Why did you start doing photography workshops?

I started giving talks at Equine Affair, a tradeshow in Massachusetts, about how to do  amateur horse photography.

Horses are hard to photograph. You can end up with some really funky pictures. So I thought: “What are some basic tips I can give the average person?” I decided to do ½ day workshops and now I’m also offering 3 to 4-day workshops. Some of the things I teach are how to get set up with a horse? What’s the best time of day to shoot? What size lens is best? Anyone can buy a digital camera, that doesn’t mean they can use it. I’m very hands-on. I coach as I go. There is some classroom work afterwards, and I can critique the students and talk about how to edit, how to sell their work, etc. I also do private coaching at my home with my mustangs.

What is your biggest challenge in shooting unpredictable animals?

The owner. If the owner can’t handle the horse properly and get them set up for the shot it’s hard to get a good picture. If the owner is a good handler you can get a good shot.

Background is another challenge. If the background is ugly, it can be hard.  But there are things you can do. Shooting a horse in front of the barn makes an “ugly” background nice. Clients in Colorado want mountains in the background and I have to get them up early when the sun is in the right place.

What is one piece of advice you’d give someone looking to improve their horse photography skills who isn’t going to make a career out of it?

Don’t use a short lens close to the horse because you end up with an enormous head. Use a longer lens at least 100mm and step back then the horse is in proportion.


Any other tips or tricks?

Learning about horses’ behavior helps so much. If you know about horses, you’re going to have a much easier time photographing them than a photographer who has a lot of experience but doesn’t know a thing about horses.  Some horses are nervous or bored so you have to learn how to put them at ease or figure out what excites them before they’ll look pretty.

Also, think of the horse’s size. If you have a tall horse, you want to shoot from higher up. If you have a smaller horse you want to get down lower. Sometimes I’m shooting on my knees or even my belly for minis or foals.

Time of day is also important. I tell my students early morning or late afternoons are the best times to photograph.


Visit Carol’s website: www.livingimagescjw.com



Michaelanne (Mikey) Dehner grew up in Bucks County, PA and took up horseback-riding at an early age. She showed competitively before going to college to pursue a degree in Vocal Performance, focusing on opera and musical theater. Her passion for the outdoors led her to Colorado where she has lived for the past 13 years with her husband and her Siberian husky, Logan. She recently left her job in the outdoor industry to spend more time with her 2-year-old daughter. In addition to riding horses and writing, Mikey is an avid hiker, marathon runner, certified running coach and personal trainer.

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