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Thread: How to take really worthy trophy photos (Hero shots)

  1. #1
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    How to take really worthy trophy photos (Hero shots)

    Most people are really impressed when they see a great photo of an animal you shot. The photo can make the animal look really good or really bad. It's well worth a little extra effort to take the time to set up a shot to make it really worthy of a place in your home rather than under the visor of your truck. For many of us that can't afford taxidermy, this is a very cheap way to preserve the memory ot your hunt.Here's a few tips to take a quality photo.

    1. Clean up the animal-

    A shot of your deer or other animal with blood all over its face or a bloody tongue hanging out is disrespectful to the animal and will put off many folks that you share it with. Also showing huge Rat Holes with guts hanging out of them may seem cool if you're 15 and want to start a broadhead love/hate thread, but would you frame a picture of guts and hang it in your house? Take the time to clean up your animal. I always have some paper towels, water etc. handy for the shot.



    2. Pick a location for the shot-

    Deer don't always die in a picturesque spot. Move the animal to a nice looking setting with something interesting in it (Rocks, cool trees, old tractor, broke down old fence etc.) to make the shot more interesting and capture the outdoor setting where you hunted. Interesting backgrounds make interesting photos. Don't make the background the star of the shot but have it featured in the shot. (For example- hanging a big Gobbler from an old fence post and kneeling down next to it etc.) Use your imagination.

    3. Pose the animal-

    Set the animal up like you would with people in a portrait. Prop your buck up on its belly with feet supporting it and stretch his neck out so you can turn it, facing the head different ways for different angled shots.

    4. Compose the shot-

    Composition is probably the most important thing that you have to LEARN to take good pictures. After you choose a good location, clean the animal up, stretch the animal out and pose it, and sit the hunter behind it, you have to frame the shot correctly.

    Shoot at the hunter and animal from their level or below them. Get down on the ground or even lay down in front of them. If you can pick a spot where you can put some SKY behind the horns to really showcase them. Antlers with tree branches and weeds behind them get lost in the shot. Have the hunter sit on the ground behind the animal leaning on it or holding up the head from behind, but not sitting directly behind the horns. Sit off to the side of the antlers so you can see them separately.

    Have the sun light the shot for you. Face the hunter into the sun in the daylight and tip your hat back if the sun shadows your face so you can identify the hunter rather than seeing a black shadow for a face. Use your flash if you have to to light the hunters face, even in the daytime. One cool effect is for a low light shot (Sunrise or sunset) shoot the sun in the background so you see the colored sky and use your flash to light the hunter and animal.

    FILL THE FRAME! when you take the shot. Shoot the hunter and animal right up to the edges of the frame. If you stand 50 feet away to take a shot and feel like the cool old Oak tree way over there should be in the picture too, move the deer over to the tree and sit in front of it but fill the entire shot with the interesting subject matter at hand. Lots of people see a picture and say that would be a killer shot "if you cropped all of this junk out of it" Crop the shot in your view finder before you push the button.

    Don't sit ten feet away from your trophy to make it look BIGGER! Be proud of what you shot and get in the picture with it, Besides, people will call BS when it looks like your buck has a 50" spread and you look like a GI Joe sitting next to it. You will probably have to show them the antlers at some point anyway and they are invariably disappointed when they see the real thing after seeing your photo VOO DOO.

    5. Take LOTS of shots!

    Especially with digital photography, it doesn't cost more to shoot too many pictures anymore. Keep shooting, shoot from several different angles. even different backgrounds. Shoot the deer by itself. Shoot it with the hunter behind it, holding it up, standing in the background, shaking hands with your buddy, with your kids being happy with you etc. etc. Just get lots of shots.

    It pays to have too many rather than not enough. You can always cull through them and get rid of most of them when you're done ( I bet you won't) and the odds that you'll get that perfect shot that is an absolute home run are better if you have a pile of them to sort through.


    Good Luck!
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  2. #2
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    Skyline the antlers- but no need to sit way back like this. (That Elk is big enough without special effects)
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  3. #3
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    good post

  4. #4
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    I'd prefer to see some just like they were found.

  5. #5
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    How about something like this

    [IMG][/IMG]

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  6. #6
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    One more

    Hoyt Carbon Matrix Plus on the way!
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  7. #7
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    I agree about trying to take the best pic possible.

    I also agree that the pics on the back of a truck, or in a garage full of shiRt dont look good.

    I try and do what I can because it does look better when your season is over and you reflect by looking at pics.

  8. #8
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    When you find them lying dead someplace the next day, are they too stiff to bend around into that classic 'lab on the couch' pose ?

  9. #9
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    Hey good post Edge and great pointers. I also agree with bluestem that I do like the 'scene of the crime' pics as well--ones just as they were found. But I also agree they are not always the proper choice for showing particular people.

    Boandme, its gonna be really hard to follow your post--what a GREAT deer and excellent pics!! But here's a youngish but pretty darn nice WV buck I harvested a few days back and took some pics with my iPhone.





    Here's your pic Bluestem...showing exit wound and plenty of lung blood...(I'm allowed to post this, right?)


    That's the best I could do with my phone cam and nobody with me. The rack wasnt as wide as I'd hoped, but exceptionally high for a 2&1/2 year old

  10. #10
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    Good info! Now all I need to do is go shoot me a deer to implement my new learnings.

    I have always taken several pictures with my animals, and set them up (not to this extent but I tried). I did the basic stuff, like get down on their level and look at your backdrop, etc. One thing I want to add is that, you don't have to be taking pictures of a trophy to make a great picture. In fact, some of the best pictures I have taken is with a doe I shot and an old cull buck my Dad shot (his first animal shot with a bow). So take pictures of all deer that are shot (it's practice at the very least, for the day you shoot that big monster).

  11. #11
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    I would think some enterprising group from Georgia would find a Chinese company to manufacture a Trophy Grooming Kit in a camo fleece case containing a brush and comb set, spray cleaner, and small pocket winch to bend that head around. The deluxe kit would include a patch of fake deer hide and small spray cans of brown and grey paint to help cover up the gut shots.

  12. #12
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    Great tips! Sticky!

  13. #13
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    Very nice DW! That's a picture that captures the look of a hunt! Very good.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluestem View Post
    I'd prefer to see some just like they were found.
    Its nice to have both types of shots. We all spend countless hours hunting these critters, its more than worthwhile to spend a few extra minutes taking some good pictures.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluestem View Post
    Very nice DW! That's a picture that captures the look of a hunt! Very good.
    Thanks! I'm with you---being a hunter I definitely love seeing the pics of the scene and I think most hunters do too. For showing the girls and some other folks, I'd show them a different pic

  16. #16
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    It's on the way I'm sure. Post up those bloody pics as they really happen for me, I'm not for wiping off the blood to show respect for a animal that I just put a arrow thru, but to each his own.
    Happy Hunting and good luck.
    Chris
    Quote Originally Posted by bluestem View Post
    I would think some enterprising group from Georgia would find a Chinese company to manufacture a Trophy Grooming Kit in a camo fleece case containing a brush and comb set, spray cleaner, and small pocket winch to bend that head around. The deluxe kit would include a patch of fake deer hide and small spray cans of brown and grey paint to help cover up the gut shots.
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  17. #17
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    I appreciate this post. I've never done my pics this way, and I always have been more than a little disappointed with most of the pics I've taken. I too like to take pics of the way I find the deer in that exact environment for my own memory's sake, but I will be taking a little time to get some good posed pics also. I don't agree with the tongue out and bloody pics being disrespectful to the animal; I shot and killed it for Pete's sake! Respect for the animal is being happy about the kill, cleaning it pormptly, eating the meat and giving some away to people less fortunate. Nice post; and thanks for the information.

  18. #18
    My friends call me the photo nazi! When I take trophy shots I make them hold it this way, that way, move your hand back, smile, adjust animal multiple times and so on. One of the final things I have to tell them is to quit whining, once you get the photo you will see why we are doing this. Never had a complaint with the finished product!

  19. #19
    Over the years, I wish I would have taken more time to take quality photos. People come into my house and consider it the "house of death." Animal mounts and bloody pictures everywhere. I just smile and tell the story.

  20. #20
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    i come from a family of "back of the pickup photographers"

    my background in photography has made me try to change them over the years.



    the thing that bothered me was shooting my biggest buck to date, 127" 10 point with a bow, and the only pics i ever got with him are in the back of my uncles truck. i wasnt even in the photo. just a picture of the head.

    yes i remember the hunt but i really wish i would have had better pictures
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by boandme View Post
    How about something like this

    [IMG][/IMG]


    EXACTLY!
    Great shots and great deer. Very nice work.

    To Bluestem- you can loosen up a deer for shots the next day and you can still take good shots of the deer how you found it and make them look good. (meaning if the deer crashed into a wire fence and got choked up into a yoga pose you probably would do some rearranging)

  22. #22
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    Here's a nice one-
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  23. #23
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    Smile!!! That is a great deer!
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  24. #24
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    I started carrying my Nikon DSLR, remote shutter and a tripod in my pack this year, just for quality photos. Haven't been able to kill the buck I'd like to pose with yet though....
    Steve

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  25. #25
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    Another thing, use our flash, even in the daytime pics. Especially if you're wearing a hat. Nothing worse than a great picture with half the hunters face blacked out from a shadow.
    Steve

    "It's a Navy Seal type bow. It works by pulling it back and shooting it."

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