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Taking good pictures while hunting


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First a confession: I'm just about the furthest thing from a professional photographer there is. However, I like to take pics in the field while hunting and I've learned a few things about good pics that I'd like to share. Here are some of my thoughts on how to get good pictures that capture your hunt. By the way, much of what I am writing below is info I've gotten from professional and highly skilled photographers who work in the outdoor field-- I didn't come up with most of this stuff. The stuff I did come up with is mostly just my opinion on the matter! wink

First, take lots of pictures! For those of us who bring our kids in for annual pictures, you ever notice how many pictures they take? My kids had pics taken yesterday and they must have snapped 100 of them for us to select four final pictures. LOTS of the 100 pics were no good and only about ten made the cut for us to really even consider. The same applies when you're in the field- if you just take one pic, there's a really good chance it won't turn out. Even if you view it on your screen (digital camera), you can't tell too much from that. Point here is: take lots of pictures because most of the ones you take won't turn out so great.

Second, take pictures of the entire hunt. Try get some shots of the preparation, the travel, the down time in the stand/field/blind, "non-shooter animals", etc. Doing this paints a great picture of the entire hunt, not just the hero shot that comes at the end of some hunts.

Third, regarding hero shots- take a few minutes to clean up the animal. A little water and a towel will quickly remove blood from an animal and will make it look much more presentable. A guy I know always carries water and a towel to clean up any blood and he also carries a small brush to brush up the hair of the animal. As ridiculous as the brush may sound, you should see his pictures- it's hard to argue with his results.

Fourth, regarding hero shots #2- take several shots of the following four types: close up and horizontal, close up and verticle, further back and horizontal, further back and verticle. When I say close up, I mean filling about 90+% of the picture with the person and the animal. For the further back pics, look at the background and try to capture any cool features in the area you're hunting.

Finally, a few no-no's that I, and many others, believe detract from pictures.

1) Avoid pictures in unnatural settings- the back of trucks (a huge no-no), in people's front yard, with empty beer cans nearby, etc. Personally, I think this is one of the best ways to ruin a potentially good picture. To avoid this problem, you will want to bring your camera in the field with you (hard to take good pics without a camera). If you don't bother to bring your camera in the field, it's tempting to make this mistake.

2) Unnatural poses by the animal should also be avoided- twisted and contorted animals look dead and disrespected. Try to make the animal look as natural as possible. Don't try do the "Randy Ulmer thing" where you unnaturally hold the animal out to make it look bigger than it actually is- it's great to be behind it, but just hold it up and in front of you. Also, be sure the animal's tongue is in it's mouth and that there's no blood around its mouth. Lastly for this point, do not sit on the animal for a picture- this is disrespectful in the eyes of many (me being one of them) and makes it look less natural.

3) Don't try cover up the entry or exit hole with your bow or anything else. Leave it in plain sight and fix it via photoshop-type software. This job is much easier if you don't (poorly) hide the hole in the critter.

Those are a few of the big ticket items. What else do people recommend to help us take good pictures in the field?

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if there is a gun in the picture, make sure it is not facing the person in the picture. you wouldn't believe how many Best Buck Entries in minnesotas outdoor news include those of guns pointing directly at the hunter. i have seen archery pictures where a guy/girl had a pistol on their wast pointing right at them

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#1 FILL FLASH. Often our faces are dark because of shadows. Force the flash and light up your mug, even if it looks as ugly as mine!

#2 Tripods!

#3 Print or cut-out pictures of "hero shots" you like and take them with you. When you get read to take your photo, try to re-create the pose you liked.

And play with the settings a bit when taking multiple shots.

I try to "frame" my shots too, but sometimes the framing/croping is best done on the computer.

Things I would do different with my photo from last year:

1) pull the arrow. Tried, but didn't want to loose the BH, and thought I'm proud of my good shot, I don't mind the arrow in the photo. BUT everyone who sees the photo asks, "Did you put the arrow back in for the picture?" grrr, ugh.

2) same shot, but different locations/backgrounds

3) take more time cutting grass, twigs.

4) hold the deer out in front of me MORE. (He measures ~140", but I don't think he looks that big in the photo.)

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Good one Brule! I always wonder why the heck anyone would work so dang hard to take a deer, then look mad as heck in the pic! SMILE- it won't hurt you!!!

Great suggestions snap! The forced flash is a particularly good one! I'll try post some pics that make this point-- I forgot my my camera today, so I can't get it done today.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • SkunkedAgain
      Those are some fine specimens. Great job
    • gimruis
      I'm quite shocked to hear that a walleye tournament is still doing a live weigh in.  Virtually every event these days around here is doing a catch, photo, and release format.   Regardless, nice work.  Congrats.
    • LakeofthewoodsMN
      On the south end...   A great week of fishing with walleyes and saugers caught in good numbers.   The go-to presentation, again, was a jig and frozen emerald shiner.  Emerald shiners are a staple in LOW and walleyes love them.  Other minnows worked also, but emerald shiners are a favorite of anglers for good reason.   The Lighthouse Gap area, Morris Point Gap and just in front of Pine Island held nice fish in 17 - 21' of water.  Various schools of walleyes and saugers across the south shore.     A quarter ounce jig in gold, glow white, pink, orange, chartreuse, or a combo of these colors tipped with a minnow worked well again.   Some big pike and jumbo perch being caught by walleye anglers. On the Rainy River...  Some nice walleyes were caught on the river this weekend, although most anglers normally head to the lake.  12 - 15' of water is holding some nice fish.   Sturgeon fishing on the Rainy River is closed until the keep season starts up again July 1st. Up at the NW Angle...  Some nice walleyes being caught along with a mixed bag.  12 - 25 feet of water.  Points, neck down areas and bays with warming water were holding good fish this week.    The go-to presentation was a jig and minnow as on the south shore.  A mixed bag as is common around the Angle.  
    • leech~~
      Nice work!   Here's two words you hardly ever hear anyone say anymore.  "grateful and humbled"   
    • Brianf.
      RLG, thanks for the shout-out!     Jeff and I are still trying to wrap our heads around what happened this past weekend.  We are humbled and full of gratitude  for having won 'The Classic' for a second time.     We practiced through all the rain on Thurs and the wind on Friday and found six different spots holding big fish.  Fishing was good on both days with several 'overs' in our catch...but would it hold up for another day?   We didn't know.     On tourney day, we made a long run to our first spot where I lucked out on a 26.5"er on my second cast.  Jeff followed up with a thick 27" er a few minutes later, which turned out to be the big fish for the event at 7.26lbs.  We finished out our limit and weighed-in at 10:30 am for the welfare of the fish in our livewell.    There were some big weights in this event which would have won in most other years, but - for whatever reason - this was our day.  Everything just went our way.  Again, we are just super grateful and humbled by this success.  We also want to congratulate all the other anglers who did well and give a big 'thank you' to the tournament organizers who put on such a great event!  
    • SkunkedAgain
      I had a good start to the season on opener. Fishing was slow but consistent. I had four eaters in the box by lunch dragging perch raps. Crappies were biting. I haven't been up since so don't know how things have changed since then, but I'm sure the walleye continue to migrate out into the main basins.
    • redlabguy
      Let’s start this by congratulating Brianf and son for winning their second City Autoglass Walleye Classic last weekend. These guys know how to fish.  We just got to the lake for the season. Chores are almost done and I’m ready to fish.  red(new dog is more yellow)labguy
    • Jetsky
      I tried starting a 2024 Lake Vermilion Fishing Report topic but it doesn't show up on this board.   Maybe somebody else knows how to do it?
    • Mike89
      then use the BB gun after catching them!!!    and then enjoy rabbit dinner for revenge!!!   
    • leech~~
      Yep crazy. 🤪 I played goalie in HS and my two grandsons play hockey now.  
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