Live Action Horse Racing Photography, with Dave Black

Join Dave Black on location at Tampa Downs and learn how to photograph horse racing from one of the top sports photographers in the world!

Dave gets up early to document everything that happens in the course of a day at a working racetrack, while sharing tips and tricks he’s learned over a career that spans 30 years. You’ll learn about all the gear he uses, how to set up a remote camera, the importance of choosing the background in each of your shots, why you should focus on the small details as much as the wider panorama to help tell the story, and so much more!

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Course Lessons:

Lesson 1: Introduction and Gear (Duration 10:53)

Join Dave on the track as he introduces the class and goes over the gear he is going to use for the shoot.

Lesson 2: Gear Continued (Duration 08:40)

Dave wraps up his gear overview.

Lesson 3: Pre-dawn Start (Duration 09:28)

The day at the track starts in the early morning hours, and Dave is on location ready to capture the pre-dawn activity.

Lesson 4: Working in Low Light (Duration 05:32)

Shooting before sunrise requires creative approaches to locking in focus and working with available light.

Lesson 5: Capturing Details (Duration 07:48)

Capturing close-up details helps to tell the story of the place as much as the wide panoramic shots.

Lesson 6: Choosing a Vantage Point (Duration 06:21)

Look behind the action and make sure your background is free of distraction.

Lesson 7: Setting up a Remote Camera (Duration 07:00)

Dave walks through the gear and the process of setting up a camera to be positioned and triggered remotely.

Lesson 8: Placing the Remote Camera (Duration 15:37)

When placing a remote camera you need to work within the rules and guidelines of the property owners.

Lesson 9: Top of the Stretch (Duration 07:18)

The top of the stretch is Dave's favorite place to shoot horse racing.

Lesson 10: At the Start and the End (Duration 02:58)

Timing is that hardest part of shooting the start of the race.

Lesson 11: Including Environmental Features (Duration 00:58)

Little details around the track help to fill out the story of a day at the track.

Lesson 12: At the Paddock (Duration 03:50)

There are lot's of color and crowds around the paddock as horses are paraded around before the start of a race.

Lesson 13: Panning (Duration 03:35)

Panning the camera at a slow shutter speed is a great way to show the subject in motion.

Lesson 14: Shooting at the Finish Line (Duration 04:10)

Choosing your background is always an important consideration while waiting for the race to start.

Lesson 15: Image Review and Selection (Duration 06:45)

Dave shares his process for making his selects at the end of a shoot.

Lesson 16: Review and Selection Continued (Duration 15:56)

The process of choosing your selects is almost a skill unto itself.

Lesson 17: Wrap Up (Duration 03:27)

Dave wraps up the class with a review of what was covered before leaving the track.

Meet Your Instructor: Dave Black

As a freelance photographer for over 30 years Dave's work has primarily centered on the sports industry for such publications as Sports Illustrated, Time, Newsweek and the award winning TV…


  1. Another fantastic class by Dave Black. I liked all of the different situations he used so that no matter what equipment you own you will find something you can use. Also liked the review so that we can see what works, what doesn't and that every shot is not a keeper.

  2. Just watched Dave Black's course and it's amazing. He really knows how to get the most out of the situations and adapting with different lenses and styles. I could watch Dave Black all day long!!

  3. Absolutely marvellous course. Very well Dave Black as a teacher he es so passionate and simple for explaining, hope to see more of him very soon...all the structure of the course was excellent...same as real life. Thatīs always the way the courses should be. Grab a bunch of good tips for my sports photography! One thing that itīs important a not metion regular in the courses is how to focus, wich feature we have to use for each case, for a Nikon camera we have Continuos Focus but do Dave uses single point, 9 points, 21 points, 51 points, 3D...., the point was placed on the center? It moves to the side depends of the composition? Those kind of things are little details that I think are very important. And this is not only Daveīs it applies for all the teachers. You should do a course focus on the process to get Focus! ,)

  4. Big fan of Dave Black and all his Kelby content. Very thorough and well put together. Hits on all the things that will make you better right out of the gate (no pun intended). Liked his documentary approach because so much goes on in the barn area, or at clockers corner during workouts... the paddock area, grandstands, winners circle... they're all great places that offer fantastic image opportunities. Liked how he demonstrated how to get through the day while addressing challenging lighting scenarios. Went from very low light, to midday light, to afternoon lighting conditions with great recommendations on how to deal with each condition. Track etiquette is very important and I'm glad he talked about it as he went through the day. Very well done.... again!

  5. Dave Black is brilliant. I get so much out of his classes. If I could have a day with any photographer in the world he'd be on my shortlist. Thanks.

  6. I have been around race tracks a good part of my life, but I have struggled to capture a good racing picture. But with Dave's tips I hope to do a better job. Thanks Dave for going through equipment, shutter speed, ISO, F-stops, etc. Especially the part of what makes a good racing picture.

  7. This is a tremendous class. Dave Black is one of my favourite instructors because he knows his subject and gets his message across with clarity and speed. While the class is about photographing horse racing, the principles are usable in a variety of scenarios. I will be reaching out to my local race course to inquire about coming out to photograph. Inspiring!

  8. Dave Black's passion about his work can be felt through the video. I enjoy watching all of his work on Kelby Training, it is not only informative but inspiring too! Thanks Dave. Hope to see some more of your work soon.

  9. Daveīs course is fantastic! The experience of shooting in different situations, and the followed discussion about how to use different aproaches helps teach a lot about photograph in general. The "Daveīs" way of teaching inspire me to go futher in learning photography techniques. The selection of pictures is another point of interest, because, as he pointed out, you can get a lot of pictures, but some will be nice and useful in a portfolio. Nice course, as always, Dave!

  10. WOW! Now I understand why I didn't really like most of my shots from my only track experience, I will now go back and do it again since he's enlightened me on my wrongs... Thank you Kelbytraining!!

  11. Watched this for any pointers on motorsports photography and it proved to be very useful for that purpose, not just horse racing. Very useful taking viewers through the process from start to finish of the shooting day i.e. not just action shots. I'm not a great lover of panned shots that have the main subject blurred - I like them sharp with just the background blurred - but I took Dave's comments about looking for 'points of focus' - will give it a try next time. Another great course, my first year of subscription is proving to be good value for the money.

  12. As always, Dave Black is an excellent instructor as he packs so much useful information that you can take away and implement in similar type sporting situations. Dave's teaching style is friendly and his technical demonstrations are easy to understand.

  13. Thanks Dave for such a great presentation. Lots of great ideas that I'd love to try out. Looks like the job was a little brutal on your skin as I saw it turning more red as the day progressed. I've seen a lot of your other training films and have enjoyed each one.

  14. I really enjoyed Dave Black's video on Horse Racing Photography. I viewed it on a whim, figuring that if he was good, he would present techniques I could learn from even though I am unlikely to ever shoot a horse race. I was right. He did a great job of giving techniques for many kinds of fast action events. I wish I had seen this before shooting a bike race recently. His images are beautiful and artistic and convey a range of feelings. I especially appreciated the section where he discussed and evaluated his sequences and talked through the selection process. I would like to see more of that. Very good training. I'll come back and view this again.

  15. This was an extremely useful course. I loved how Dave emphasizes getting up and getting to the location early. You can get a log of nice shots with the beautiful morning light before the racing starts, it's the details that make the day.

  16. Thank you. That was informative from the beginning to end. Appreciated the respect you showed to the track staff and the horses. I do a lot of horse photography (portraits, shows, cross country jumping etc), mostly for personal purposes, and you've inspired me to go back to our Standardbred Race track to try some of your angles and other techniques. I also hope to try a bit of motorsport photography this summer, so have tried to soak up as much of this course as possible and have made a "cheat sheet" of notes on my cell phone:)

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