Have you ever said that photo doesn't "do it justice" or "you just had to be there"?
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When you have seen as many hunting photos as we have, you realize that most people can step up their photography game.
Not to worry though, taking better photos won't require you to learn about ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. Just keep these simple principals in mind.
It's not the camera
Most of the cell phones that we carry have a good camera, so there is no excuse for being without one. For something with a few more features, a small rugged point-and-shoot camera will fit in just about any pocket.
If you are serious about your photos, a DSLR will give you the most options and perform best in low light. Regardless of your choice, make sure you are comfortable with the operation. Practice practice practice!
Since you are making the effort to photograph an animal, be thoughtful. Photographs taken in a truck or in your driveway are an afterthought.
- Pick scenery that is natural habitat for that animal. This should be easy and will often simply be where the animal fell.
- If possible, silhouette the head and or antlers of the animal against the skyline. Being on a small rise can make that easier. If you aren't able to capture the skyline just make sure the scene behind you is as neutral and distraction free as possible.
- Consider where the hunter will be, the best place for the hunter is often next to the animal rather than behind it. If behind the animal, stay low so that you don't overshadow your trophy. As a show of respect you should never sit on the animal.
- Don't be too wide or narrow with your framing. Capture some of the natural surrounding but focus primarily on the hunter and the trophy.
- Low angles are better. Keep the lens at or below eye level with the hunter.
- The sun should be behind the camera. Chose sunrise or sunset for the best light. Cloudy days are great for photos too but too much direct sun can make for harsh shadows. Use the camera flash on a sunny day to light up the shadows as best you can.
Look your best
Take a second to get yourself ready. The trophy isn't the only subject of the photo!
- We love our hats and sunglasses, but they are practically a disguise! When posing with your trophy take off your sunglasses and tip your hat up a little bit or remove it.
- If it is hot or cold out you may have some other articles of clothing to deal with. If you have a face mask or neck gaiter it should be pulled down all the way or removed.
- Wear sunscreen, in addition to being an important for your safety and health you don't want a sunburn in your photo.
Pose your trophy
Posing your trophy is about showing it off in the most natural and respectful way possible.
- Pose the animal in a natural state such as a bedding pose. This might mean tucking the legs, propping the torso upright, and positioning the tail.
- Wipe up dirt and blood from anywhere visible to the camera. Also, tuck the tongue back in the mouth. A clean natural looking animal not only looks better but is a show of respect.
- Try posing your trophy straight on and profile to capture different elements of the head and antlers.
- The default is to smile at the camera, but get some shots looking and admiring the animal.
- Get some candid shots throughout the day of your hunting party, these are great to tell a story that goes along with that trophy photo.
- This list is just a start, get creative! Try new things, some will work and some won't but that is how we learn and get better.
Image via Fin & Field