Everyone likes to take a photo of that trophy buck, fish, turkey, bear, etc., etc. Unfortunately many hunters and fisherman don’t understand how to take a great photo of their trophy that highlights the animal, and where it was taken. A lot of us either don’t understand or don’t take the time. I myself have taken photos of my “Big Buck” on the back of a trailer, or my “Huge Bass” in front of the garage. Even though I am a photographer and I know what it takes, sometimes I just don’t take the time. The memories just are not the same with those types of photos. They for sure won’t win any Photo Contests. So, here are a few tips on how to take that contest-winning photo of a lifetime.
The first thing and of course the most important piece is the camera. Hoo-ray for digital cameras. They have made this so simple now. Most digital cameras on the market today take great photos. They can be as simple as a “point-and-shoot” that fits in your pocket, or some may choose to lug around there DSLR’s. Either way you can accomplish that awesome photo. A few features that might come in handy are self-timers, flash and image stabilization. Some cameras come with a remote control or can be purchased. This may come in handy for the do-it-yourselfers out there.
Speaking of the DIY’s, a small portable tripod is a must. With using the tripod, you can set-up and preview the shot very easily. Plus, you won’t risk the camera falling off the log or rock you are using as your tripod. I would suggest using your hunting buddy, trust me, you will get better results.
Along with the camera, you may also want to have a few napkins and extra water. This is for the blood coming from the animal. Nobody really wants to see blood all over the animal. A thin rubber band or small string might come in handy too. That way you can close the animals mouth if need be.
The last thing might be a pair of gloves. Gloves help hide your hands while holding the head or horns of your animal. Many times, bright sunlight or flash against your bare hands will cause glare and be distracting. No one wants to see your bloody hands after gutting the animal.
Setting up the Shot
The set-up of the photo takes time and thought. The scenery and composition is very important in taking a good photo. If you can’t take the photo where the animal was taken, try picking a spot that resembles the site. Such as; taking a photo of your buck in the back yard with nice green trees in the background, or taking a photo of your bass on the shore with the lake in the background. No one wants to see your campsite or garage. Take advantage of your surroundings, and let the photo tell the story. Try to pose your animal in the most natural look as possible. Again, use props like rocks; logs and anything else that will help pose your animal.
Use wide angles, low angles and contrast. This will make your trophy stand out. Try and position the camera just slightly lower than the head of the animal. It will make the antlers look a bit larger. Get close. Experiment with different angles and poses, so you can choose which one best suit your needs. By taking your time and many photos, you should be able to find a really good one.
Flash photography will fill in dark areas, eliminating shadow areas and give you better color. The lighting in many areas is not always perfect, so make the best of it by using your flash.
Practice taking better photos, and you will be very happy with the results. Challenge yourself every time to create a better photo. Photos are much cheaper then taxidermy. Plus, if you have a wife that wont let you put a mount in the living room, it’s a heck of a lot easier to convince her to hang a photo.
I hope these few little tips come in handy next time you get that trophy. That awesome photo may even win you some money or cool gear. Please feel free to add any tips and comments.