I post a lot of pictures on this blog, and often get comments asking questions about what kind of camera that I use and what settings, etc. Equine photography is something that I really enjoy doing now as a hobby, although I did briefly shoot events and private sessions professionally in North Carolina.
The trek from newbie with a low level digital SLR (single lens reflex) to a competent local pro photographerwasn’t quick or easy. I’m also not saying I’m the best photographer (I’m not) or even an above average pro (also, not) but I was able to shoot events and portraits in my area at local and schooling shows, made some money, and learned a ton. Since there seems to be some interest in the topic, I wanted to share what I learned with you.
Buy the Best Body and Lens You Can Afford
An expensive camera does not make a good picture, but you can’t make a good picture without a decent camera. You’re just not going to get the timing, depth of field, and flexibility that the pros need with a point and shoot camera. You need a digital SLR, and you need a good lens for horses.
The Canon 60D is still on more of the amateur end of the Canon Digital SLR scale, but it is my 2nd body and a big upgrade for me. It’s not a cheap piece of equipment, so for someone just embarking into the world of photography I would recommend one of the Canon Digital Rebel cameras. For years and years I shot the Rebel XT, and it was a solid little camera that served me well. You can also pick up a body for around $200-$300 these days, which is an attractive price.
Arguably almost more important than the body is the lens that you use. Ask any major equine photographer and they will tell you a 70-200mm f2.8 is the lens they use 80-90% of the time, and I will go even further and say that when I shoot horses I do not use any other lens.
They’re also fucking expense. Excuse the french, but yeah… multiple car payments. The only reason I could justify the purchase for mine was a) I chose Sigma instead of Canon (Sigma is a slightly cheaper brand), b) I bought mine used and c) I was making money shooting photos at the time.
If you want to really dive into the deep end of photography – get this lens. The reason being is that the lens has both the zoom you need for shooting horses and the settings to shoot indoor arenas and other low light situations without having to use artificial lighting. I recommend looking at BH Photo Video when shopping for a used camera or lens. They are total pros, check over all their equipment, and sell with a guarantee. You won’t get that same kind of dependability on ebay.
Next post I’ll explain what I know about settings and how I manipulate them for shooting horses in different situations. Also, let me know if this is boring or helpful because sometimes I can’t tell the difference myself 🙂 If you have any questions about settings ask here in the comments and I will do my best to answer them in the next post!