At one point or another, most serious equestrians have had to sell a horse. A set of high-quality sale horse photos can make a difference in the speed of your sale and, often, the price.

Think about the last time you scrolled through sale horse listings. What made you stop and look closer at a certain horse? What made you keep scrolling without stopping? My guess is that it was the image that made you stop first and the text second when it comes to taking a closer look.

As a seller, you have a split second to make a good first impression. So ask yourself. What impression are you making with the images you are putting out there about the horse you are trying to sell?

High-quality sale horse photos stress the best qualities of the horse. Low-quality or blurry photos can cost you money. Images that have a horse with a giant head, toothpick legs, and extra-long backs…

Hello, I see you, cell phone pics!

So let’s take a look at some ways you can improve your chances of selling your horse.

Using a Horse Photographer for your Sale Horse Photos


There are thousands of horses for sale at any given time.

And, with all the scrolling we do, our brains are on information overload.

Given that, we are trained to stop scrolling when something catches our eye. And 9 times out of 10 that “something” is a picture.

If you want people to READ about your horse, you have to stop the scroll and catch their eye. This is where a professional equine photographer comes into play.

Professional horse photographers have the skill, experience, and specialized equipment necessary to create stunning images that will make your sale horse stand out from the rest.

Professional sale horse photos will help more eyes see your horse.


If you don’t stop the scroll, no one will read about how amazing your horse is.

And, the more eyes that see your horse, the more that read about your horse.

And the more that read about your horse, the more people who want to talk to you about your horse.

Thus, making a sale of your horse much more likely.


A Note about Professional Horse Photographers…


I am always going to advocate for using a professional horse photographer when it comes to pictures of your horse.

There are a few reasons why.

First, you are going to have a photographer with the right education, knowledge, and gear. A professional equine photographer will know how to make your horse look his or her best.

Secondly, you want people to know you are a seller that takes your horse, their health, and their well-being seriously. By using high-quality correct images, people recognize that you take your job as their caregiver earnestly. And, that you are a higher-quality seller looking for a high-quality buyer. After all, you want your horse to go to a good home.

Third, and this is very important, editing sale horse images should be minimal. Sale horse photos should show what the horse actually looks like. And by using a professional equine photographer they will know how to feature your horse’s best assets without additional editing.


I also want to make sure that you understand that when it comes to photography, just because someone calls themselves a professional, it doesn’t mean they actually are one.

After all, unlike a doctor, there is no test or certification that all professional photographers have to pass in order to be a professional photographer.

That is what makes it so important that you ask questions of a horse photographer BEFORE you book him or her.

Now, you are probably thinking, “Well, I don’t know what to ask? How would I know if someone is a professional or not?”

No worries! I know what to ask.

And, even better, I’ve created a free guide for you to download so you know exactly what to ask too. The guide even has places for you to make notes when you talk with potential photographers.


Preparing your Horse for Sale Photos


Picture this: You’re looking for a horse and find one online that sounds good. You spring for the cost of traveling across the country to see the horse.


When you arrive, you discover that the horse you saw online sure didn’t look the same in person.

The fact is that the horse world is a small one. And no one wants to get a reputation as someone who doesn’t show and tell the truth when it comes to the horses they sell.

Here are a few simple things that you can do to make your horse look his best for his sale photos.


Get the Pro


First, in all seriousness, consider hiring a professional horse photographer.

As I mentioned earlier, an equine photographer with the right training, education, and gear can highlight the best of your horse while minimizing flaws.

They can capture the personality and individual characteristics of your horse, which will help potential buyers connect with the animal on an emotional level.

Professional photographers also have the knowledge to utilize the best lighting and background for the photos, and can capture the horse in the most flattering poses that will accentuate its best features and make it look its best.

Professional horse photographers also should know the breed standards for various breeds. This is important to make sure your horse looks his best with minimal editing.


Not only will a well-groomed horse look better in pictures, but it will also give the potential buyer an idea of how well the horse is taken care of.

Horse Show Day Clean


Secondly, the horse should be clean – squeaky clean and groomed. Grooming also helps to create a good first impression for potential buyers, which can be very important when selling a horse.

Not only will a well-groomed horse look better in pictures, but it will also give the potential buyer an idea of how well the horse is taken care of. 

Think “horse show day” clean. Get those whites as white as you can, polish hooves, and clean nose and eye boogers.


Tips for Taking Photos of your Sale Horse


When it comes to taking actual photos of your sale horse, here are a few tips and things to consider.


Decent Lighting for Sale Horse Photos


Good lighting is essential when photographing a horse. While bad lighting can hide a horse’s best features, good lighting can help to bring out the details of a horse’s coat and features.

Take the time to make sure your horse is properly illuminated so prospective buyers can see what they are getting.



Positioning the Horse for Sale Horse Photos


When taking photos for sale horses, it is crucial to position the horse’s legs correctly for the breed. You should also always make sure the horse is on level ground.

Again, this is where having a professional horse photographer with knowledge of breed standards comes in super handy.

Positioning a horse for conformation sale photos can take time… sometimes lots of time. And, this can mean that the horse might need to take a break.

After all, if I asked you to stand still in a specific position for an hour, would you be able to do it? Probably not. You’d be thinking about what your friends are up to, or when your next snack is arriving too. So know in advance that the horse might need a break.

One way you can make it easier is to practice setting the feet in the specific position required for the breed. That way your horse is prepared before photo day.


Capture the Horse’s Best Features


Remember that you can’t – or shouldn’t – do much editing to photos of a sale horse.

Therefore you want to make sure that you take your photos to make sure you are capturing your horse’s best features and attributes.




When it comes to location, an uncluttered background is best.

You want a potential buyer to be able to see the horse.

You don’t want them to struggle to find the horse or see the horse clearly.

A background that contrasts with your horse’s coloring would also be ideal. For example, place a dark-colored horse in front of a light-colored background and vice versa.

A light-colored horse placed in front of a light-colored background will cause buyers to struggle to differentiate between the horse and the background.

Betsy Bird of Ride the Sky Equine Photography spends her days doing insane things to make horses look at her. Clearly, she’s desperate for attention. Outside of acting like a total weirdo, she invests in growing her business, mentoring aspiring horse photographers, dealing with her teenagers’ angst, and planning her next big wheels-up adventure. Betsy is a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) with the organization Professional Photographers of America (PPA). The CPP designation is held by fewer than 2,500 photographers nationwide and is a hallmark of consistency, technical skill, artistry, and professionalism. Betsy specializes in creating storytelling magic for horse girls of all ages. In other words, she enjoys working with fun-spirited clients who need horse portrait photography, equestrian senior photography, and equestrian brand photography. Based in Chattanooga, TN.

These photos are copyrighted by their respective owners. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited.