Photographing A Horse Wagon

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Horse drawn carriages are beautiful to look at no matter how simple they are. Their beauty comes from reliving in our minds the times past that featured them instead of cars or any motorized vehicles.

This project should feature various horse drawn carries or vehicles. It is not worth it to just concentrate on the tourist types mostly found at some big cities and which are usually highly decorated.

You can still find very good samples at most small towns and provinces as they are an economical and time tested way of transportation for people and stock.

"A carriage is a wheeled vehicle for people, usually horse-drawn; litters (palanquins) and sedan chairs are excluded, since they are wheelless vehicles. The carriage is especially designed for private passenger use and for comfort or elegance, though some are also used to transport goods. It may be light, smart and fast or heavy, large and comfortable. Carriages normally have suspension using leaf springs, elliptical springs (in the 19th century) or leather strapping. A public passenger vehicle would not usually be called a carriage – terms for such include stagecoach, charabanc and omnibus. Working vehicles such as the (four-wheeled) wagon and (two-wheeled) cart share important parts of the history of the carriage, as does the fast (two-wheeled)" Wikipedia

Focus on the various elements that make up the carriage or wagon and on the horse or horses themselves. Although close ups shots should be part of the shoot, do focus on medium shots that include the horse and the wagon.

You do not need to capture images that show the subject in its entity if the horse and the wagon or carriage are tied together since most people are familiar with them and it is better to get some interesting details in the shoot than a full life size picture unless it is not possible or the full life shot offers a better portrayal of the subject than separable distinct details would.

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Some of your photos should be of individual subjects such as only the horse and only the wagon. Wagons that have been exposed to the elements and look weathered with slight hints of paint and made from old wood make good samples and come out great in photos.

For these try to pair them against backgrounds that do not serve as a distraction but rather emphasize its old weathered looks.

For horses try to capture images with these beautiful animals wearing their harnesses as this ties them to the carriage or wagon in the mind of your photographs viewers.

You can also capture some shots that feature the silhouette of the horse and wagon against a clear night sky. These shots are very good pieces to include in a photo montage that includes several samples of these subjects.

Try to stay away from wagons or carriages that have modern equipment built onto them such as rubber tires or "bicycle" style wheels, modern headlights, antennas and so on.

Antique looking samples still exist but you may have to do a lot of researching to locate them. The more antique looking, weathered, and worn examples, the better they are so far as photography. Anything antique usually awakens the memory of a time in history when it was fashionable to make things by hand, with care and that lasted. Your photos should be another vehicle to portray this feeling to its audience.

Concentrate on the most original looking subjects that you can locate and do so with good technique and style. These are very common subjects and only very good images will be suitable to be submitted to photographic stock house and other publications.



© 2012 Luis E Gonzalez

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Comments 11 comments

Scottye Davis profile image

Scottye Davis 4 years ago

I just love the pictures! Good article!


greeneryday profile image

greeneryday 4 years ago from Some tropical country

Beautiful looking horse wagon pictures, and some nice tips on how to take photos of these wagons. I think I prefer the ones when on the run, and thank you for sharing this unique hub.


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 4 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

Scottye Davis: Thank you

greeneryday: Thank you


BLACKANDGOLDJACK profile image

BLACKANDGOLDJACK 4 years ago from Blitzburgh area

My daughter and her date arrived at the prom this past May in a such a carriage. She seemed to like it better than the other prom she attended a week earlier in a limo with numerous other couples that cost a small fortune.

Where I live there are a lot of Amish who drive horse-drawn carriages on the main roads. You can guess what the problem with this is, and I'm not talking about how slow they go or how difficult it is to see them at night. No, I'm talking about when the horses have to go number two.


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 4 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

Blackandgoldjack: Thank you...must be a messy situation...lol


Kate Mc Bride profile image

Kate Mc Bride 4 years ago from Donegal Ireland

I love anything to do with horses and carriages. Thanks for sharing such a great hub;the photos really make it easy to read. Voted up and interesting :-)


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 4 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

What - no pictures of covered wagons?! The quintessential pioneer vehicle is missing from this page! I like the buckboard, but what's that thing at the beginning? It looks like a mobile seat for a heavy driver with long legs. You could get bounced about on that contraption, couldn't you?

Over here we've got a plethora of horse-drawn vehicles that are usually assembled at country shows, such as traps, brewers' drays, hay wagons and even horse-drawn fire tenders. The animals that draw the vehicles are as varied as the 'wheels' they pull, even dog-carts from the Netherlands. Clydesdales tended to find employment on anything from hauling chains of small ironstone wagons (more like bathtubs on wheels) here - even up to the early 1950's. Some worked as 'four-legged shunters' in railway yards where there was either too little space for even a saddle tank loco, or the yard managers couldn't persuade the bosses to invest in coal-fuelled motive power. Hay-fuelled was as far as the accountants permitted! Or how about Hansom Cabs with high-stepping horses? I saw one being put through its paces today on the way out to Essex, very handsome (unfortunately I'm still camera-less)!


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 4 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

alancaster149: Sorry...here you go I just put one....lol


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 4 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

Kate Mc Bride: Thank you


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 4 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

That's the ticket! Having looked again at the stagecoach I notice it's only got two horses pulling. Two wouldn't have got them out of trouble with Inj - sorry, Native Americans chasing after them. Our stagecoaches - we had them as well, before the railways - usually had rwo, and there were mail-coaches that had four to get them along the new turnpike roads built by MacAdam. They needed four to keep time AND outrun the highwaymen like the late Mr Richard Turpin and his one-time associate 'Sixteen-string' Jack (his hose were kept up by different coloured hose suspender strings. Jack was finally 'strung up' at Tyburn on the 'three-way gallows').

*Charles Dickens was a shareholder in one company of stagecoach owners and opposed the railways being built. Not a lot of people know that.


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 4 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

alancaster149: Thank you, again

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