How to Take Professional Looking Trophy Harvest Photos (1 of 2)

So you have finally taken that big buck or Wiley old tom you have been working for all season. As with any hunter this is a very exciting moment and one of the first things we all do is pull out the cell phone or camera and start snapping photos. This is when the majority of hunters make the biggest mistake by taking photos that are worthy of sending to their buddies, but certainly not worthy of a magazine cover, or even a picture frame in the living room. Sure, most of us don’t have high dollar photo equipment but even with the technology of phone cameras today incredible photo quality can be achieved. In this article you will see some examples of bad photos as well as good photos and what a world of difference a little attention to detail can make. By following these simple photography tips after your next successful hunt it is a guarantee your harvest photos will turn out better than you ever thought possible. 


(In the field with your harvest? See the Field Summary at the bottom of the page, or print them out ahead of time and keep them in your hunting pack for your next outing!)

‘Good’ photo example. The animal is clean with the exception of a little mess on his side. I am positioned behind the animal and have my hands behind the horns instead of around them. The background of the photos provides a great setting for the hunt. The camera angle is low, close to eye level with the subject. One improvement for this photo would have been the angle relevant to the sun, notice how my hat has casted a shadow on my face. A high sun photo with a hat can be tricky, waiting for some cloud cover would have been ideal. Removing some of the foreground grasses would have also helped.

‘Good’ photo example. The animal is clean with the exception of a little mess on his side. I am positioned behind the animal and have my hands behind the horns instead of around them. The background of the photos provides a great setting for the hunt. The camera angle is low, close to eye level with the subject. One improvement for this photo would have been the angle relevant to the sun, notice how my hat has casted a shadow on my face. A high sun photo with a hat can be tricky, waiting for some cloud cover would have been ideal. Removing some of the foreground grasses would have also helped.

Take The Time:


The number one and essentially most important tip on this list goes to “Taking the time”. Before you even take your next animal you need to make the decision in your mind that you are going to take the time to follow these steps and get a good photo. It is so easy as hunters to get caught up in the excitement of the moment that we often times rush through the process of taking a photo, after all, the hunt is over and it was a huge success, how could we be any happier? While this is true it is important to remember to take a step back and really think to yourself, “Ok, I need to take my time, and take a good photo.” If you don’t do this, you will never get through the rest of the tips in this article. Each of the following steps are equally important and will require some time to get right but the end result will be something you can share, enjoy, and be proud of for a lifetime.


Location:

Example of bad photo – This was my first bow kill, before I knew how to take a good photo. A chicken coop in the back ground? My butt isn’t on the ground, I’m not wearing what I hunted in. Camera level too high. You can also see I have already gutted the animal and used my bow to try and cover it up, in turn, coving up the animal. My hands are in a poor position covering up the rack of my small, but first bow kill ever. A photo memory not really worth sharing. I didn’t take the time.

Example of bad photo – This was my first bow kill, before I knew how to take a good photo. A chicken coop in the back ground? My butt isn’t on the ground, I’m not wearing what I hunted in. Camera level too high. You can also see I have already gutted the animal and used my bow to try and cover it up, in turn, coving up the animal. My hands are in a poor position covering up the rack of my small, but first bow kill ever. A photo memory not really worth sharing. I didn’t take the time.

The second tip to photo success has everything to do with the location of the photo. The background of your photo is your setting, it’s where it all went down. While it’s great to take a photo where the animal was recovered, it may, or may not be the best location for a photo. You want to get that animal to a location that will provide adequate lighting and still give a sense of location. For example: If you arrow a nice buck and he runs 70 yards into a deep thick woods before you are able to recover him, you are probably better off getting him back to an opening in the woods or the edge of a field where the sun can do its job. The location of the sun is also very important, you want to make sure the hunter is facing the sun or at least at an angle that will light up the subject (the hunter and the animal) with minimal shadows. A low afternoon or early morning sunlight is good but an ideal situation would be during an overcast type of day. If there is zero cloud cover and an exceptionally bright day you will be better off moving into the shade somewhere. Keep in mind things like a hat, you don’t want a 12 o clock sun shining down on your hat casting a shadow over your face. If it’s cold enough, you can pose the animal how you want it for the photo and wait until the next morning to do it instead of at night using a flash.

Get out There,

Caleb Smith - "You either get better or worse, you never stay the same"

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