Photographing your kills

flydownflydown Posts: 6,450 Admiral
After seeing a lot of great and not so great hero shots, I thought I'd share some tips with my FS Brethren for getting great photos of your kills. Feel free to PM me if you need any clarification on any terms you are not familiar with.

Photographing your kills…

1. Get to them quick. Ideally, try and photograph the animal as soon as you can before rigor mortis sets in. Animals are much easier to pose when they are not stiff. I always try and have my camera nearby for this very reason. Also, try and photograph the animal in its natural environment and not in the back of your truck. Not that we don’t want to see your truck, it just doesn’t make a great background.

2. Clean up the animal. I try and keep napkins and water in my truck for this. When photographing deer, make sure to put the tongue back in their mouth and wipe blood off their nose and mouth, as well as the wound site.

3. Get low. Photographs taken at ground level add drama and impact. Getting low also helps with putting the antlers of a deer in open space which makes them nicer to look at and count points. Also, with deer, move your hunter to the side of the antlers so the antlers have their own space.

4. De-clutter your background. Before you take the shot, take a close look at what’s beyond the subject. Often it takes only a slight shift in angle to eliminate a distraction in the background. Uncluttered backgrounds focus the viewer’s attention to the subject. Also, look for unique backgrounds such as a rising moon, the tree stand the hunter used, or perhaps a beautiful sunset.

5. Use open sky light, not sunlight to light your subject. This is a common mistake many people make. There are a few reasons for doing this. First, direct sunlight is harsh and will cause your hunter to squint when looking at the camera. Secondly, most hunters wear ball caps and the shadow caused by the bill of the cap will more often than not hide the eyes of the hunter. If you tell him to lift up the cap, they will be forced to squint due to the harsh direct sunlight. What I prefer to do is find a nice piece of blue sky to use as my main light with the sun 45 degrees behind one shoulder. This way, the sun will add backlight which in turn gives nice separation to the hunter from the background. The hunter will also be comfortable looking at the camera. Now, if you have a bit of cloud cover, pay close attention to the next paragraph…

6. Cloudy days. Cloud cover, depending on how thick it is can be challenging. If you have a nice light layer of clouds, this will provide soft diffused lighting and will lead to great photographs. However when the clouds get heavy, the light goes flat and you will want to use your camera’s flash to add contrast.

7. Use flash. Many people don’t think about turning on their camera’s flash in the outdoors. I recommend it especially on very cloudy days, bluebird days with high contrast, and in heavily backlit situations. It will brighten your subject and bring out the color, especially in turkey feathers.


8. Use the natural contours and features of the land. I always like to try and find a small hill, a fallen tree, a small stream or even an old abandoned farm house to add drama and composition to my trophy photos. These features also greatly help with posing and making the photograph go from ordinary to awesome!


9. Don’t get in a hurry. You are going to be looking at these photos for years, so why take 5 pictures in 2 minutes? Take your time and take a number of different photographs using different poses with a few different backgrounds. Take the time to tell the story. It’s like the old saying goes; take a hundred pictures to get one great one!


10. Keep your camera clean! This is self-explanatory, but in our busy lives we often forget the simplest of things. Take the time to wipe your lens and have your camera cleaned yearly by a professional camera technician. With today’s digital cameras, sensor dust is a fact of life. There is nothing more aggravating than looking at your photos and seeing round, gray dust spots against a beautiful blue sky! A yearly sensor cleaning will help eliminate this problem.
DYING for me was the most HE could do. LIVING for HIM is the least I can do
«13

Replies

  • GlennGlenn Posts: 1,660 Officer
    Good tips! Of course alot of times I find that we get in such a hurry after the kill that photos suffer.
  • down4dacountdown4dacount Posts: 2,580 Officer
    Awesome post John
    ShotKam Pro Staff
    Full moons make me crazy and I go out and kill deer . Come to think all moon phases do that to me
    Check out my videos http://www.youtube.com/user/Down4dacount1?feature=mhee
    [IMG][/img]
  • BuckDaddyBuckDaddy Posts: 644 Officer
    11. Adobe Photoshop.... :banana
  • flydownflydown Posts: 6,450 Admiral
    BuckDaddy wrote: »
    11. Adobe Photoshop.... :banana

    Having Photoshop certainly helps. However, many hunters don't have it and will get great results without it if they follow these guidelines.

    But yes, I have it and love it!
    DYING for me was the most HE could do. LIVING for HIM is the least I can do
  • nickv6909nickv6909 Posts: 210 Officer
    Glenn wrote: »
    Good tips! Of course alot of times I find that we get in such a hurry after the kill that photos suffer.

    Great tips. I'll try to think of them next time we take a deer but unfortunately we too are often in such a hurry that the pics aren't the best.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • down4dacountdown4dacount Posts: 2,580 Officer
    I never hurry when it comes to photography . Allways take different angle shots and background will make a the subject (you and game ) stand out . Take multiple shots and positioning game will defenetly make for a better pic . One more thing guys , PLEASE !!!!!! smile . LMAO
    ShotKam Pro Staff
    Full moons make me crazy and I go out and kill deer . Come to think all moon phases do that to me
    Check out my videos http://www.youtube.com/user/Down4dacount1?feature=mhee
    [IMG][/img]
  • wizfisherwizfisher Posts: 2,387 Officer
    Too funny Ray.
  • PalmettoKidPalmettoKid Posts: 847 Officer
    12: Hold antlers as far from your body as possible toward the photographer to add "Camera Inches"

    I am always in too much of a rush, and I love photography, go figure...
    No Shortcuts. No Excuses. No Regrets.
    Bobjr86 wrote: »
    Ok so i hunted florida for my first time yesterday and have to say i was really disappointed.
  • launchpadlaunchpad Posts: 386 Officer
    thanks for the tips. I seem to carry my camera with me most of the time. it never fails i usally have success when i forgot it. Another good tip is with most photo editing software they have the red eye remover. i have used that feature to wipe the blood from the nose make it appear black. It's not that the blood bothers me in a photo. i just think a frame worthy photo looks best without it.
    "When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on." Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • omegafooomegafoo Posts: 3,084 Captain
    Thanks for posting these John. I love taking photos of successful hunts but, unfortunately, most others don't like taking a few extra minutes to pose for the shots. Here's one of KayakMacGyver and his first spring turkey - I think he's been taking modeling lessons from down4dacount. Where do you normally go to to get your camera cleaned?

    DSC_0121.jpg
  • gamehunter1023gamehunter1023 Posts: 467 Officer
    Great tips thx
  • Bass2bucksBass2bucks Posts: 652 Officer
    Very good post thanks for sharing
  • flydownflydown Posts: 6,450 Admiral
    omegafoo wrote: »
    Thanks for posting these John. I love taking photos of successful hunts but, unfortunately, most others don't like taking a few extra minutes to pose for the shots. Here's one of KayakMacGyver and his first spring turkey - I think he's been taking modeling lessons from down4dacount. Where do you normally go to to get your camera cleaned?

    DSC_0121.jpg

    Wow, what a awesome hero shot! Excellent use of natural topography, fill flash, and a perfect uncluttered and appropriate background.
    I realize that not everyone will go to the lengths you and I do to capture great images, but even if you have little time and are in a hurry, it isn't hard to get great results if you follow a few simple rules.

    As far as having my camera cleaned, I take mine to Southern Photo here in Orlando. They do a great job.
    DYING for me was the most HE could do. LIVING for HIM is the least I can do
  • AllenRAllenR Posts: 2,683 Captain
    My most difficult thing is being by myself and trying to set up the self-timer. Seems to take forever to get a good shot

    This was one here on about my 8th attempt and was getting flustered

    IMG_2591.jpg
  • flydownflydown Posts: 6,450 Admiral
    AllenR wrote: »
    My most difficult thing is being by myself and trying to set up the self-timer. Seems to take forever to get a good shot

    This was one here on about my 8th attempt and was getting flustered

    IMG_2591.jpg

    I feel your pain, Allen. I have lobbied Canon to add a 30 second self-timer to their line of SLR's for outdoorsmen who need a bit more time than 10 seconds to get posed for the shot.

    They didn't respond.
    DYING for me was the most HE could do. LIVING for HIM is the least I can do
  • surfmansurfman WC FLPosts: 3,499 Captain
    :thumbsup
    Tight Lines, Steve
    My posts are my opinion only.
  • StillinscrubsStillinscrubs Posts: 1,844 Officer
    13. Smile. Unless you are unhappy that you shot dinner.
  • flydownflydown Posts: 6,450 Admiral
    13. Smile. Unless you are unhappy that you shot dinner.

    You listenin', Ray?? LOL!~
    DYING for me was the most HE could do. LIVING for HIM is the least I can do
  • down4dacountdown4dacount Posts: 2,580 Officer
    flydown wrote: »
    You listenin', Ray?? LOL!~
    I hear ya loud and clear
    funnysmiley.jpg?t=1317997046
    ShotKam Pro Staff
    Full moons make me crazy and I go out and kill deer . Come to think all moon phases do that to me
    Check out my videos http://www.youtube.com/user/Down4dacount1?feature=mhee
    [IMG][/img]
  • down4dacountdown4dacount Posts: 2,580 Officer
    14 . if hunting alone use a mini tripod , fits perfect in a backpack and doesn't weight much
    15 . Really !!!!!!!! don't forget to SMILE
    ShotKam Pro Staff
    Full moons make me crazy and I go out and kill deer . Come to think all moon phases do that to me
    Check out my videos http://www.youtube.com/user/Down4dacount1?feature=mhee
    [IMG][/img]
  • CptMikeCptMike Posts: 286 Officer
    flydown wrote: »
    After seeing a lot of great and not so great hero shots, I thought I'd share some tips with my FS Brethren for getting great photos of your kills. Feel free to PM me if you need any clarification on any terms you are not familiar with.

    Photographing your kills…

    1. Get to them quick. Ideally, try and photograph the animal as soon as you can before rigor mortis sets in. Animals are much easier to pose when they are not stiff. I always try and have my camera nearby for this very reason. Also, try and photograph the animal in its natural environment and not in the back of your truck. Not that we don’t want to see your truck, it just doesn’t make a great background.

    2. Clean up the animal. I try and keep napkins and water in my truck for this. When photographing deer, make sure to put the tongue back in their mouth and wipe blood off their nose and mouth, as well as the wound site.

    3. Get low. Photographs taken at ground level add drama and impact. Getting low also helps with putting the antlers of a deer in open space which makes them nicer to look at and count points. Also, with deer, move your hunter to the side of the antlers so the antlers have their own space.

    4. De-clutter your background. Before you take the shot, take a close look at what’s beyond the subject. Often it takes only a slight shift in angle to eliminate a distraction in the background. Uncluttered backgrounds focus the viewer’s attention to the subject. Also, look for unique backgrounds such as a rising moon, the tree stand the hunter used, or perhaps a beautiful sunset.

    5. Use open sky light, not sunlight to light your subject. This is a common mistake many people make. There are a few reasons for doing this. First, direct sunlight is harsh and will cause your hunter to squint when looking at the camera. Secondly, most hunters wear ball caps and the shadow caused by the bill of the cap will more often than not hide the eyes of the hunter. If you tell him to lift up the cap, they will be forced to squint due to the harsh direct sunlight. What I prefer to do is find a nice piece of blue sky to use as my main light with the sun 45 degrees behind one shoulder. This way, the sun will add backlight which in turn gives nice separation to the hunter from the background. The hunter will also be comfortable looking at the camera. Now, if you have a bit of cloud cover, pay close attention to the next paragraph…

    6. Cloudy days. Cloud cover, depending on how thick it is can be challenging. If you have a nice light layer of clouds, this will provide soft diffused lighting and will lead to great photographs. However when the clouds get heavy, the light goes flat and you will want to use your camera’s flash to add contrast.

    7. Use flash. Many people don’t think about turning on their camera’s flash in the outdoors. I recommend it especially on very cloudy days, bluebird days with high contrast, and in heavily backlit situations. It will brighten your subject and bring out the color, especially in turkey feathers.


    8. Use the natural contours and features of the land. I always like to try and find a small hill, a fallen tree, a small stream or even an old abandoned farm house to add drama and composition to my trophy photos. These features also greatly help with posing and making the photograph go from ordinary to awesome!


    9. Don’t get in a hurry. You are going to be looking at these photos for years, so why take 5 pictures in 2 minutes? Take your time and take a number of different photographs using different poses with a few different backgrounds. Take the time to tell the story. It’s like the old saying goes; take a hundred pictures to get one great one!


    10. Keep your camera clean! This is self-explanatory, but in our busy lives we often forget the simplest of things. Take the time to wipe your lens and have your camera cleaned yearly by a professional camera technician. With today’s digital cameras, sensor dust is a fact of life. There is nothing more aggravating than looking at your photos and seeing round, gray dust spots against a beautiful blue sky! A yearly sensor cleaning will help eliminate this problem.

    I applaud your post and wonder would you and others endorse those same rules for the FS forums? No gory, bloody, disrespectful tail gate shots included.
    The "redneck way".........just so long as something winds up dead.
  • flydownflydown Posts: 6,450 Admiral
    CptMike wrote: »
    I applaud your post and wonder would you and others endorse those same rules for the FS forums? No gory, bloody, disrespectful tail gate shots included.

    Anything you'd like to add, Mike? You certainly know your way around a camera.
    DYING for me was the most HE could do. LIVING for HIM is the least I can do
  • CptMikeCptMike Posts: 286 Officer
    flydown wrote: »
    Anything you'd like to add, Mike? You certainly know your way around a camera.

    Respectful flydown, I thought I asked the question?
    I applaud your post and wonder would you and others endorse those same rules for the FS forums? No gory, bloody, disrespectful tail gate shots included.
    The "redneck way".........just so long as something winds up dead.
  • flydownflydown Posts: 6,450 Admiral
    CptMike wrote: »
    Respectful flydown, I thought I asked the question?
    I applaud your post and wonder would you and others endorse those same rules for the FS forums? No gory, bloody, disrespectful tail gate shots included.

    Sorry, I didn't answer it earlier. My answer is no. While I certainly appreciate hero shots that are not blood strewn, poorly lit and composed, I wouldn't want to alienate anyone just because they don't think the way I do.
    DYING for me was the most HE could do. LIVING for HIM is the least I can do
  • StillinscrubsStillinscrubs Posts: 1,844 Officer
    CptMike wrote: »
    No gory, bloody, disrespectful tail gate shots included.

    First off blood is spilt when you kill an animal to eat it. Second, you are an anti hunter so to you seeing an animal as food is disrespect. To those who hunt and respect the animal as something that will become themselves there is no higher honor than killing something to eat. Gory? You don't want any posts on how to properly handle game with instructive photos? Like when people show pictures of fish being filleted and show stomach contents? You are deluded. This is not Disney, Nature is not Disney, and the real world of nature is far more savage, cruel and painful, oh and gory than anything on this website. Be gone you troll.
  • CptMikeCptMike Posts: 286 Officer
    Respectfully, I on the other hand can't see hunting suffering further image problems. And.....does it suffer.
    The "redneck way".........just so long as something winds up dead.
  • flydownflydown Posts: 6,450 Admiral
    CptMike wrote: »
    Respectfully, I on the other hand can't see hunting suffering further image problems. And.....does it suffer.

    So... why don't you post up some of your not so gory images to help improve it's image?
    DYING for me was the most HE could do. LIVING for HIM is the least I can do
  • RufusRufus Posts: 30 Deckhand
    2. Clean up the animal things i thought i would never do
  • StillinscrubsStillinscrubs Posts: 1,844 Officer
    flydown wrote: »
    So... why don't you post up some of your not so gory images to help improve it's image?

    People on several hunting forums have been asking that for years.
  • down4dacountdown4dacount Posts: 2,580 Officer
    People on several hunting forums have been asking that for years.
    He only has this Hero shot
    gaysuperheroes.jpg?t=1318108646
    ShotKam Pro Staff
    Full moons make me crazy and I go out and kill deer . Come to think all moon phases do that to me
    Check out my videos http://www.youtube.com/user/Down4dacount1?feature=mhee
    [IMG][/img]
«13

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