When my husband harvested his first turkey, it was a big deal. Although he has hunted for MANY years for all types of game, he had never called in a turkey. The occasion merited a photograph and when he arrived home we posed him with the bird nicely displayed. However, this was only after I took a photo of his friend with his turkey and completely cut off the turkey's head and most of the body. Lesson learned.
We've all viewed photos of outdoorsmen and women with their wild game and fish. Maybe YOU'VE been the lucky person who got that buck or caught that big bass. It's a proud moment for any hunter or angler at any age and deserves to be remembered.
We're going to share some basics with you for taking good photos in the field. Our General Manager Jason Truman and I both enjoy photography, and have these tips to remember when you want to capture the moment.
1. As the photographer, pay attention to your background. It’s always disappointing to have that tree “growing" out of your subject's head and getting more attention than the animal! Let your background set the scene. Having your blind or stand in the picture helps tell the story. Wooded backgrounds, fences, fields, and other natural formations make for great photo ambiance. Move away from the dirty pickup and bring nature into the photo. Remember, you can always move around to avoid something you don’t want in your picture. As far as photos go, anything outside the frame just doesn’t exist.
2. Use your light source correctly. If the sun is still up in your picture, try to get it behind the camera, not behind the subject. The sun behind the subject creates dark, and sometimes unrecognizable, faces and tough shadows. Avoid shooting into the sun. That being said, pay attention to the photographer casting a shadow on the subject or simply anywhere in the photo. This may mean stepping farther away.
3. Whether you are using your phone or a regular camera, turn your flash ON! If it’s already sunny, it will take away some harsh shadows and, if it’s dark, well, this is called a “fill flash” and some cameras have a setting for it. If yours doesn’t, just turn it from auto to ON. Do this while you are setting up for the hunt, otherwise you may just forget in all the excitement.
4. Use a low angle. Squat or kneel down and get eye level with the subject. This makes a better photo, and also allows your flash to get under the brim of the hat that so many hunters wear, so you can better see the face. In fact, if they can take their hat off, without too much bad hair or if it's not too cold, then have them do so.
5. Get some depth in your picture. Everyone knows that when you take a picture of a fish you caught, you hold it just a bit further toward the camera than maybe you should, because it makes it look bigger. The same goes with big game or birds. Position the trophy so that the head, rack, fan, etc., is flowing toward the camera. Your whitetail doesn’t have to be at a 90 degree angle to the camera. Put a bit of an angle to it with the head forward. When you kneel down behind it, the rack will look that much larger because it’s closer to the camera. Be careful though. Don't make the angle so exaggerated that the beauty of the animal is lost in a glaring "that's photoshopped" look.
6. If you want to include your gun in the photo, make sure it’s properly placed and represented in a safe manner. In fact, UNLOAD YOUR GUN after you take your prize. All guns should always be treated like they’re loaded and that includes in pictures. Lay the gun across the front on the ground pointing away from the camera or across the body, pointing away from the subjects and camera.
We'll stay out of the whole "to smile or not to smile" debate. Do what YOU want to do, be proud, and relish the moment as you see fit.
Just don't cut off the turkey's head.
Night time shots can be tricky!
That first big bass is a great photo opp, and on the water makes a great backdrop!
Get on eye level and keep the game as the focus.
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