Deer Hunters: take a field photo of your buck worthy of framing
Congratulations! You just harvested a dandy buck. Before skinning and quartering commences, a quick photo op is your next order of business. Don't ruin the memory of a great hunt by straddling the buck in a pickup bed and awkwardly hoisting it by the antlers with your big bloody mitts.
Instead, take a few moments to set up for a quality field photo worthy of framing. Then, you'll have a satisfying hero shot to match your wall-hanger. Who knows, it might even help you win a photo contest.
Here's how to pull off the best post-harvest deer photos of your life:
– Find a good backdrop. The key to an attractive field photo is to snap it in an attractive setting. Try to keep the backdrop as natural and clutter-free as possible. If fall foliage is more picturesque a few yards from the dead blow down at which the deer currently lays, consider moving the deer those few extra yards to include the colorful leaves in your photos.
Likewise, rolling agricultural fields or mossy-rocked mountainous terrain will add more substance to a photograph than a mowed grass yard with buildings and vehicles in the background. If possible, consider "skylining" a rack above a hill's horizon line, but keep in mind that autofocus cameras will darken a figure in this scenario, so the use of a flash may be required.
— Prep the deer. Take a few moments to groom your harvest if necessary. Tuck in the tongue, brush off any leaves or debris and wipe away visible blood. Then, tuck the legs under the deer's torso. This is more visually appealing than sprawling legs and will actually make the deer look larger than if lying on its side.
– Guide the photographer. If a hunting buddy or family member is taking the photos, ask him or her to get down to eye level or lower. This almost always provides a better photo than a standing photographer and a kneeling subject. I've also taken many great field photos by myself, using the self-timer on my camera, which I rest on a stump or hunting pack.
– Take a variety of photos, both vertically and horizontally, with and without flash, from several different angles. Closer is usually better, so don't be afraid to zoom or get close, and try to fill about one-third of the frame with deer and hunter and two-thirds with surrounding landscape.
– Showcase the trophy. Whatever you do, try not to crowd the buck. Kneel or sit behind the deer instead of next to it, so you don't obscure its body with your own. Also, don't wrap your hands around the antlers. Instead, lift its head with fingers behind the rack, by the ears or behind the head at the crease of the neck and jawbone.
– Take some shots straight on and some with the head turned. If the buck has any unique headgear characteristics, be sure to highlight its best side in your photos. If you'd like to include a weapon in the photo, make sure it is tastefully held or placed in a safe position. Remember – it's OK to smile, tough guy. You just shot a deer, so be happy.
– Be particular. Most modern digital cameras have a built-in "view photos" option. Use it. If you don't like how something looks, the lighting is poor, or the images are blurry, take a few extra minutes to correct the problem and snap a few more photos. It is always better to be picky now than to wish you had been later.
By following the steps listed in this blog post, you will be well on your way to capturing a lasting memory of your hunt through a well-planned photo session. Without a doubt, taking time to honor a special trophy with quality field images makes remembering your harvest all the more satisfying. You won't regret it.