Of all the shoots that I've done, photographing horses in a herd as they gallop across a pasture has to be one of my favourite.
I can never get enough of it. All of that power, motion, and energy is nothing short of mesmerizing. In fact, there has been more than one occasion where I stopped taking pictures and just watched, caught up in being a part of such a special moment.
As beautiful as it is, it can also be one of the most challenging moments to shoot. It's imperative that you think about the kind of shot that you want to capture, and then choose the best lens for the shot that you're after. Using a lens that's just wide enough to capture the whole herd in your frame can yield some pretty amazing images. Shot at a wide angle, the images can really give the viewer a sense of space, and speak to the viewer about where you were and the beauty of your location.
Use a lens that lets you shoot tighter, change where you position yourself in relation to the herd, and the results can be as equally stunning but with a different perspective. Just be careful when you place yourself this close to a herd. Your safety is the first priority. Trust me when I tell you that being trampled is not very much fun!
The challenge in shooting large groups of horses lies in the fact that there's a lot going on, and usually very quickly, but there are some things that you can do to get the shots that you want. Here are a few tips:
1. Think about the shots that you want to get beforehand. If you go in with a clear vision, you'll be better prepared with the right lens, angle, and position in relation to the herd.
2. If you plan on shooting tight, look for groups of horses that are on the move together and focus on them. When herds move, there are almost always small groups that will move together. Photographing small groups quite often makes for a more powerful and dramatic shot than a single horse.
3. BE SAFE. No shot is worth getting injured over.
As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to drop me a line. Now get out there and have some fun shooting!