Always wanted to have a go at Photo Showing? Here is a brief guide to get you started. It is great fun and may be lucky to get placed and win some prizes!
Step 1: How to choose your photo stars
First, decide on which models you would like to show. The best way I find to do this is choose your personal favorites (we all have our own!) and or the best finished ones- i.e. the models with no scratches, rubs or obvious marks. Sometimes it is also helpful to look at the class list to see which classes would be the most suitable for the horses in your collection.
Once you have chosen your horses, you will need to “groom” them. Give them a brush with a soft cloth to remove any dust to make sure they are in tip top “showing” condition. Note: Never use furniture polish when grooming your models as it tends to ruin the paint finish.
Step 2: Create your scene
The aim of photo showing is to make your photos as realistic as possible. To create a realistic photo you will need a background to take photos of your model against. The best method is either against a background- i.e. a blown up photo/poster which is in scale with your horses or a method which I personally prefer, alfresco! By taking your pictures outside in your own garden or park on a nice sunny day will give you plenty of natural light and a much more realistic look to your photographs. When taking photos outside, just remember to make sure that you can see the horse’s hooves. If you cannot see them it means the judge of the show cannot either, possibility marking down your entry in the show. To correct this fault, simply trim down any blades of grass that obscure the hooves.
If you are using a background, the same rules apply. Make sure no household objects feature in your photos- TV maybe great to watch, but not as a starring role in your photo!
Another tip would be to try and blend your background to the foreground. This can be done with the use of fences and other props. It helps to create a seamless impression between the two and make your photo even more realistic.
Step 3: Get Camera Happy! Find a camera and get snapping!
Now that you have your set, you will need to take your photos. It always best to place a model with its mane side facing you, or position it so your models “best side” is showing. Another major thing you must remember is to make sure that the items in your scene are applicable to class and breed.
- If you are using head gear (i.e show halters) make sure that it applicable to the breed. For example, Western stock halters are great but they don’t suit Arabian horses. If you are unsure about what items of tack suit which breed, have a look in real horse books to find out. Since model horse in photos shows are judged like real horses, real horse rules apply.
- Make sure that the halter does not cover the horses eyes
- If you are using a handler in your scene, make sure the are wearing to correct clothing for the class and not obscuring the horse. If in any doubt, don’t use them!
- If you are taking performance pictures, make sure you have the correct tack and rider for the class and discipline. For example, a smartly dresses show jumper would look out of place in a western class.
Once you are happy with the overall “look”, take some pictures. Digital cameras are great for this as you can see instant results and delete the bad ones! I find it best to take a few shots of each horse and choose from different angles as then you can choose which ones you think are the best.
Step 4: Adding the Details
Now you have your photos, you’re nearly there. What you need to do now is place your and you’re horses details onto the back of the photo so that the judge knows who the photo belong to and who the horse in the photo is! I find it best to write your details onto a white self adhesive label and then attach it to the back of the photograph. It is always best to write the class numbers which you want to enter your photos in, in pencil. This way it can be rubbed out and replaced with a different number when you enter your next show. Class numbers nearly always vary from show to show.
Step 5: The last step!
All that remains is for you to send your photos to the show holder. Always remember to include a Stamped Addressed Envelope with return postage so your photos can be returned after the judging is completed. Another helpful tip is to mark the envelope “Photos Enclosed- Please do not bend” just to be on the safe side!
Now all the hard work is done, sit back and relax, and you’ll never know, you could have just created your very first winner! But remember, the most important rule of all- have fun and enjoy your models and the model horse hobby!