Why are indoor equestrian photographs all grainy?

In Equestrian by mike weeks

Why are indoor equestrian photographs all grainy? A question that I get asked quite often is why the images from many other equestrian photographers do not appear sharp when taken indoors?

The real answer is that only a few years ago it would have been impossible to take the pictures on film that we now take with Digital Cameras, but even some of these are not very good.

The problem is that in the very low light of an indoor equestrian centre the camera has to amplify (magnify) the light many many times to make an image and most cameras just do not do the job well enough. Just because a photographer tells you they have spent £1,000 on a camera does not mean that they will do this well as the cameras used by professional equestrian photographers will cost a lot more to do this work well.

The other problem is the lighting within the equestrian centres which can vary greatly with different light levels and different light sources. The very best equestrian centres have very expensive lighting centres which are prohibitive at most centres so we as photographers have to deal with what we have.

Each type of light has a different effect on the colours in the photo and again it is only the best equipment that can actually deal with such issues. Mixing daylight from clear panels in the roof with the different electric lights makes it further more complex to deal with succesfully.

It is very difficult to know which cameras perform well in these conditions so the only thing you can do is ask to see actual images taken in the conditions where your competition will be held. This image was recently taken at Sparsholt under conditions where many cameras would definitely struggle, but I hope you agree that this is an example of how it can be done.

Equestrian Image taken in Low Light with a Professional Camera

Equestrian Image taken in Low Light with a Professional Camera