The ‘Perfect’ Jumping Photo
Photography has always been a huge passion of mine and the ‘perfect’ shot is what all us photographers dream to achieve. But what does make the perfect shot? For me its all about capturing that special memory, for others it may be getting the angle correct this time and yet for someone else it may be something completely different. ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ making photography a very unique and creative process. This blog is all about achieving the ‘perfect’ jump shot , without necessarily needing all the top gear!
By no means am I a professional, so be aware my tips may not be correct or by the book so to speak, but this is how I like my jumping photos so I thought id share my process to getting the final image!
Backgrounds: You can’t always just pick a jump up and move it so the background looks pretty but if you can, get moving! Although not the star of the show the background still plays a big part in the photo. Too crowded and your eyes are distracted from the horse and rider, too dark and your dark horse gets lost and vice versa. The ideal background would be something relevant to shot for example open fields, a tree line , even a busy crowd of spectators if properly focussed on the main subject (the jumping horse) would look great and really set the scene. Sometimes, especially equine event photography you have to make the most of what you’ve got which leads me onto photo angles.
Angles: Angle’s of shots can make a huge difference! The exact same horse and rider combination over the exact same fence at the exact same time from 5 different angles would make a series of completely different photos! Play around and find your style! Some jumps work better with different angles but as a rule of thumb try and get your camera to point level with the horses chest , this also helps with focusing. I love a slightly upwards and diagonal shot, it gives a good all round image showing lots of the horse, rider and fence but also shows the size and power of the horse! Perfect for the wider cross country phase jumps!
Perfect timing: Achieving the perfect timed jump shot can be tricky but not impossible. To begin with try using continuous sports mode which takes multiple photos with one click. Find your favourite photo out of the continuous shots and aim to capture that photo on single shooting. Watching horses over similar jumps helps with the timing or I like to count the strides to get a rough idea of when the take off point will be and depending on the jump height and width a little after takeoff creates my favourite kind of jump shot. Don’t be afraid to experiment though, some of my favourite shots are the mid landing phase!
The technical bit: Depending on your level of photography will depend on whether this bit will be of interest. There’s a lot more to photography than a quick point and click. Instead of me going on about something some of you may have no need to know or some of you may already know it’s easier for me to just say that its worth reading around ISO (how sensitive the camera is to light), aperture (size of opening lens) , shutter speed (how long the shutter stays open), exposure (how light/dark) , aspect ratio (height to width ratio), depth of field (how much of image is in focus) and you’ll probably find a few other basic phrases which are key to a perfect photo!
Editing: After achieving all the correct camera settings, once you dare to shoot manual there’s also sometimes the editing process involved. Depending on what the shot is going to be used for , this may take hours! My favourite jump shots are normally sharp and bright, with a slight background blur adding emphasis to horse and rider combination. Again , not always! I do love to play around with the editing and end up with all sorts of different effects!
I hope this blog inspires you to get out there and get snapping! Don’t worry if you don’t have all the gear and equally don’t worry if you have all the gear and no idea, there’s always time to learn! I can’t wait to see your photos, make sure you send them to either my instagram @little_ginger_pony or get in touch via my photography instagram @mjphotos_ which also has a brand new website link!
Thank you for reading,