Tips for Photographing Horses (or dogs) in the Snow


I love photographing horses in the snow, the contrast between the horses color against the beautiful white snow makes a photograph stand out.

However, this can be tricky, and you need to make sure you have the right settings in your camera.

It is hard for your camera to meter the bright snow and the dark horse. If you meter for the snow, the horses will be too dark, and if you meter for the horses, your meter will want to make the snow to a medium grey and not white.

So what do you do?

Meter for the horse and then use Exposure compensation and add 1 or 2 stops up. This way the snow will be white and bright, and your horses will be just the right color.

You should take a look at your histogram before you shoot to make sure you do not blow out the snow. You want to have details in the snow and the horses.


Another thing to think about is if the sun is out, set your ISO to 100 or 200. Snow is very reflective, and so you will not see the extra light.

If the horses are running.

This brings another challenge with settings. You are going to want to have your shutter speed set at 1500 or higher. However, the higher the Shutter speed setting will cause less light to reach your camera sensor. So again check your histogram and if it is too much to the left (dark side) raise your ISO higher.

I would use an Aperture of F. 5.6 to f. 8 depending on how far away you are standing and how many horses you are photographing.

If the snow is falling be sure you have a lens hood on your camera, so the snow does not get on your lens.

If your camera or lenses are not weather-proof, you may need to have a plastic bag over them to protect them.

Also if it is frigid, you will need to have extra batteries and watch the battery gage. Batteries drain a lot more in the cold than heat.

I keep my extra batteries close to my body to keep them warm. Even if they are in your camera bag, they will drain if they get too cold.

So next time you have that beautiful snow falling, grab your camera and get out and shoot.

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