Jack Schatzberg...photographs and talks about horses

Questions and Answers


Hi Jack,

I need some help, I am self taught regarding taking horse photos. Please go to my web site and look at the horses for sale page as this will let you see what I am trying to accomplish.

I am using a Cannon Rebel 2000 with a 70-200mm F/2.8L USM EF lens, I am doing ok I guess but I feel like I could get a much better look to my photographs if I had more light, I have been trying to learn about flashes and I am totally confused at this point what I could use that would work with this lenses and camera body.

I would like to accomplish a better look to the hair coats on my horses, an overall better and brighter look to the photos of my for sale horses.

I hate to bother you and have put off asking you as I am sure you are busy but due to looking on your web site I know that you would know what I would need to do to improve my photos and get a better overall look to the horses.

Thank you and looking forward to hearing from you.

Penny Cates


Dear Penny,

Thanks for the E-mail.....I looked at your site and was impressed both by the site and your photographs. In the "Horses for sale" section, your lighting is generally OK, But, photographically, you need to remember that horses have FOUR legs. Many of the photos would be MUCH improved if all four legs of the horse were visible. Since you breed and sell "western type" horses, check the pages your national publications, study them carefully and see how professional photographers manage to have all four legs visible in their photos.

As far as the photos in your "leased horses" section, they do need more light. I don't want this to get too complicated, but your Canon Rebel has a flash synchronization speed of 1/90 of a second. That means that if you set your camera speed at 1/90th of a second, a flash unit, like the Canon 420 EX, will cover the entire negative with fill-flash in addition to the light already on your subject. Normally, you would be using a faster shutter speed, but I believe you can safely shoot a standing horse at that shutter speed and not get any movement if you hold the camera properly. Please, check your manual...holding a camera properly will allow you to shoot without movement of the subject at slower shutter speeds. Set your camera on TV, which is shutter speed priority, and set the speed at 1/90th. The flash will then fill the subject horse with the flash highlights you want and incidentally give you a much greater depth of field then at the faster shutter speeds. You need to remember, however that the flash will only carry no more than 30 feet or so.

Also, when shooting western halter horses, make sure that the lens is BELOW the level of the horse's heart. That will show the horse to be taller than if the camera were held above that point.

I hope this helps, please let me know.

Subject heading: Flash Problems
Posted: Sep 2002
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