Member Spotlight: Quality Equestrian Photography – Equine Portraiture

July 12th, 2023
girl with her horse in a field of yellow flowers by Ruby Douglas

This month we had a glimpse into the process of creating equine portraits with Zenfolio member Ruby Douglas of Quality Equestrian Photography. Ruby is a 15 year old equine photographer based in England who started her photography journey a little over 2 years ago. She made her business official in 2022 and created her Zenfolio website both as a portfolio and a way to share images with clients.

As someone who loves animals and has been around horses since she was 5, but never loved being the center of attention, she found photographing horses and equine events to be the perfect balance of the two. Ruby shared: “For me, taking photos is an escape; I can hide behind the lens and I get to witness these beautiful moments between horse and rider without having to be in the spotlight. I can’t wait to see what photography brings me this year and over the next few years, and how my work continues to improve!”

The making of: an equine portrait.

I chose this image because it’s a picture that I knew I’d love to have of me and my horse; it’s timeless and holds such a special bond between my two subjects. This photo was in fact the last photo that I took of one of my sponsored riders and her horse, as she is now selling him, and so I was especially happy with the way it captures their bond. For this photo, I had to crouch right down on the floor to capture the flowers in the frame, as they were quite small. I also lowered my exposure and ISO before lying on the floor to make sure that the sky wasn’t too bright, while making sure I captured the yellow effect of the flowers. I love the bokeh effect that they created.

Ruby Douglas horse and rider
Photo Credit: Quality Equestrian Photography by Ruby Douglas

Culling and processing the images.

Once I download the photos to my laptop, I have 3 stages of culling and processing; I sort through them once to get rid of any photos with unchangeable aspects (out of focus or blurry), and I then go through and take out the photos where either horse or rider don’t look relaxed or happy. My final stage relies upon my client; I send over a watermarked gallery for them to pick their favourite shots and then I edit and adjust those as needed.

I like to keep my photos as natural as possible in regards to editing, I usually bring up the brightness and colour and remove any objects that divert from the attention of the subject. However, sometimes I like to play around and experiment with different lighting and exposure.

You can see more of Ruby’s work on her equine portrait portfolio website, and follow along on her Instagram account.

Camera: Canon EOS 7D

Lens: Canon EF-S18-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS

Exposure: 1/500s, f5.6; ISO 200

Where: Ion Farm, Bedford, UK

Ruby Douglas horse and rider favorite


  • Amanda W

    Amanda is the Content Marketing Specialist at Zenfolio and the Owner/Photographer of Wild Orchard Studios photography. A BFA graduate from Maine College of Art and Design and professional Portrait, Family, and Branding photographer for over 10 years, she thoroughly enjoys drawing from her experiences to guide new photographers as they are starting out. Amanda lives in the wilds of Maine with her husband and two imaginative daughters. If there’s such a thing as too much dark chocolate, she hasn’t heard about it.

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