How to film your horse without an assistant
Horse photography Selling a horse

How to film your horse for selling7 min read

An important part of your sale ad are the photographs you include of your horse but if you want to (and you should) give even more information to prospective buyers, you should add a video or two.

The more information you provide from the beginning, the less time you’ll spend showing your horse and talking to and people who can’t afford it.

Adding a video to your sale ad will show prospective buyers how the horse moves and how he behaves while being ridden or running free.

If you’re selling a performance or competition horse, you should show footage of your horse being used for the intended activity.

So, if you’re selling a show jumper, take video of the horse being jumped both with and without a rider.

If you’re selling a dressage horse, take a video of him being put through his paces.

Tips for filming your horse for sale

  1. Ideally, you’ll use a video camera (not a smartphone) to take the video to make sure the video is a high-resolution video that shows everything clearly.
  2. Take the video on a bright day, early morning and late afternoon usually have the most gentle and flattering light, while noon has bright light with start shadows.
  3. Put the sun behind the camera or your horse will be a silhouette and barely visible. Putting the sun behind the camera also avoids any glare in the lens.
  4. Groom your horse and clean your tack to make them look presentable for the pictures. Make sure the tack fits properly and that the rider is dressed smartly.
  5. Remove unnecessary objects from the area you’re going to film in to make sure it doesn’t look cluttered.
  6. Film the horse doing everything you’re going to mention in the ad.

Should you use a tripod when filming your horse?

If you’ve got a tripod, use it. Hand-held filming will always be shakier than if you use a tripod.

It doesn’t matter if you’re using a phone, digital camera or DSLR camera – use the tripod if you’ve got one.

It doesn’t matter if the tripod is a tall or short one, the extra support it provides will make all the difference.

If you’re using a small tripod, you can always prop it up on a table or level surface, such as a couple of boxes stacked on top of each other.

You can also find tripods with bendy legs that will easily wrap around branches, fences or other support structures.

How to film your horse using a tripod

Mount the camera on the tripod and make sure that you loosen the screw which allows the platform to move from side to side so that you can follow the horse when it moves around the designated area.

Remember, the idea is to try and have the horse take up at least 50% of the shot so that it’s not too far away.

As your horse moves slowly pan (turn left or right) the camera to follow the horse. Try keeping your horse in the centre of the shot as much as possible.

If your horse goes out of the shot, don’t make a quick, sudden jerk to get it back into view. Keep following it at the same steady pace until your horse is in frame again.

You can always edit out the shots where your horse is out of the frame for a long time.

When you’re setting up the filming area, it’s a good idea to limit it as much as possible, so that your horse can’t run off and become a spec in the shot.

Cordon off a small area that allows your horse enough space to move and show his skills, but not so big that you constantly have to swing the camera to keep your horse in the shot.

I don’t recommend using zoom a lot while you’re filming. Pick a level of zoom where you can clearly see your horse in the shot but that also allows for some movement. Constantly zooming in and out is incredibly annoying to watch and can send off a lot of good buyers.

How to film your horse without a tripod

If you haven’t got a tripod, you can still get some fairly decent footage by simply using yourself to stabilise the camera.

Hold your camera with both hands to make it as steady as possible. If you have a large lens or if you’re using a DSLR, hold the camera with your right hand on the right side and from underneath the lens with your left hand (this prevents it from tipping down).

Also, when using a camera with a strap, it’s a good idea to wrap the strap around your right arm. This way, if the camera slips out of your hand, it won’t smash to the ground.

Tuck in your elbows and lean them into your own body and take a wide, steady stance – typically with one foot a bit in front. You can even lean back a bit, bending at the waist to get more stability.

You can also sit or crouch down if that is more comfortable and gets you a steadier shot. Remember, you’re going to be here for a while so get comfortable!

To pan the shot from left to right, move your whole upper body as one and turn from the waist – you got it – just as if you were the tripod!

Keep your breathing even to diminish movement from your chest and you can breathe out through your mouth to get a steadier shot. (Though if you’re filming with sound, I’d breathe quietly so that it doesn’t sound like Darth Vader is doing a voice-over!)

Edit your clips together

Finally, take all the clips you’ve filmed, choose the best ones and edit them together.

There are many free video editing tools online and free software that you can download.

Also, check if your computer or phone already comes with some kind of editing software.

Filming from the back of the horse is a fun shot, but it won’t give the buyer any information, so maybe leave that for your social media account.

Check out more ideas: How to film yourself riding or working with your horse

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