exposure setting but doesn't help. I own the Rebel T1i.
aponi06 is offline   Reply With Quote
This ad block will go away when you log in as member
Old 27th of July 2011 (Wed)   #2
MT59
Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Alabama
Posts: 248
Default Re: Equine Photographers, help?

Something to try if you can get another test session during a lesson before the show:

Set your camera to Av mode, put on the 70-300mm lens. I'm assuming it's probably a f/4-5.6 lens. With the lens pulled all the way in (at 70mm), set your aperture value on the camera at f/4. The camera will adjust the aperture to the lens.

Set ISO to, oh, 1600. Pictures will be a bit grainy, most likely. Might be able to clean that up in post-processing. Shoot in RAW mode so you can lighten up dark pictures. There's still a good chance that shutter speeds may be too low, depending on the type of event and the ambient lighting inside the arena.

All this is assuming you have only the on-camera flash. We're trying to leave it turned off, so keep it pushed down. It won't automatically pop up in Av mode.

If there are any exterior windows in the arena and the sun happens to be filtering in and lighting up part of the area, see if you can shoot when the horses and riders enter that additional light.

So many variables. Pros are usually using pro cameras (better high-ISO capabilities) and f/2.8 (or better) lenses, possibly in combination with a couple of strobes mounted just outside the ring.

Given your equipment, I'd say just play around with the above and see if it helps. If you have a monopod, that would be a good bet, too. Especially if your lens doesn't have IS.

BTW, if this is an organized event, the organizers may have already enlisted the services of an official photographer. Be sure you aren't interfering with their business.
__________________
5D2, 7D, 40D (all gripped), 24-105 f/4L, 70-200 f/2.8L IS Mk I, 28-105 f/3.5-4.5 USM, Sigma 8-16mm, Sigma 70-300mm

Last edited by MT59 : 27th of July 2011 (Wed) at 00:03.
MT59 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th of July 2011 (Wed)   #3
aponi06
Member
 
aponi06's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Woodbridge, VA
Posts: 612
Default Re: Equine Photographers, help?

Thanks for the tip!
aponi06 is offline   Reply With Quote
This ad block will go away when you log in as member
Old 27th of July 2011 (Wed)   #4
acroberts
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 55
Default Re: Equine Photographers, help?

I have shot indoor horse shows, but was told not to use flash, especially indoors, as it can spook horses who are not used to flash photography.

I ended up shooting with my Xti in shutter mode at 1/250th or faster (to stop the action) at ISO800 with an 85mm f/1.8.

You will find the cameras setting itself up to shoot pretty wide open in a dark barn with this kind of approach, so keep in mind that you will lose some depth-of-focus if taking head-on shots, so set your AF point to the rider's head.

Any option to spend a hundred bucks before the show and use your first show as a learning experience?

Grab a 50mm f/1.8 and shoot pictures as they pass by on the rail.

And you'll use the 50mm for all kinds of learning stuff down the road, so it is definitely not money lost...
acroberts is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th of July 2011 (Wed)   #5
aponi06
Member
 
aponi06's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Woodbridge, VA
Posts: 612
Default Re: Equine Photographers, help?

I've been looking at the 50mm and didn't think of using it at horse shows.
aponi06 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th of July 2011 (Wed)   #6
matonanjin
Goldmember
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Omaha, NE
Posts: 2,378
Default Re: Equine Photographers, help?

You realize that this is a hugely blue sky question and volumes could be written about it? To start off I'll ask you a couple questions. Is it at an actual show that you are going to be shooting at? You say "with flash". Do you have an off camera flash? Do you have permission from the show to use flash? Do you shoot in RAW? Are you familiar with the concept of "White Balance"?

To start with, yes, the 50mm 1.8 is a great lens on a cropped body for low light indoor shooting. The lenses that you have are not fast enough if you need to go to available light.

And also to start you may find my recent blog about my lighting system for shooting horse shows helpful. (Or just click my blog link below and go to most recent post.) You certainly don't need to go to this extravagant a system but there may be some helpful info. And this is not a shameless plug and I am not advertiser supported so I don't care about hits.

Answer these and we'll get back to you (hopefully) with some suggestions.
matonanjin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th of July 2011 (Wed)   #7
aponi06
Member
 
aponi06's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Woodbridge, VA
Posts: 612
Default Re: Equine Photographers, help?

I have the on camera flash, I do not have permission to use flash (prefer not to), I have not tried shooting in RAW, and not familiar with the concept of white balance.

I usually go to shows where my friends are showing and get photos of them (get asked to tag a long).
aponi06 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th of July 2011 (Wed)   #8
Nomofica
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Posts: 509
Default Re: Equine Photographers, help?

If you decide to use flash, use an off-camera flash. If you do not have permission, do not do it. Always shoot in RAW - don't convert to JPEG until you're completely finished. If you are not familiar with an elementary element such as white balance, I highly suggest picking up a photography book for beginners; it will teach you the barebones basics of photography from which you can grow from.

Best of luck.
__________________
Portfolio | 5∞ | Flickr
Nomofica is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31st of July 2011 (Sun)   #9
matonanjin
Goldmember
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Omaha, NE
Posts: 2,378
Default Re: Equine Photographers, help?

First off, I apologize for the delay in the response. I asked you to respond to my questions, which you did. But I have been busy and, frankly, this post skipped my mind. I just got back from a shoot for a gal that is taking her mustang to the Extreme Mustang Makeover competition in Fort Worth in September and she needs a stall front poster. Fun shoot but it was about 95 degrees and 95% humidity. I'm beat and I will try and be coherent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MT59 View Post
Something to try if you can get another test session during a lesson before the show:

Set your camera to Av mode, put on the 70-300mm lens. I'm assuming it's probably a f/4-5.6 lens. With the lens pulled all the way in (at 70mm), set your aperture value on the camera at f/4. The camera will adjust the aperture to the lens.

Set ISO to, oh, 1600. Pictures will be a bit grainy, most likely. Might be able to clean that up in post-processing. Shoot in RAW mode so you can lighten up dark pictures. There's still a good chance that shutter speeds may be too low, depending on the type of event and the ambient lighting inside the arena.
I disagree with this. By setting your aperture at F/4 at the shortest zoom your camera will set your aperture at 5.6 when you zoom in. This will guaranty blurred images due to slow shutter speeds. I have yet to be in an indoor arena that I can shoot available light at ISO 1600 at F/5.6 and get an acceptable shutter speed.

Unfortunately, the lenses that you have do not lend themselves to indoor shooting. They're not "fast" enough. (see below.) Your camera has an "expansion" ISO setting of 3200. See your manual on how to do this. Use 3200. Your images will come out a little noisy but you are only doing this for friends. They will be acceptable. And if you shoot in RAW you will be able to apply some noise reduction. See below. Shoot in either TV mode or Manual. Set your shutter speed at 1/500 and then check your light. If you can not get an acceptable exposure go down to an absolute slowest speed of 1/400th.

Try and position yourself in the arena to where you don't have to zoom out to where your lens changes apertures.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MT59 View Post
So many variables. Pros are usually using pro cameras (better high-ISO capabilities) and f/2.8 (or better) lenses, possibly in combination with a couple of strobes mounted just outside the ring.

Given your equipment, I'd say just play around with the above and see if it helps. If you have a monopod, that would be a good bet, too. Especially if your lens doesn't have IS.
Unfortunately, shooting indoor shows requires fast, which means expensive, equipment. I almost always use an F/2.0 prime lens or rarely, an F/2.8 zoom. But if you want to do much shooting indoors look at a 50mm F/1.8 lens. It is fast enough for indoors, it's a good length for your Rebel and cheap! Like $100.

Don't worry about a monopod and don't worry about IS. You have to shoot at fast enough shutter speed to stop the horses' movement. Other wise you get blurry images. This fast of shutter speed eliminates camera/lens shake. This makes a monopod and IS unnecessary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MT59 View Post
BTW, if this is an organized event, the organizers may have already enlisted the services of an official photographer. Be sure you aren't interfering with their business.
This is good advise. If you are acting like you are taking photos for hire it will make the official photographer nervous. Understandable considering the time and expense he/she has probably gone to to get the contract for the show. Just explain to him/her that you are shooting strictly for some friend and not offering your shots for sale.It's just a very professional gesture for you to do it and some day when you have the contract you will appreciate someone doing the same.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aponi06 View Post
I've been asked by a few friends who show in an indoor ring but have no idea how to get those good pictures with flash.

I went to a friends lesson while she was in the door and had to take b&w photos because I couldn't get the lighting right. I've messed with exposure setting but doesn't help. I own the Rebel T1i.
Quote:
Originally Posted by aponi06 View Post
I have the on camera flash, I do not have permission to use flash (prefer not to), I have not tried shooting in RAW, and not familiar with the concept of white balance.

I usually go to shows where my friends are showing and get photos of them (get asked to tag a long).

I'm, unfortunately, still not sure if you are wanting to shoot with flash or not. If you will clear that up and will try and offer a couple more comments.

For now, my immediate advise is that you go out and purchase "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson. Secondly, consider shooting in RAW and all the benefits this will provide you in processing your images. This is especially important in shooting indoor horse shows in crappy light. It will provide you a lot of latitude in post processing especially for exposure, noise reduction and white balance. There are all sorts of resources on the web on how to process RAW images.

If you don't have a RAW processor like Adobe Lightroom, the software that came with your camera, DPP, is a great one and free. The Canon Learning center has an excellent video tutorial on how to use it.

Lastly, go to some of the web resources on White Balance. This is an extremely important concept when shooting indoors under artificial lights.

HTH, and will try and offer a little more when you clear up about flash use.

Last edited by matonanjin : 31st of July 2011 (Sun) at 22:58.
matonanjin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th of August 2011 (Tue)   #10
acroberts
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 55
Default Re: Equine Photographers, help?

Quote:
Originally Posted by matonanjin View Post
And also to start you may find my recent blog about my lighting system for shooting horse shows helpful.
Thanks for sharing your setup and the time that you put into this piece - great stuff!
acroberts is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th of August 2011 (Tue)   #11
matonanjin
Goldmember
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Omaha, NE
Posts: 2,378
Default Re: Equine Photographers, help?

Quote:
Originally Posted by acroberts View Post
I have shot indoor horse shows, but was told not to use flash, especially indoors, as it can spook horses who are not used to flash photography.

I ended up shooting with my Xti in shutter mode at 1/250th or faster (to stop the action) at ISO800 with an 85mm f/1.8.

You will find the cameras setting itself up to shoot pretty wide open in a dark barn with this kind of approach, so keep in mind that you will lose some depth-of-focus if taking head-on shots, so set your AF point to the rider's head.

Any option to spend a hundred bucks before the show and use your first show as a learning experience?

Grab a 50mm f/1.8 and shoot pictures as they pass by on the rail.

And you'll use the 50mm for all kinds of learning stuff down the road, so it is definitely not money lost...
I rarely shoot an indoor show anymore without flash. But I shoot mostly western horses and there tends to be less paranoia about using flash with them. When I am told not to use flash by a show manager I am always tempted to point out all the parents with their dslr's along the rail!

And you saw my system for flash. It is always way up in the stands and unlikely to spook a horse. However, I am the first to admit this subject of using flash at horse shows remains controversial even among us horse show photographers.

A minor point but I always focus on the horse's shoulder rather than the rider's head. It is larger and so you are less likely to lose it when the horse is running. And it is in the same plane of focus so if you get the shoulder you should get face in focus.


Quote:
Originally Posted by acroberts View Post
Thanks for sharing your setup and the time that you put into this piece - great stuff!
Thank you. Glad you found it interesting.
matonanjin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th of September 2011 (Mon)   #12
Mortz
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: West Yorkshire
Posts: 1
Default Equine Portrait Photographer West Yorkshire

Equine portrait photographer

Quote:
Originally Posted by aponi06 View Post
I've been asked by a few friends who show in an indoor ring but have no idea how to get those good pictures with flash.

I went to a friends lesson while she was in the door and had to take b&w photos because I couldn't get the lighting right. I've messed with exposure setting but doesn't help. I own the Rebel T1i.
I'll try keep this reply as clear and concise as possible and cover the areas in the problem above. The things I speak about in this post are from my personal experience as an equine photographer, and examples of my work are available at http://www.robertalexanderphotography.co.uk

Firstly, lets cover lighting. There are two ways in which you could light these as with any subject, natural light or flash. I notice that you mentioned flash in your problem. However, when photographing at a show I would suggest that using flash would not be suitable as it may cause the horses to spook/act up whilst showing and this of course would put some of the more nervous horses at an unfair advantage during the show and would affect the placings and cause all sorts of trouble. For me in a show situation natural light would be the only option as you need to be unobtrusive so as not to distract the competitors/judges/audience etc. Using natural light in an indoor arena which can quite often be a little bit dark of course throw up certain issues when photographing on a camera with limited ISO capability as your shutter speed can be quite slow.
This however isn't such a problem as it may first seem, I have many shots taken on a 70-200mm lens where I have purposely set a slow shutter of 1/40th of second and the head of the horse has remained perfect sharp. These slow shutter speeds create a great sense of motion through the blur of the horses legs as well as the background blur. How you achieve this is by panning at the same speed as the horse when it is directly across from you. This principle of course doesn't work when the animal is heading away from you or towards you but when it is heading from left to right or right to left e.g down the side of the arena directly across from you. Using this slow shutter speed will of course result in some blurry images as the horse moves it head around in some of the gaits. However Some shots will convey this great sense of motion. I've even photographed horses at a shutter speed of 1/20th of a second in order to really convey a the speed and power of the animal. These slow shutters do get some stunning results but there will be a high failure rate too. Depending on what ISO your camera is capable of in order to get an acceptable image you may also be able to get a high enough shutter speed in order to freeze the motion, however panning with the horse will still be important in order to get sharp images. And of course remember to shoot off plenty of frames whilst the horses are in walk as these will be the ones that give you the most chance of sharp images due to the slower movements of the horses. The main thing is to practice panning your camera with moving subjects. Go out and practice with a slow shutter speed on anything that moves. Cars are an obvious choice.

Lastly it is possible to photograph horses using flash as you can see from my website, the most striking images are used creating off-camera flash. Using on camera flash wouldn't have the same effect as it wouldn't be as controllable as a very directional flash head is used so that it is just the horse that is picked out by the flash and not all the grass in front. Also a lot of time has to be taken with the animal in order to make sure that it is desensitized to the flashes and that it wont spook whilst trying to photograph it.

So to sum up, get out there and practice panning your camera with moving objects! keep the object in the center of the frame as you pan! Use slow shutter speeds on the objects your panning with, start with a higher shutter speed when you start out and once you start getting crisp and sharp images lower the shutter speeds gradually and see how slow you can shoot a passing car etc. It really is something that has to be practiced! Remember that noise from using higher ISO in order to get a faster shutter speed in order to freeze the horses motion can always be removed in the edit. The most important thing to your friend will be getting the shot! Also pose a few photographs of your friend and the horse together outside in the light after the event!

Good luck!
Mortz is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Equine Photos aponi06 Pets 4 24th of July 2011 (Sun) 09:46
One Day Event (equine) shortsport Sports 4 23rd of June 2011 (Thu) 09:04
equine photography devster944 Sports Talk 11 10th of March 2010 (Wed) 18:01
Equine Portraits Tony The Pony Wildlife 0 21st of November 2006 (Tue) 22:06
Equine Photography, 20D or XT? courtknee202 Canon EOS Digital Cameras 6 22nd of October 2005 (Sat) 11:27


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 00:32.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.12
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
This forum is not affiliated with Canon in any way and is run as a free user helpsite by Pekka Saarinen, Helsinki Finland. You will need to register in order to be able to post messages. Cookies are required for registering and posting. HTML in messages is not allowed, plain website addresses are automatically made active by the board.