| Aug 19, 2019
We had the opportunity to interview our #HiredHandCustomer Eitan Barhum of SE Longhorn Ranch and ask him some questions about his tips and tricks when it comes to photographing Longhorns. If you're involved in the Texas Longhorn Facebook community, you've no doubt seen Eitan's photography of sharp, colorful imagery that captures viewers. It may seem like he's always in the right place and the right time, but his Longhorn photography skills come from experience, not luck. Read on to get some advice from Eitan and to learn how to improve your own photography.
Do you have any general tips and tricks for photographing Longhorns?
"Never push or stress the Longhorns, be calm, introduce yourself by talking and walking around them to make them feel comfortable around you. Never be nervous around them, they will feel you and leave the site. Most Longhorns will be easy to work with if you approach them with love and PATIENCE.
KNOW YOUR LONGHORNS. Knowing these animals helps a lot in photographing them. In most cases they don't just stand ready for their picture to be taken. We need to work with them a bit to position their body, legs, and ears all in the right way, then capture their attention so we can take a good shot. If they are chewing intensively, take many shots so a few will be captured with their mouth closed."
What kind of camera do you use?
"Nikon D3400 with a Tamron lens 70-300 auto focus."
What kind of camera did you start with?
Do you have tips on the best photo angles for animals, best time of day to shoot, best locations, etc. ?
"ANGLES: Side view and 3/4 shots are my favorites and from about 1'-2' feet from the ground (need to kneel every time I take a shot). Some breeders like the side view and some prefer 3/4 shots. The side view will show the length of the animal better, but 3/4 will show the neck area better and is a bit more artistic. When shooting, I usually take 5-15 shots of each animal with both angles. Then when viewing the photos, Sandy and I decide on the one that best represents the animal.
TIME OF DAY: I like to shoot when the sunrays can hit the body on one side fully rather than when the sun is straight overhead. When the Sun is up, you can't get the sunrays on the entire body and some parts will be shaded. That makes a big difference on how the animal's color and face will show. If you shoot when the sunrays are at an angle that will optimally be the best way to capture the animal's body, face, horns and best for the color of the animal. We also try to never interfere at times when they are laying and resting. Catching them at time when they are up and grazing is the best.
LOCATION: Working with what we have is key. We like to just shoot where they are rather than try to move them to a chosen location. Open fields are the best as it captures the animal and the horns with blue sky without a subject in the background to take away from the animals. But we don't always have that and we work with what we have. Trees in the background are OK if they are not right up and close behind the animal. Yes, there are times we move them to a chosen location to optimally get the best pics we can when the 'circumstances' are right and allows us."
Do you do any editing to your pictures before posting them online?
"We always review photos before uploading to a website or online anywhere. Most of the photos are already in the frame I like them to be when I shoot the picture, but I do minimal editing before posting if some unneeded background needs to be cut out."
What do you focus on when taking pictures for social media vs. taking pictures to sell an animal or for your Hired Hand Website?
"PICTURES TAKEN FOR SOCIAL MEDIA: It is generally all about just 'capturing the moment.' It is cute, colorful, special and heart warming, straight from your eyes to being shared with the intent to bring a smile to people's faces. No angles, positioning, ears, legs, backgrounds or any specifics, just the moment.
PICTURES TAKEN FOR YOUR HIRED HAND WEBSITE: Totally different than taking a picture for social media. It is all about showing the animal in the most professional way so that others can view the animal in the best way, i.e. showing the color, the horns, and the body. (Also, follow answers 1 and 4.)"
Any other photography advice for our readers?
"Taking pictures for your Hired Hand Website is a two person job. I could not do any of it without my perfect partner Sandy who knows the Longhorns, knows how to move them, knows how to position them, and how to capture their attention at the right moment so I can snap this picture."
View galleries of Eitan & Sandy Barhum's beautiful photography of their Longhorns and ranch life on their #HiredHandPowered website, SELonghornRanch.com
Do you have any tips for photographing your animals? Tell us below in the comments!