How To Get Better Trail Cam Photos

Trail camera scouting is the rage these days for whitetail deer hunters. The cameras now available have seriously changed the game in the way of quality and ease of use. Cellular cameras even send images directly to your phone allowing you to scout without ever even setting foot in the woods. They’ve truly come a long way in the last 5 years. But there’s more to quality trail cam photos than walking into the woods with a “set it and forget it” mentality. A little effort on the front end will help you maximize the images you get from your cameras. We checked in with our resident trail camera guru, Mike Fitzgerald (Fitz), to hear what he considers the 5 tips for better trail camera photos.
wolves in snow

Checking trail cameras can be as exciting as Christmas morning when you make good, quality sets.

Face Cameras North

There’s nothing worse than having to filter through hundreds of black or blown out images caused by the sun triggering the motion sensor. You can avoid these false triggers by pointing your camera in a northerly direction when possible.
trail cam on lake

Be conscious of the sun and how it might affect your shots.

Aim Camera Down Trails

Try and aim your camera down or diagonally across trails. Not only will this allow your camera a longer time to capture images, but trails and deer that quarter to or away tend to make a more visually appealing photo.
trail camera deer in snow

Aim your camera down a trail rather than perpendicular to a trail for better results.

Use Water Crossings

Not only do water crossings concentrate animal movement, but they can make for some beautiful scenery as well. Want some unique photos? Find a log that crosses a stream. You’ll find mink, squirrels, foxes, wolves, eagles, heron, ducks and more. All sorts of critters use log crossings.
wolf on log

You never know what might show up on your camera when you make a log crossing set.

deer standing in water

Trail cameras set by crossings and creeks are always a good bet for great photos.

Clear The Way

Make sure any blowing grasses or branches right in front of the camera are trimmed or tied out of the way. Add a little wind and these can cause even more false triggers than the sun. Keep a pair of snips with you when you are putting trail cameras out to make simple work of clearing limbs, vines, weeds, etc.
deer at water hole

A clean, clear path to your potential subject will produce much better results.

Compose The Shot

Composing the shot is the most important element, no doubt. Don’t just throw your camera on a tree and leave. Take time to compose the shot. Use leading lines, the Rule of Thirds, and foreground/background subjects to add depth and interest to your images.

rule of thirds for photography

Compose your shots with the Rule of Thirds for killer looking photos – even from a trail camera.

Your camera doesn’t have a screen to preview? Set it up, let it take a couple photos. Use a card reader and that phone in your pocket to see how it looks.

eagle on trail camera

When it all comes together you’ll be thrilled with the images your trail cameras produce.

See all the great trail camera options from Stealth Cam at

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