Taking trophy pictures of your trophy

By Roger Wolfe - [email protected]

I think we can all agree that memories are priceless. Many of my fondest memories growing up and even as an adult are centered on hunting and the outdoors. What better way to preserve memories of those memorable and successful hunts than with pictures?

In today’s world of mobile devices there are no excuses for not getting plenty of pictures of your next hunt or trophy. The days of the Polaroid camera are gone, and so are the cameras the size of small television sets.

The digital cameras of today are getting smaller and smaller and easily slip into a hunting pack or even a pocket. Even better if you carry a smart phone with you while hunting, you are already carrying a perfectly good camera.

Most cell phones have digital cameras built in that take pictures as good as or better than many of the expensive 35mm cameras of just a few years ago. Unlike the old outdated 35mm cameras though, new digital cameras give us instant feedback to see if the picture was a blurred mess, or an award winning snap shot.

Another bonus is that film is cheap! For just a few dollars you can purchase a memory card that will hold thousands of pictures. Best of all you can always delete the ones you don’t like, and only print the ones you do.

I am by no means a professional photographer and I don’t carry the most expensive cameras everywhere I go. I do take a lot of pictures and every now and then I get a good one or two.

The best advice I can give anyone to help get some great trophy photos is to take a lot of pictures. No matter what the trophy is that you are photographing! You will far more often regret the pictures you didn’t take, than the ones you did.

As I said earlier you can always delete the ones you don’t want, but you can’t go back and take the ones you didn’t take once the moment is gone. So keep right on clicking.

Another good idea when taking photos of that trophy buck, or even that fat old doe for the freezer is to take pictures from all sorts of angles. Try to get all sides of not only the animal but the hunter as well.

You want your photos to be reminders of the hunt and the time spent on the chase, not just the end result. You also want your photos to show proper respect and appreciation for the animal you have harvested.

Tailgate photos are seldom going to be the shots that spark the fondest memories of the hunt. We have all taken them, and I am not saying they are bad, but photos taken in the woods and fields are far more representative and therefore reflective of that special hunt.

Take a little time in the field before heading home to tag and brag on your trophy to take some pictures in the field. Field pictures always seem more special because it reminds you of not only the animal but the location and season of the hunt by allowing the background to become part of the story.

Blood and gore are meant for the horror shows, not the family photo album, so clean off any excess blood and be sure to smooth any ruffled fur or feathers. Pose the animal in a natural or life like pose and try not to have the animals head and neck twisted at extremely odd angles. This always makes for better pictures.

Lighting in the field can sometimes be a problem, and a lot of times our best trophy show up and are recovered in low light conditions. This is where a good flash can come in handy. It can be tough to get the best photos at night, so when possible, wait till the next day to take some good field pictures.

Just as problematic can be bright sunny days. The shadows cast by the sun can cover the hunters face or shade the animal. One trick around this is to force the flash to stay on even on sunny days.

Most, if not all, cameras and even cell phones have this feature to turn the flash on for each picture. The flash will fill the shadows and definitely help you get some better pictures even on sunny days.

These are just a few things to keep in mind when you get your next opportunity to take those trophy photos. Just be creative and always try to preserve as much of the memory as you can in the photos you take.

If your memory is anywhere near as bad as mine, you will be thankful for the pictures to help bring back all those precious memories of hunts gone by. So don’t be bashful, and smile away as the camera goes click!


By Roger Wolfe

[email protected]

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