It’s rare to find a hunter today who doesn’t carry a camera or phone equipped with cameras. Everyone likes to take pictures after a successful hunt, and most then post them on social media or share with friends via the internet.

If you’re proud of meeting the challenge of harvesting a game animal, show the quarry the respect it deserves. That can be demonstrated in the way you handle the animal and by appreciating the food its meat provides, and also how you display it by taking dignified, tasteful pictures.

Since I’ve spent much of my life photographing hunters with game in my job as an outdoor writer, I’ve learned a few steps to take that will allow you to get tasteful, attractive pictures of the hunter and his deer, grouse or turkey. Here are a few guidelines.

First, try to get a simple, uncluttered background, preferably the woods or field near where you harvested the animal. Never photograph game you have a reverence for in front of a garage or in a pickup bed or strapped to an ATV.

The most popular photo hunters take is of the deer with its head up and the rack in the hunter’s hands. Make sure the antlers stand out clearly, such as in front of a blaze orange coat or against a field or blue sky background.

Either look straight at the camera or at the animal. The latter pose unites the two subjects in the portrait (you and the deer) with your eyes focused on the quarry.

Another type of photo that can display the animal respectfully and attractively is to simply have the hunter kneel behind the deer and be admiring it, but not touching the animal or holding its antlers.

If you hunted with a friend or guide, take a few photos of both of you with the deer or gobbler. That will help bring back memories of the time you spent together with companions, which always makes hunting more memorable.

Try some different shots as well, such as walking up to the quarry. Try taking a photo of dragging out a deer from behind the deer, or slightly quartering and behind. This makes an attention-grabbing shot and demonstrates the hard work that is part of hunting. It also shows that hunters appreciate their quarry and plan to use the meat.

Never take a photo of yourself squatting on top of the deer or standing above it. Kneeling or sitting behind the animal is usually the best pose.

When possible, try to take photos in warm early morning or late afternoon light.

Don’t try to make a buck look extra-large by having the hunter pose far behind it, holding it far out in front, or using a wide-angle lens. Most viewers will see the trick. Let the animal’s size and beauty speak for itself.

If the sun is bright, try to avoid harsh shadows on the hunter’s face. Removing hats or using fill flash usually helps.

Always wear blaze orange in the photo when it is required by law.

When photographing a gobbler, spreading the fan completely open usually offers results in the most impressive photo, but also take a few of holding the bird up by the legs.

Remember that pictures can spread wide on social media. Don’t take any photo that is disrespectful of the game or might be considered so by non-hunters.

Finally, try to photograph other scenes such as the habitat where you hunted and other wildlife you saw, including game and non-game species. As all hunters know, there’s so much more to a hunt than taking an animal. Convey that with some images of these other highlights.

Safety Precautions

ALWAYS unload your firearm immediately after game has been harvested and the hunt is finished.

Demonstrate safe practices in pictures by never pointing a firearm or crossbow at yourself or another person in the photo or allowing it to look like it is, even if its unloaded.

When taking an image of a hunter in a tree-stand, make sure that person has a full-body harness attached to the tree with a tether or lifeline.

Never photograph a hunter in a rickety or decayed-looking wooden stand.

Follow these tips and you should get photos that will make both you and all hunters proud.

Award-winning outdoors writer Gerald Almy is a Maurertown resident

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