You’ve put the work in. You’ve had a successful hunt. Now it’s time to take the photos. Shooting hunting photos is actually a task that should be taken with a high level of discretion.
Let’s face it, we have all seen poor quality images. As well, we have all seen images that are downright cringeworthy with regards to honoring and respecting the animal whose life was taken.
By taking the time to shoot images that capture the moment and still afford the utmost respect to the animal, you will get those shots of a lifetime and ward off any untoward comments from fellow hunters and anti-hunters.
Here are 10 tips to achieve both goals: quality photos and animal respect
- Take your photos before you dress out your animal. This allows the animal to be photographed without a gaping belly cavity or removed head. It makes for a beautiful photo and allows the animal to be presented with the least amount of blood or dismemberment.
- Clean the animal. Do your best to remove blood or to show the animal from the least affected side. While hunting does indeed involve creating some sort of hole in the animal, it is best to avoid showing that. I have seen images on social media with gaping holes. While that is personal choice for the hunter, it does spark the ire of hunters and anti-hunters alike.
- Do not sit on, stand on, straddle or otherwise appear to ride an animal. I’m not sure if I really need to explain this one. That said, I still see it on social media. I believe we can all agree it shows a serious disrespect to the animal.
- Put the tongue back in the mouth. If it will not stay, consider cutting the tongue off.
- Keep the animal in the habitat in which it was hunted. You will be much happier with your image if you take the photo in the field rather than the back of a truck or in a garage. It also puts the animal in it’s natural surroundings.
- Agree or disagree here, but you will have a better image if you do not use antlers as gun or bow racks. It is also somewhat disrespectful to the animal. Again, people have differing opinions of this, but in all of the images I view (and there are many!) the best ones do not have guns or bows in the antlers.
- With larger animals, tucking the legs under the animal offer a much better photo than taking the photo with the animal laying on its side. Sitting beside or behind the animal will also give you and the animal the most realistic pose with the most realistic photographic perspective. Avoid taking your photo far behind the animal in efforts to make it look bigger. Keep the shot realistic.
- Blue sky! And if it applies, get antlers and horns into that blue sky. This creates a beautiful photograph and captures the animal well.
- Watch for shadows across the face or animal. You may need to shift around a bit to get that perfect shot, but it will be worth it.
- Also remember to tip up your cap to take the shadows off your face. I am a huge offender of this rule.