Jack Schatzberg...photographs and talks about horses

Questions and Answers


Dear Jack,

I admire your professional photos of horses and riders. I own a 35mm SLR camera. The lenses I own include: 28mm, 50mm, 135mm and a 100 macro. What lens and film speed would serve me best in taking pictures of my horse at my farm? What other tips could you offer an amateur photographer?

Thanks! And good work on your page -- I like the intro music!


Leanne Smith
Morgan Horse Lover!


Dear Leanne,

I recomment Fuji ISO 400 print film for outdoor horse photography. An important aspect of film use, is to use the same film all the time. In this way you become familiar with the results and know exactly what to expect from the film.

As far as the proper size lens, you must remember that any lens tends to distort the horse unless you are a long distance from the subject. Knowing this, you can use distortion to your advantage, e.g.: If you draw imaginary cross hairs at the center point of a horses body and have the lens at that point with any lens of 50mm or above will have almost no distortion. If you get down below that point, the horse will appear taller, etc., etc. Generally, you need to bend your knees and have the have the camera at the level of his heart to get better undistorted photos. Knowing the above you can use your 50mm lens to good advantage.

Each breed has a different set of requiremants for the photographer. Moving horses are almost always photographed at the trot with the inside foreleg down and basically vertical. At that point, since the trot is a two beat gait with the opposing legs operating in unison, the outside fore is at its highest point or in the case of other breeds near or approaching its longest stride.

I hope the above is of some help to you. I will be happy to answer any specific question on photographing a specific breed.

Subject heading: Selecting lens and film
Posted: Nov 1997
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