Recently, I was engaged in a pleasant conversation with a fan of this column on social media. He was concerned about the poor quality photographs of a little buck he’d been lucky enough to take on a hunt in the Citrus Wildlife Management Area. I made a few suggestions to him on how to take a better photo to remember his hunt by and have been giving it a lot of thought lately as I too harvested a trio of trophies last year and none of my own photos were all that great. Therefore, I want to pass on some tips to everybody about photographing their successes.
You’ve put in some hard work, sweat and valuable time preparing for your hunt. How do you want to show family and friends your trophy? We’ve all seen terrible hunting photos; myself more than most. Ones with terrible lighting, ones where the hunter props a foot atop or sits on it and the ones where there’s more blood than shark week. Some are pretty distasteful, others disrespectful and well, let’s try to do better. So, here are four steps to make a big difference in the photographic memories you make.
1. Take time to prepare your trophy
Take a few wet wipes in your pack in order to wipe down your buck to remove any dirt and blood. Next, either reinsert the tongue or cut it out and close the mouth as that is never appreciated on film. Then take a comb from your pack and make sure both you and your trophy are looking pristine. And, if you really want to make a difference, especially on deer, carry along a set of taxidermy eyes and insert them beneath the eyelids. They make a big, big difference and are remarkably inexpensive.
2. Pay attention to the light.
The fastest way to ruin an otherwise great photo is to be backlit by the sun. It will crush all of the details of the photo and it will be nearly impossible to fix on a computer with even the best editing software. Be sure to take a few minutes to find a good spot with lots of light behind the lens and an open view. It’s always nice to show the area and terrain the trophy came from.
3. Bring along a tripod
When you finally get your buck on the ground, you might not have someone handy to take the pictures for you. To avoid having to take an awkward selfie with your buck, a tripod for your camera is a great idea. An inexpensive tripod with adjustable legs is all it takes. Just be sure to adjust the legs accordingly to ensure that your photos will be level.
4. Take the best photo
The best place to sit for a buck photo is right behind the antlers. Be sure to sit a comfortable arm’s length behind it to give some depth to your photo and kind of like the old fisherman’s photo tricks ... it makes it look much bigger. Also, try to position the buck with his forelegs tucked into a natural resting position underneath and extend the neck upwards to show the entire buck from the angle of your photo. For even better results, angle your camera from slightly below to take a shot looking up at you and the buck. It’ll really make both you and your trophy look your best.
I surely thank you for all of your input and as always, if you have any feedback, give me a shout at RebelYellOutdoors@gmail.com. God Bless and Good Hunting!