It’s not easy for me to explain how I sort through my horse photographs and select the one that will be transformed into a piece of equine fine art or remain just another nice horse portrait.
Creating Horse art starts at a visceral level
After I return home from a photo shoot I am usually very excited to see the images on my computer screen. Once the files are downloaded into Photoshop I start my screening process. I delete all the images that are too out of focus and begin prioritizing the “good ones” by marking them with the star rating system in Photoshop. After the first review I have to step away from the photos and take a break until I’m ready for the second pass through and then the third pass through.
Since my focal point of the photo is the eye of the horse, that is where I inspect the most. Is the eye sharp and well lit, is the eye really looking at me and most importantly do I feel the horse’s soul connection through that eye! The bonus comes when the Horse photo also shows a beautiful flowing mane and a clean and clear back ground. Once I’ve narrowed down the real exceptional images I will devote screen time to see how I’m going to present them.
Editing the Horse Art
During the editing process I will clean up backgrounds if needed or remove dirt in the horse’s nose or flies on his face. The I have to decide the cropping ratio and how big I want to print the horse photo. Most of my horse photos are printed on canvas. I like the warmth and artistic value that the canvas conveys. I do have a few images on acrylic that have transferred well but canvas is my typical default.
I always keep in mind that the final result has to be a deep and stirring emotional horse photo that pulls the viewer into that touching and connecting moment.
Arabian Horse Photo
My latest piece of Horse Art is a photo taken of an Arabian gelding. It’s cold in Prescott, Arizona already and the horses are growing their winter coats. Regardless, a few weeks ago I photographed Tucker. It was not a beautiful open pasture and he was not even groomed and in top condition but when it comes to Arabian Horses- I just need to see their eyes and I just melt. Tucker moved in and out of the scrub oak and trees while he was being prompted by my wonderful assistants. I focused in on his face and eyes and captured several really nice horse portraits. As I worked with the photos, I thought I had found my golden nugget- the one horse photo that I could connect to on that level. My visceral horse art.
Many of my more popular and stirring horse photos are neutral colors and quite a bit of them are black and white. I find that unless the horse art can really hold it’s own in color, I prefer the effort that has to go into connecting with a black and white or neutral colored photo. The viewer is not just sold on the flashiness (not that I don’t love those too) and the vibrancy but may have to dig a bit deeper for that special connection.
Jody Miller is a professional photographer specializing in Horse Photography, Equine Photography, and Equestrian photography. Her work can be viewed online here in her gallery section, and she is also featured at these Arizona Galleries: Van Gogh’s Ear Gallery on Whiskey Row in Prescott, AZ, Hart of AZ Gallery in Cottonwood and Coops Coffee House at Talking Rock Ranch.