Today’s smart phones are armed with camera features that enable hunters to produce better amateur hunting photos than ever before. There’s no excuse for harvesting an animal of a lifetime and coming away from the experience with poor photos. It honors the animal and preserves its memory to take good photos, and you don’t have to be a pro to do it anymore.

Umdende Hunting Safaris offers 9 tips that will enable you to take jaw-dropping photos of your Trophy (or some else’s).

1. Prepare Your Trophy for Photos as Soon as Possible 

How not to hold your trophy

As your Trophy stiffens from rigamortis, it becomes harder and harder to manipulate his head and body for photography. As soon as possible, try to prop him up in a bedded position with his head up. Do not hang him up by his feet or head before photography. If you field dress him before taking photos, try to keep the cut as small as possible.

2. Make your Trophy Handsome

Using water, paper towels, or field wipes, wipe as much blood as possible off his face and neck. You might even want to spray him off with a hose around his belly. Make your Trophy look as handsome as possible – he deserves it and your photos are how you will remember him and show him off for the rest of your life.

Umdende Hunting Safaris Kudu

Location can make a difference

3. Choose a Good Location

Be willing to move the Trophy for photos. Choose a spot that helps tell the story of the region you’re in. For instance, if you’re in a beautiful Valley, try get the trophy and the landscape. Keep an eye out when you’re not hunting for good locations that would make awesome backgrounds once you harvest that trophy you’re after. Also pay attention to where the sun sets or rises.

4. Position the Hunter and Animal Correctly and Be a Coach

Decide what angles will show off the trophy.  Position the trophy in a bedded pose and seat the hunter behind the animal – no squatting like a catcher.  The smaller the hunter looks, the bigger and grander the trophy will look. Take the photos from eye level with the hunter or lower. Try to position the trophy with no obstructions behind it and keep it as level as possible. Sky normally serves as a great backdrop. Elevated areas in certain terrains work very well to help the photographer get lower than the hunter. Coach the hunter to smile, and move the trophies head back and forth and take photos from different angles. As you’re looking through the viewfinder, make adjustments to the pose until it looks its best

Umdende Hunting Safaris Impala

Remove Grass

5. Remove Debris  

Grass, sticks, leaves, cornstalks, etc., can block the photo and they’re hard to notice until it’s too late. Before snapping pics, make sure there’s nothing blocking the trophy. That stuff happens and you’ve got to catch it before you take the photo. Practice a few photos and then review them to make sure everything is the way you want it before you get serious and take the final shots

6. Take Photos in Morning or Evening

When bright sunlight is directly overhead, it can make it difficult to take good photos. Morning or evening will produce the best possible light for your hero shots. If it’s overcast, the time of day won’t matter as much. If your time is limited and you must take them during direct sunlight, wear a beanie or no hat if possible. The shadow from a hat can completely block the grin of a happy hunter.

7. Don’t Take Photos At Night If You Can Help It

If you recover a trophy after dark and can keep it cool enough to preserve the meat, wait until the next morning to shoot photos. You’ll benefit from more light and morning dew or frost can really add beautiful elements to the hero shot.

8. Take Photos at Different Angles and Different Styles : Don’t just take photos at one angle, try several. You may find one that looks better using trial and errors

9. Use Tools and Apps to Add a Professional Touch

Most camera applications have features now that allow you to adjust the colors and effects on a photo, and there are a ton of great apps out there that can take your photos to the next level with special effects and filters. Some of my favourites are VSCO, Camera+, Snapseed, Enlight, TouchRetouch, Instagram, and Mexture