Wall-Worthy Trophy Photograph Tips
You planned for your hunt and when the time came to close the deal, you performed flawlessly. Now what? Of course you have to take proper care of your game to prevent meat spoilage, but is there anything else.
There definitely is – you have to take photographs of you and your trophy. Sometimes these are referred to as “hero shots.” From viewing photographs of white tail bucks in the back of pick up trucks or hanging in the skinning shed, it seems that these photographs are often just an after thought.
I hear from hunters who take a nice trophy animal that the cost of mounting prevents them from taking their trophy to the taxidermist. Well, a nice photograph in a nice matted frame makes a nice reminder of the hunt that you can hang on the wall. Personally, I enjoy the photographs I have on my wall as much as I do my mounts.
So now that we are in agreement that we need to take good photographs of our trophy how do we do it? Here are some tips to get you on your way to taking quality trophy photographs.
First, however, compare the two turkey pictures. One was taken before I was given an in-field course in picture taking and the other after. The difference is unmistakable. Both are good enough to show your friends, but which one would you like to get framed and have hanging on your wall? I think the answer is an easy one. So onto the tips to get you started in taking photographs that are wall worthy.
Learn from others – look on the web for pictures of successful hunters and see what works and what doesn’t.
Search the internet for tips on photo taking before you leave for your hunt. There is a plethora of free information out there so take advantage of it.
Do not get too close – leave room in the photograph for the background. The scenery is often one of the highlights of a hunting trip so don’t overlook it in your photograph.
Clean the animal up. Wipe off dirt, debris and blood if you can. Sure blood is part of hunting, but a bloody trophy just doesn’t look as good as a clean one. Plus, not all spouses are accepting of putting photographs of bloody animals on the wall, but will most likely tolerate one that looks life-like and is clean.
Put that tongue back into the mouth or just remove it. Nothing detracts from a trophy photograph than a floppy tongue protruding and hanging lifelessly from the animal. It only takes a second to put it back into the mouth or to just cut it off.
Get low to the ground. Photographs taken from a standing position just don’t come out as well as those taken from ground level so kneel or lay down when taking the pictures.
Pack a small tripod. Many spotting scope tripods will work on our digital cameras and can be used when we are hunting solo and no one is around to take your photograph. If you don’t have a tripod then you can use your backpack or find a stump.
Most cameras have a self-timer. Figure out how to use it before you go on your hunt. If not, you may become frustrated and just not take a photograph.
Take a lot of pictures. Professional photographers take hundreds of photographs just to get that one good one. You don’t have to take that many, but it will take more than one to get that just right shot.
Use these tips and you’ll come home with a photograph that is wall-worthy and that will keep the memory of the hunt alive for years to come. Plus, despite what my wife says, they are art!