LAST UPDATED: February 25th, 2020
We see it all the time, bad trophy photos! Nothing is more agitating than hearing someone’s amazing story about their once-in-a-lifetime monster buck, and then looking at their blurry, horribly framed pictures. We all know those guys that like taking the bed of the truck, blood on the mouth, sitting on top of the deer pictures. Sure, maybe getting an amazing photo of a doe, or a decent buck isn’t very important to you. But when you shoot that mega giant that you’ve been after for the past 3 years, you want to be able to frame a good picture and look back on the photo years later and remember all the sleepless nights you spent thinking about him, and all the hard work you put in to getting him. It’s tough to do that when the camera was out of focus, or when he just doesn’t look as big as you remember him.
But with a little help from Justin, you just need to follow these simple steps, and you’ll be blown away by how good your pictures turn out!
Trophy Photo Steps:
Prop the Deer Upright – Flipping the deer on to his stomach can show off the size of the bucks chest and shoulders, as well as hide the white belly and area where it was field dressed.
Tuck the Legs Underneath it – This will flex the leg/shoulder muscles and make it easier to hold him up.
Loosen up the Neck Muscles – Rigor Mortis can set in fairly quickly, so make sure to loosen him up a bit so that it doesn’t feel like an extensive workout while trying to hold his head at different angles.
Spread out the Front Legs Slightly – Doing so will give him a wider base so that you’re only holding the weight of his head/rack and not his entire body.
Sit on Your Butt! – Kneeling behind the deer and hunching over can make him look a little smaller and also give you a sore back. So sit all the way down to show how big the deer actually is.
Clean up the Blood – Tuck in the tongue as well. If there’s one thing that makes a non-hunter squirm, it’s seeing the tongue hanging out and blood on the mouth. Cleaning him up also shows how much you respect the animal.
Bring the Deer Somewhere Scenic – Good background foliage can be essential to making you and the deer pop just a little more.
Camera Needs to Be Level With the Hunter – Taking photos from above can make the buck appear to be smaller, so get level with the deer. It also shouldn’t need to be said, but please use an actual camera! The clarity of pictures from phones is getting better every year, but they still shouldn’t replace a good quality camera.
Smile! – Shooting a big mature buck is a great accomplishment, heck, shooting any deer is a great accomplishment. You did it! Don’t try to act all tough like it’s just another day of hunting, you succeeded, now celebrate!
Use Flash (if needed) – On nice and sunny days, the sun can cast shadows on to your face and on the deer. So use flash to fill in the darker areas.
Get Different Angles – The basic deer facing straight forward is typically a good pose. But sometimes a buck looks better at a certain angle. Be sure to move him around a bit and change the camera angle as well.
We hope that this can help you out a bit this season, and prove that you don’t need to be a professional photographer to get those professional quality trophy photos. As always, don’t forget to send in your trophy photos for a chance to be in an episode of Bowhunt or Die!