Yamaha Outdoors Tips — Taking Tasteful Hunting Trophy Photos
By Stephanie Mallory
You’ve enjoyed a successful hunt, and you can’t wait to share photos of your trophy animal on social media. Before you start clicking away with your camera or smartphone, take a few steps to ensure your photos are clear, classy and respectful of the fine animal you want to show off.
Renowned outdoor photographer Bill Konway has some tips for ensuring your photos showcase your trophy animal in a tasteful and appealing manner.
“Whether you’ve taken a big-game animal, waterfowl or small-game animal, if you’re shooting a photo of it, it’s worth shooting it well,” Konway said. “If you’ll take a few minutes to prepare your animal and select the right location, you’ll have a photo that can be the envy of all your hunting buds.”
Konway provides the following tips for enviable trophy game photos:
1. Wipe excess blood from the face, nose, mouth and body of your trophy. Unscented baby wipes or even a bottle of water can help in removing blood from the hide or feathers.
2. In the case of big game, push the animal’s tongue back into its mouth, or remove it entirely with a sharp knife.
3. Those who want to go the extra mile can place glass taxidermy eyes over the deer’s eyes. Glass eyes are a worthwhile $20 investment if you shoot these types of photos regularly.
4. Position the animal so that it is entirely unobstructed by busy horizons, power lines, trees and other objects. Sometimes lying on the ground and shooting upward provides the best angle, at other times, shooting down from above the hunter and trophy works best.
5. By all means be sure to place your bow, gun, ATV, Side-by-Side or other favorite hunting items in your frame. But, make sure the gear or vehicle does not block or shade the key features of the animal you want to show off.
6. When photographing antlered animals, make sure each and every point can be seen. Turn the head both directions and tip the nose up or down to determine the best view. Although the pose might look unusual from one angle, it may be perfect from the camera’s angle. In the case of a turkey, always try to make the beard, as well as the spurs, visible if possible.
7. Make the most of the light you have. Overcast lighting makes for the best photos, but obviously it’s not always available. Waiting for morning light after an evening kill will typically result in better photos than trying to shoot in the dark with a flash stuck on the camera. If you’re forced to shoot in the dark or with a flash, be sure to instruct the hunter to raise his or her hat brim a bit to eliminate the shadow across his or her face. You can also turn the camera upside down so the camera’s flash comes from beneath the hat, giving better shadowless light on the hunter’s face.
8. Study the hero photos you see in hunting magazines for ideas of which poses work and which don’t. Look at the screen on the back of your camera. If it doesn’t look too good there, it’s probably not going to look too good as a print or as a post on social media.
9. As they say, practice makes perfect. Shoot a bunch of photos and try several angles. You’ll eventually learn what works and what doesn’t.
10. If you’ll follow these tips, you’ll end up with classy, head-turning photos that you can proudly show off wherever and whenever you want.