Matthew Seed’s website is simply called Horse Photographer. Not only does that describe what Matthew does, it also says something about his humble approach and the respect he shows for the animals he photographs.
It was for this very reason that Matthew avoided using flash for many years.
“I started out not using flash at all,” says Matthew. “I thought the horses wouldn’t like it. But I soon got bored of doing that, and my personal view on photography is that it’s all about controlling light. I know the landscape guys would say different, but for me the thrill is having that control and painting with it.”
So Matthew equipped himself with a set of Profoto lights and started to gradually test the horses’ reactions. He photographed lots of horses with all kinds of different temperaments, from friendly cobs to hot blooded race horses. To Matthews big surprise, the horses accepted the flash light very quickly. In fact, some even became inquisitive of the flash heads.
“I’m using Profoto lights because of the amazing quality. I will never forget when I first used them. To be honest, I though half the talk of quality of light was sales patter. But that was until I plugged in my first head, and I’ve used them ever since. On top of that there’s the Light Shaping Tool, which are right up my street. I look at them like an artist does his pallet. What kind of light do I want to paint with today?”
Is it hard to photograph horses?
“Lighting horses with flash is the hardest thing to light in the world,” says Matthew “Imagine a fashion shoot where the model is 4 times bigger than you, not happy you’re there, and able to squash you in a heartbeat. Then you put a flash in its face and hope for the best. Oh, and all the time it’s trying to mess you up by constantly moving!”
Written by Matt Wilson