Tips on How to Photograph Your Goat
for Virtual Shows

Virtual shows are not the equivalent of live shows.
Judges are only able to judge the goat based on the conformation they see in the photos.
They are not able to feel the goat or watch how they track.
The virtual shows are fundraisers and do not take the place of live shows. 


Watch Your Backgrounds:

  • Keep the background of the picture as bland and uncluttered as possible.
  • Watch for things in the background that will blend in or distract from the goat -- such as a black rubber bucket in the background of a black goat.

Avoid Shadows:

  • Shadows can distract from clearly seeing your goat.

Shoot on Flat, Solid Surfaces:

  • Goats standing in grass may hide its feet and legs from the judge.
  • Goats standing on a hill or in a dip may distort the goat's structure.

Shoot from Judges Point of View:

  • Make sure your goat looks groomed. Long hair over the rump area can make the goat look higher in the rump. Long hair on the loin can change the top line, and make it look like he/she dips in the chine area.
  • Trim hooves and clip the hair above the hoof if you can. Doing this gives the judge a better view of the goat's feet.  

Shoot at the Same Level as the Goat:

  • When taking the side, front, and rear pictures of goats, get down on their level.
  • The camera should be about level with the middle of the goat's body or only slightly higher.

Use Your Camera Often and Use a Lot of Film!

  • Keep your camera handy to capture those special opportunities to get pictures of your goat.
  • Take lots of photos so you can choose only the best in which to present your goat to the judge for as accurate evaluation as possible.

Rear View

Rump, Hind Legs, Escutcheon, and Thighs


  1. Rear hocks should be directly under pin bones to show:
    a) width from thigh to thigh,
    b) width between hocks, and
    c) the straightness of the legs.

  2. Shoot from an angle that will allow the judge to view the width and length of these areas.

Less Desirable

Goat is standing with back legs too close together, making him or her look base-narrow.

 Profile View

Neck, Rump, Shoulder, Hocks, Barrel, and Legs


Shooting the goat from this angle helps the goat look square and natural with all four feet standing square on the ground.

Less Desirable

Too stretched in the back legs changes the natural angulation of the hind legs and setting the goats legs too far in front changes the shoulder structure and makes the back dip behind the chine changing the top line.

Less Desirable

Angled profiles make it difficult to see the goat's length, and thus making the goat look short.


With your goat on the move, make sure the legs closest to you are the furthest apart. This will allow the judge to see the proper body length. This photo does not show the angulation of the hind legs very well so a still profile is best.

Less Desirable

  1. When goat is on the move and legs closest to you are together, the look of the length of body appears shorter.
  2. Head down often will change the levelness of the top line.
  3. With goat's hind end angled toward you, the rump appears higher.

Less Desirable

If the hind legs are set too far forward, the goat's rump will appear higher and give an unlevel topline.  

Front View

Fore legs, Heart Girth, Brisket, and Head


Show the width of chest as well as the front legs and feet.  Make sure the legs are set straight under the animal. If possible choose a photo where the goat's toes do not toe out as in this photo. Or, if possible, have somebody hold the goat, and set the front feet for the picture.

Less Desirable

Choose photos where there are no obstacles blocking the judges view.

Less Desirable

If possible, choose a photo where the goat's toes do not toe out as in this photo. Or, if possible, have somebody hold the goat, and set the front feet for the picture.
See the difference an angle can make?

Which Photo Would You Choose?
Remember to look at all four feet when choosing!


First of all let me say how much I enjoyed judging my first virtual show (the OFGS Virtual Show). While the final decisions were mine, my wife Judy (also a licensed judge) sat behind me viewing every entry and giving me valuable insight.

Remember, the only criteria I can use for judging is visual. Therefore, the width, depth, stance, profiles of the face & head, top lines, etc. are very important. Here are a few hints:

1. Take the photos as though you were in the ring. Collar and lead standing aside so I can see the whole goat.

2. If practical, take the photos with the goat in the same trim on all three pictures. Also, try to get them at the same age.

3. Chose the background. Try to have only the goat you're entering in the photo.

4. Let the goat stand in a normal position. However, if they cross their legs, try again!

5. Clean goats show better.

6. Make sure you have all three photos. I can't judge what I can't see.

Thank you again for the privilege of judging your show! It was great fun and a learning experience for all of us.  Big thanks from me to the long days Tracy put in on sending me a well organized web page.

Sincerely, George Starbuck


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