horses with their mains braided

Learn how to create an awesome horse portrait that you can be proud of!

With an emphasis on horse portraiture and how to obtain that perfect image, you will learn how to set your horse up for the following photos:

  • Profile Head image
  • Profile Body image
  • Three-Quarter Conformation image
  • Three-Quarter Head image

Cheryl Smythe is one of the top horse photographers in North America, and will share some of her tips & tricks for obtaining that portrait that will best showcase your equine!

The following topics will also be addressed:

  • Photographing foals
  • Analyzing your horse
  • Understanding your camera
  • Choosing the right lens
  • Lighting conditions
  • Background selection

Horses will be provided to give students an opportunity to complete a hands-on photo session. To obtain additonal value from the class, please bring any recent photos that you have taken if you would like to receive personalized feedback and suggestions for improvement.

Course Details

Course Dates/Times

Next course dates TBA for 2016

Delivery Method 

On Campus - Hands-on

Course length 

One day






This class is held both on the Olds College campus as well as other locations within AB, please see dates above for specific locations available.



Other fees


Required Text & Materials 

  • Bring your digital camera, full battery and memory cards. You will be taking up to 100 images in an outdoor photo session
  • Bring proper clothing for the season & weather

Registration Deadline

Registrations are accepted as long as seats are available, however it is recommended that you register early as this class size is limited to ensure an optimal learning experience

Other details

If you have a horse that you would like to provide as a model for the class, please read the FAQ's below for more information

Frequently Asked Questions

Can youth take this course?
For our equine short courses, there is technically no age restriction. As long as a student is 13, independent (no parents along to oversee) or over and feels confident with the subject (in this case they are comfortable/experienced handling horses), then we will allow them to enroll. We have had a number of teenagers take most of the short equine courses over the years and they have been successful.

Can I bring my horse to get images of him/her during the course?
This may be possible. Each offering of the course we bring in 2-3 horses to use as models. Please feel free to contact Sarai (contact info below) to determine if horses are still required for a specific date. In order to be used as models the horses must be accompanied by a handler and: well mannered, patient, not black in color, and full size (preferably a quarter horse type breeding). 

How much photography experience do I need to have to take this course?
This course has run for 17 years with fabulous feedback from students that are just dabbling in photography through to those that are at an advanced level of skill. The instructor keeps the language as non-technical as possible in order to accommodate a wide range of learners.

What kind of camera do I need to have to take this course?
It is recommended that you have at least a mid-grade camera with a zoom lens. It is however possible to enjoy the course with a good 'point & shoot' camera - in fact, over the years, many people have taken the course with a 'point and shoot', and then chosen to upgrade their camera and take the course a second time to get to know their new camera better!

Continuing Education


Thank you Cheryl, you are an incredible teacher and you are very generous with sharing your knowledge and experiences. A very fun day!

Cheryl was excellent, lots of insights beyond the course material.

Very well presented – gave detailed feedback to each student. Excellent hand out materials too!

For More Information:

Continuing Education Department

Toll Free: 1-800-661-6537 

Olds College leads real-life, hands-on education in Canada. We help you explore your passion.