Horse Photography: What to do with no good backgrounds?

Carol WalkerBlog

Girl and her horse just inside the barn

Have you ever found yourself going to a location to shoot photos of a horse, and being disappointed when you arrive by the backgrounds?  I have been to some farms that have lots of clutter and no pretty views or trees.  At that point, I need to get creative.

Just inside the barn, a girl kisses her horse

One of my favorite options is to use the barn.  You can use the side of the barn as a background if it is plain, and sometimes and old barn will be really beautiful.  Or, you can use inside the barn.  If you get your subject just inside the barn, looking out, and you shoot from outside the barn, then inside the barn will go black making a perfect uncluttered background.  Make sure you expose for the horse and/or person, not the barn interior. 

Looking out from inside the barn, a girl braiding her horse

Another option is to shoot from inside the barn, with your subject just inside the door – they will be a silhouette, which can be very beautiful. You can expose for outside, and your subject will be dark. When you are processing the photo, you can bump up the contrast to increase the drama. If you like, you can also convert the image to black and white.

Paso Fino stallion and his rider just inside the barn