When you look at great photography, what is it that captures your eye? It may depend on your taste and interests, but unless you’re a landscape photographer, it’s usually the subject, up close to the frame that grabs your attention. I will be the first to tell you that beautiful imagery of yourself and your horse or your dog can be captured in some locations that at first you might go, really? Yes, we photographers can work with a lot of scenarios and you'd be surprised to find that you don't need sweeping vistas to capture pleasing, beautiful photography. Here are some features that I bet you can find in your area:
A road. Sometimes even the gravel driveway going up to your barn can provide a really pleasing line of sight to your eye. It gives more context to a picture and let's the viewer's mind wonder, where are they? Where does that lead? In the photo below, I absolutely love how the road disappears out of sight.
2. Leading lines. It could be a fence line or line of trees, leading lines draw the viewer's eye to the subject and can provide balance and an anchor to the photo's composition. Also shown in the photo below is the rule of thirds. Cut your image into equal thirds and then place your subject in one of them. It is, for some reason, most satisfying to the eye if the subject is positioned as such.
3. Great Lighting. This tip isn't a where as much as a what. Lighting is always the most important thing in photography, even more so than the location. You can have a great location, but if the light is hitting the subject from the wrong direction, or it too harsh or too faint, your photo just won't get that je ne sais quoi. Don't worry, your photographer will know all about this and choose the best spot on the property for this reason. It is also why portrait sessions are scheduled during the golden hour, when the angle of the sun's rays are softer.
In the examples below, the sun peaking through foliage behind the subject is very pleasing to the eye with what we call a bokeh (or blur) effect in the photo. It should be noted that only particular professional level camera lenses can produce this effect due to their length. Often times it's what makes a professional's photos stand out from the rest. All the images in this post were taken with a Canon mirrorless RF 70-200mm lens, at various lengths.
Whether you're looking around your local stable for some great backdrops for your upcoming photo session or you're a hobby photographer working on your craft, I hope these tidbits prove useful!