Photographing your kills
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  1. #1
    Senior Member flydown's Avatar
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    Photographing your kills

    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

  2. #2
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    Good tips! Of course alot of times I find that we get in such a hurry after the kill that photos suffer.

  3. #3
    Senior Member down4dacount's Avatar
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    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
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  4. #4
    Senior Member BuckDaddy's Avatar
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    11. Adobe Photoshop....

  5. #5
    Senior Member flydown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuckDaddy View Post
    11. Adobe Photoshop....
    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

  6. #6
    Senior Member nickv6909's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn View Post
    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.

  7. #7
    Senior Member down4dacount's Avatar
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    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]

  8. #8
    Senior Member wizfisher's Avatar
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    Too funny Ray.

  9. #9
    Senior Member PalmettoKid's Avatar
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    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...

  10. #10
    Senior Member launchpad's Avatar
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    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

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