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** Take Quality Pictures......Ones to be proud of!! **

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** Take Quality Pictures......Ones to be proud of!! **

Old 08-26-2008, 04:40 PM
Giant Nontypical
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Matt / PA's Avatar
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Location: Dover, PA USA
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Default ** Take Quality Pictures......Ones to be proud of!! **

Like Rob's "Recovery Thread" this one has been around for quite a few years as well and is probably in its 7th go around as one of the handful of annual preseason pinned topics.

The topic itself may seem trivial or even silly to somebut it's a fact that how we present ourselves and our lifestyle to the general public is an important consideration to be made before we start snapping those pictures.
We will alsobe creating images in the proccess that we will be proud of and will look upon with admiration again again long after the hunt has ended.
This topic is alsoespecially relevant forHNI given that wehave established the Huntingnet Bowhunting Deer Contest as a yearly tradition, and the need for “Photographic Evidence w/ bow” in that contest.

At the end I willinclude a recent example of how I like to present the outcome of a successful hunt. Please feel free to contribute your own examples as well.

Here ya go!:

You have that animal you worked so hard for, dreamed of all offseason ..….it may very well be an animal of a lifetime in your hands!

What you do next will decide how well that memory will be replayed and preserved for years to come.

You’ve all seen them………and if you don’t hate them I’d be shocked. You know what I’m talking about: Tongue hanging out, laying lifeless in the back of a pick-up truck……..or the absolute most horrible of them all,(insert Psycho shower scene music here) hanging by its neck from the garage rafters!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHhhhhhhhh!!
What are you doing!
A little fore thought, a small amount of time and some creativity will help you to take pictures that you will be proud to show anyone, ones that will do the moment justice and ABOVE ALL ELSE honor the spirit of the animal you just harvested.

I won’t call these the “Be all End All” guidelines for how to take pictures (I’m NOT a professional photographer by any means) but you can rest assured that if you eliminate most of the things you SHOULDN’T do ,chances are you will be much happier when you get that film back from 1hr photo (cause’ ya know none of us can wait days for developing!)

1. Ok, I know we’re not all John D. Rockafeller……..cameras are expensive plain and simple. You can get as crazy as you want with expensive super telephoto/digital high resolution etc. etc., or you can get by with some simple and inexpensive disposable options. The main thing to remember is this……The best pictures are those taken on the spot, in the woods and fields where the animal lived and died. They not only add needed scenery to a picture but they also help to tell the story as well.
Several factors will determine if this in the field photography can or will happen…….if you have a buddy to help take the pictures you can at minimum keep a decent disposable camera in your day pack. Very little added weight or space taken.
Obviously if you are by yourself you’ll need a “REAL” camera with an automatic shutter feature. There is a company (Savage archery systems) that makes a great little cameral tri-pod that uses arrows for the legs by fitting your nocks into slots on the tri-pod. Works GREAT!


In any event do your best to have a camera (with a flash) handy. You can’t take a picture without SOMETHING!

2. Don’t be afraid to take a BUNCH of pictures…….usually you’ll know if you’ve
taken enough when your hunting buddy starts to complain or starts calling you “Miss America” . Whatever you do, absolutely positively DON’T stop after one or 2 pictures…….blow an entire roll or 2 if you have to, or fill up that digital memory card! I have seen too many instances where 24 pictures are taken and maybe 1 or 2 come out truly good so imagine your odds of a frameworthy picture if you stop at 3??.

3. Posing the animal is sort of an art form in itself…….you want the animal to look tasteful, and quite frankly, alive. Try to avoid the “Overhead” airplane shots. Have your buddy get down eye level, get close get far , straight on, quartering, hunter sitting, hold it this way, that way………basically be creative.

Check out the poses in the hunting magazines. Find one you really like, remember it and try to duplicate it with your own animal. Better yet, cut the picture out and stick it in your wallet or license holder........when the time comes you'll have that picture right in front of you and you can use it to duplicate the shot.

4. Compose the picture…..think about what is behind the shot and how it will play into the picture. If there is a nice bit of early morning sun hitting the forest floor only a few feet away, by all means get the animal into it. If there is a particularly nice tree etc get it in the picture. Remove all foreign debris like twigs, weeds etc from sticking up in front of the shot. Nothing worse than getting the pictures back and the camera focused on and flashed out a big fat weed a foot from the lens!

Also don't always center the person in the middle of the animal, think about some of the offset type poses where the center of the picture might be somewhere between the animal and the person, especially on close ups.

5. Take the pictures BEFORE the animal is dressed! It will look more full, and more alive. Speaking of alive, sounds extreme, but you might want to invest in a set of taxidermist eyes. It doesn’t take long for a dead deer (or whatever) to get a “Dead” eye. You can easily slip these fake eyes into place and not only will you have nice lifelike eyes, but no “Eye Shine” from the flash.

6. Wipe off all blood, stick the tongue back in or simply cut it off,and for God’s Sake if the arrow is still in the animal REMOVE IT. I know some of you are thinking……” I’m not going to worry about what other people think” Well frankly you should. Being able to proudly show a non-hunter a tastefully done picture showing how proud you are of that animal…….honoring the animal will go a lot farther than a bloody deer hanging from its neck I can guarantee you that! A little Windex or water sprayed around the mouth and wiped clean will make a much better and professional looking picture.

Another tip that was recently showed to me: All lung shot animals will bleed from the nose and mouth and will continue to ooze blood from these openings long after the recovery. After you clean up the muzzle area roll up some paper towel pieces and tuck them back into the nostrils out of sight and another wad into the back of the mouth. These will saok up residual blood and prevent any new blood from staining the cleaned up face. (Thanks Billy in WY for that tip)

7. SMILE!!!!! Guess what? You are having a good time, you’re not getting your picture taken for “Soldier of Fortune” magazine.

8. Get the Hat out of your eyes……yeah we want to see you too.(Some of you anyway[:'(])

9. Make sure that you get the bow in the picture. Again helps to tell the story (Also a requirement for the Contest)

10. Put something solid under the deer’s chest cavity to prop it up a bit…….will give a much fuller looking animal. When an animal is lying down you don’t realize it but it is on a very near parallel angle to the ground. Bringing the chest up and out a bit will do wonders. Also try tucking the legs into a “Bedded” position under the animal. Looks very lifelike.

11. Smooth back any funky hair…….slick it back with your hand...DETAILS!.

12. Use your flash to fill shadows. Even if you think its light enough.

13. Get close…….many many many times I’ve seen people THINK that they are going to get what they see in that viewfinder and they wind up with a picture that looks much farther away. Don’t be afraid to take some shots from what you think is “Too Close”

14. Digital Cameras are GREAT…….and as technology gets better and better you are starting to see prices on very good ones come down considerably. Nothing like the instant gratification and feedback of a digital. You don’t like a shot, simply erase it and try again. If you go this route, remember to save the pictures to a DISC! You lose your computer, you lose your memories. (I want to ammend this entry as last year someone mentioned a good point........unless it's a blatant bad shot like you accidentally took a picture of your foot or the skydon't delete the picture.....sometimes those candid unplanned shots are the best ! In any event Digital cameras give you that OPTION.)

Also many places like Walgreens, CVS etc have digital photo stations where you can take your digital media and have your pictures uploaded, cropped, enhanced, etc etc and have prints made in a matter of a couple hours as well as your picture CD to save them forever!

15. The animal is NOT a carnival ride so don’t even dream of sitting on it’s back! This even looks tacky for the truly big animals like Elk and Moose.

16. Don’t pull a “Bill Dance” and stretch your arms out to the camera to make your 13” 8pt look like the “Jordan Buck”! Nobody is buying it and we want to see the true animal! Be proud of what it is.

17. Pick-up beds are a big pet peeve of mine……..especially since most of the time it involves just the animal looking VERY dead, or since there is no room you wind up with “Joe Hunter” riding bareback. YUCK!!!! I find no excuse for this one except a lack of really caring or laziness. If you can’t get the animal’s picture taken in the woods for whatever reason, that’s understandable. If that's the case, drive to a Park or a friend’s house with some trees…... Just make it somewhere in a natural setting, remember the above tips and do your best to make it look lifelike! ( NO the garage floor next to the can of Kerosene and your spare tire doesn’t count as a natural setting!)

18. Get your hunting partner in the picture! He’s your buddy……..(your now jealous buddy!), but your buddy nonetheless, and when the 2 of you relive the hunt though the pictures they will mean much more to you

19. Pass it down……..sorry to remind everyone, but we are all going to pass onto the big hunting ground in the sky someday. Leave something behind for your kids to show your love of the sport in a way they will be proud of! Is there anything better than to imagine your grandkids sitting around a fireplace paging thru “Grandpas” old hunting album and remembering the hunts and the man behind them. Everybody now……….Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

That should do it, if anyone is still awake!
I know this isn’t the “Bible” of how hunting pics should be taken…..it’s not meant to be. I don’t know many of the technical aspects of photography, so what I have listed here I have figured out through trial and error, common sense and personal aesthetics, but I GUARANTEE that if you follow even a few of them your pictures and memories of a cherished moment in your life will improve for the better.
I CHALLENGE everyone to take the best pictures that they are capable of, ones to be proud of, to look at again and again with a smile………And above all else to HONOR THE ANIMAL.

And when you take that “Perfect Picture” , the one you can’t stop staring at……if you haven't considered this topic before, you'll thank me later.

For the 2008/2009 version of this topic I will highlight my buddy Frank's 07' PA archery buck (HNI member Kidd642)

This is how I generally like to set upa picture........nice interesting background with quality lighting. Fill flash used, nice expression and a quality pose and animal. Notice how the simple use of an offset pose (hunter to one side) enhances the look of the picture. Remember you don't always need to be hovering directly over and behind the animal! This was one of about 50 pictures we took of that deer, from various angles, bow, no bow, etc etc.
Be creative, and remember you might only find one out of 50 pictures you truly like,so if you stop at only 2 or 3pictures.......chances are it's not one of them!

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Old 08-26-2008, 04:49 PM
Nontypical Buck
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Default RE: ** Take Quality Pictures......Ones to be proud of!! **

This is the thread I have been waiting for!! I sure hope everyone reads this. Because we get some ummmmm....crappy looking pictures entered into the contest every year. It doesn't take that much effort to get really good ones.

Maybe we should deduct inches for bad trophy Pictures!!
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Old 08-26-2008, 04:54 PM
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Default RE: ** Take Quality Pictures......Ones to be proud of!! **

thanx matt! love this post...i learn something every year i "should have done"

biggest thing is finding a "camera man" and someone that CARES about taking pics....i need a mini tripod to throw in my pack...i gotta look at some and order one here soon...many times turkey hunting i dont have anyone around and cant get field pics at 6am...usually got it cleaned before anyone wakes up or im stuck with "in the backyard" pics...

really gotta work on proping them up this year...i usually just pick up the head and have pics taken...like you say...just looks D E A D
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Old 08-26-2008, 05:18 PM
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Default RE: ** Take Quality Pictures......Ones to be proud of!! **

I love this thread as well. Quality photos should be a priority. It always seems the biggest bucks ever killed have the worst photos.

Take the Beatty Buck. The only known photograph of it circulated with him in the back of his truck in a parking lot in jeans and a camo coat.

They then had to airbrush it to make it presentable in all his advertising.

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Old 08-26-2008, 05:23 PM
Typical Buck
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Default RE: ** Take Quality Pictures......Ones to be proud of!! **

That is a great thread. The guy is a stud [8D]seriously great reminder to all. good info.
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Old 08-26-2008, 05:37 PM
Nontypical Buck
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Default RE: ** Take Quality Pictures......Ones to be proud of!! **

Thanks Matt!!! Great thread as always.

Mauser, find yourself a stump or fallen Log. That's how my Dad and I did it last year. Set his camera on the log with a timer. Came out really nice.
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Old 08-26-2008, 07:03 PM
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Default RE: ** Take Quality Pictures......Ones to be proud of!! **

great thread. Alot of people dont take the time to take a couple good photos and it is time you can never get back.

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Old 08-26-2008, 07:30 PM
Nontypical Buck
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Default RE: ** Take Quality Pictures......Ones to be proud of!! **

Thanks again Matt. I took this thread to heart last year and now I have some great photos to remember the season by...does, buck, coyote...they all got their picture taken. Every animal shot with a bow is a trophy to me. Great job and thank you.
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Old 08-26-2008, 08:49 PM
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Default RE: ** Take Quality Pictures......Ones to be proud of!! **

One thing I can recommend too.... Get a copy of a digital editing program (Photoshop etc) With in a couple hours you can learn to digitally edit pics (color balances, lighten and darken different areas to enchance them, etc etc)in a few minutes.

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Old 08-26-2008, 09:23 PM
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Default RE: ** Take Quality Pictures......Ones to be proud of!! **

This is one of some of my best friends in late 50s. They have all passed but I think it is a great photo.

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