The right photograph at the right time and place can create the memories of a lifetime for any deer hunting adventure. Always bring a camera and tripod along on your hunt, and try to take all “hero” photographs in the hunting area. Attention to a few details can help you create stunning images.
First, on and around the hunter(s), look for shadows cast over the face by a ball cap or hat. Use flash to fill this in, or tilt the hat back. Note the location of the sun and other shadows as you pose the hunters and prey. The best time to take a photograph is during the morning or late afternoon—or on overcast days—when lighting is softest. Use a flash to fill shadows when necessary. Before taking the photograph, look for blood on clothing, zippers open, or items “growing” out the head such as tree limbs or utility poles. Try to position the hunter slightly left or right of the photograph center.
Next, on the deer, wash and remove blood, especially on the lips, chin and nose. Then either cut the tongue off or place it securely back into mouth. Do not sit on the deer, but do remove it from the back of the ATV or truck bed and place it on the ground. Then have the hunter kneel behind or beside of it. Remove odd items (cans and cups) from the area and out of the photograph.
To best show the antlers, have the hunter(s) sit beside the deer on the ground and look into the deer’s face or into the camera. Tilt the deer’s head to showcase the antlers and all points. If you must be behind the deer, have the antlers off to the side so they are not “pointed” into your eyes. Be extra mindful of where any firearms or arrows are also pointing. Hold the deer’s head high and by the base of the antlers—not by an ear—and use only finger tips and not your entire hand to reveal more of the antlers.
Finally, use the tripod to steady the camera and create crisper images. When possible, lowering the camera and shooting upward will make the antlers appear bigger. With today’s digital cameras, take numerous shots so you’ll find one that’s a favorite.
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