10 Simple Steps to Better Trophy Deer Pictures

10 Simple Steps to Better “Trophy” Deer Pictures

Outdoors Magazine
Outdoors Magazine

Colchester, VT –-(AmmoLand.com)- Casual Friday is here again and today’s topic is taking better “trophy-shot” pictures of dead game – primarily deer.

Each year at Outdoors Magazine we see thousands of “trophy” pictures. Some are good, a few are great, but most fail to capture the moment and don’t do either the deer or hunter justice. Nothing frustrates our editorial staff more than seeing a great deer photographed in the back of a pick-up truck at night next to beer cans. You know the type of picture – usually the deer’s tongue is hanging out as well.

10 Simple Steps to Better Trophy Deer Pictures
10 Simple Steps to Better Trophy Deer Pictures

The truth is you don’t need any fancy equipment to take good trophy pictures. Most digital cameras on the market will do the job. All that is necessary is a little time and few minor adjustments. The end result could be the difference between a picture worthy of a magazine cover and one that is forgotten about somewhere in a desk drawer.

Taking into account any of the following suggestions is guaranteed to produce better pictures.

  • Clean up the deer. Take the time to wash off any blood, open the eyes and tuck the tongue in the mouth. If the deer is gutted remember to be discreet about how that will appear in the picture.
  • Watch your background. Pictures taken in trucks, on game poles, or in garages are the kiss of death. The deer and hunter both look awful. Instead, pose the deer in a natural environment outdoors.
  • Check your lighting. The great thing about digital cameras is the ability to view your shots and go back immediately and pick-up on the shadows and things the lens captures that the photographer might overlook. This allows you take make adjustments. Night pictures should be avoided whenever possible.
  • Think of the hunter. Cigarettes and beer bottles are two absolute no-no’s. Also look at what they are wearing. Hunting clothes usually make for the best pictures. Take time to make sure shirts are tucked in.
  • Tip the hat. Many great pictures are ruined by the shadows created by a visor. Always tip the hat up to see the hunter’s face.
  • Open your eyes. If you are really enthusiastic buy a set of glass deer eyes which you can pop-in like a set of contacts. We learned this trick from Charlie Alsheimer, arguably the nation’s best deer photographer, and started using it with tremendous results.
    Take pictures at many different angles. The bottom line is the more pictures you take the better your chances are for a good one. Don’t be afraid to lie on the ground and shoot up at the deer and hunter. As you get better at this you will begin to notice antler positioning, etc.
  • Watch the hands. Often the way a hunter holds a deer can make it look bigger or smaller. Horns pushed out towards the camera make them look bigger. Also hands wrapped around the antlers can be distracting – especially if hands are bloody or there are gloves on. Try to hold the antlers as minimally as possible.
  • Be quick to shoot. Without fail – pictures taken immediately after the animal is shot before it is gutted will portray the animal the best.
  • Shoot verticals. Many photographers only shoot with the camera in the standard horizontal position. By tilting it to the vertical position you are opening up a new style. The majority of frames on the market and most magazine covers only accommodate verticals.

Each month Outdoors Magazine shines its spotlight on different areas of the outdoors world. Features and sub-features are multiple page spreads written by select experts in their fields. In addition to features and sub-features, each month Outdoors Magazine has over 40 columns written by real guides, industry experts, and the best in their fields. Our staff are die-hards who take the time out of their lives hunting and fishing to write. For more information visit www.outdoorsmagazine.net.