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Your Best Shot
Four steps to better hunting photos

By Dan Crank

You did everything right. You bought your license, found a good place to hunt, took careful aim and squeezed the trigger. You even took a few pictures of your trophy to help remember the moment. But you’re disappointed when you see the prints of your photos – they’re just not as good as your hunt.  
The key to taking good photos is putting the same amount of thought into them as the hunt itself. With a little planning and by following a few easy guidelines, you can take pictures worthy of displaying anywhere. Following are some basic steps to better photos.

Step 1:  Clean Up
    One of the biggest reasons that photos taken in the field are not suitable for publication or framing for display on a desk is that the hunter didn’t clean up the animal and its surroundings. Animals will have blood somewhere, especially around the mouth. Take a few minutes to clean up the blood – this will make the picture more presentable to others. Move the animal to a cleaner location if needed, especially if it has already been field dressed. Make sure the animal’s mouth is closed and the tongue is not hanging out. Remember, photos taken in the field are always better than those taken in your yard.

Step 2:  Lighting
    Always keep the sun at your back when shooting a photo. This provides proper lighting. If the sun is behind the hunter, your subject will likely be in a shadow and you won’t be able to see fine detail of the hunter or animal.

Step 3:  Compose Your Subject
    One of the most important components of a good picture is positioning the subjects. Keep the hunter in the center of the image, or slightly off to the side, behind the animal. Have the hunter kneeling or sitting with the animal, but never straddling it. You don’t always need to have the entire animal in the photo, but it makes for a better shot.
Look at the background and see what will look best. You might have to move the animal to get the best background. Another good technique is to place the animal in a natural position. For a deer, try to place them with their chest on the ground and their legs under them like they would be if lying down. You should take some close-up shots as well as photos from farther away. Also, try shooting at different angles. For antlered animals, take some pictures looking straight at the antlers and some with a side view of the antlers. If you have a group of people with you in the field, have one of them take photos of the group without staging the picture, while you are standing around talking and celebrating your harvest. You will often get good pictures of natural smiles and laughs.  

Step 4:  Multiple Shots
    Always take more than one picture. In fact, take multiple pictures from different angles and from close to farther away. More than likely you won’t know which one will look the best until after you return home and print out the photos. You won’t get another chance to take more pictures, so take the time to get multiple shots.



 
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