Unless you are a giant or are standing on a concerningly high podium, there's a good chance you would not be looking down on a real horse when photographing it. Seems like common sense, right? However, many peoples' first instinct when photographing a model horse outside is to put the model on the ground, stand up or squat next to it, and take the picture.
Presenting one of my earliest model horse photos, taken exactly five years ago according to the EXIF data (yikes, it's been that long?!)
|I had just turned 13. Don't look at me.|
There's a LOT wrong with this photo that I could talk about, but today we are just going to focus on the angle. Trust me, we'll revisit this photo and other circa 2008 gems in future installments.
Anywho, as you can see, just the angle of this photo makes it look quite unrealistic. As I said earlier, rarely do people take photos of real horses looking down upon them. If realism is your goal, you have to make sure the angle is level with the horse, or in some cases below it if you're feeling fancy.
Yes, that means you're going to have to lay on the ground on your stomach if you want to get the angle right. If you're squeamish about whatever the heck is down in that grass or just want to be comfortable, bring out a beach towel to lay on. Aim, focus, and fire, and remember, the viewfinder is your friend. If you got the angle right, your photo should hopefully come out looking something like this:
|Ah yes, much better. See, he's charging right at you!|
You don't even need a fancy DSLR to practice this technique - it can be used with any camera from your iPhone to a point-and-shoot. This simple fix is one of the most important steps in giving your model horse photos that extra edge.