Photo Taking and Filming While Hunting | Tips, Gear, and More
The art of photography and the tools used in the trade have advanced far beyond the imagination. Photos allow us to relive our greatest memories, and capture those moments that will live on forever. Moments that we hold dear are immortalized, allowing us to reminisce for years to come. Memories made afield should be no different. Hunting is a time-honored tradition that serves as the basis of some very special memories for thousands of people. Being able to capture these moments in the field means a lot to each and every hunter. But, with so many equipment options available, it can be overwhelming to determine what gear is right for you. Here are some tips and gear recommendations for when you are taking photos in the field or filming while hunting.
Timeless Photos Demand the Right Gear ––––––––––––
The gear available today lies on a vast spectrum, varying from the simplest method of snapping a picture on your smartphone, to the complexities of using a professional camera—both options coming with very different price tags.
Today, almost everyone has a smartphone in their pocket. The smartphones of today come equipped with some pretty powerful cameras, that with the right know-how, can produce stunning photos. Simply learning how to frame up your shots can dramatically increase the quality of your photos and ensure that your memories made afield last a lifetime.
However, if you’ve become comfortable with your smartphone and are looking to take that next step into the world of photography, there are a lot of options out there awaiting you. In short, it all comes down to your budget, preference, and level of knowledge or willingness to learn.
If you’re itching to take that next step, here are some cameras we recommend that have all the features necessary to capture quality photos during sits in the stand or that final grip-and-grin…
- Nikon D3500 w/ 18-55mm lens ($450) – DSLR cameras can really elevate your photos. This camera, in particular, allows you to maneuver through manual settings, play around with what combinations work best for you, and let you explore the ins and outs of the camera how those settings affect your shots.
- Canon EOS 80D w/ 18-55mm lens ($1,150) – This camera and lens combo is a step up from the first option, meaning that it’s a little harder to use, but definitely worth it in the long run. Loaded with more specs and opening up the options, this camera will allow you to manipulate more of the settings and really up your photography game.
- Sony A7 iii w/ 28-70mm lens ($2,200) – This mirrorless camera packs in some big-time features and specs. If you’re looking to get into filming your hunts, this camera can do a lot for you and the footage you’re able to capture.
After determining what route you’re going to take in terms of the camera itself, there are a few accessories worth investing in. Ask any great photographer and they’ll tell you that investing in a camera bag and tripod are not only worth it, but necessary.
Packing for a hunt means that you need to have room for all the necessary tools, but the bag also needs to offer protection from the elements. The Pioneer 1600RT from Vanguard offers an outfit of features that make packing for a hunt a breeze, while also offering protective storage for the camera you may decide to take along.
When it comes to stabilizing your shot, sometimes it takes more than a steady hand. The Alta 233AO Tripod is ultra-lightweight and compact, making it easy to carry with you into the woods. Or, if you prefer something more accessible, the PH-304 3-Way Window Mount easily and securely attaches to the windows of blinds, shooting rails, or other surfaces to help you get that once-in-a-lifetime photo.
Hunting Photography Tips and Techniques ––––––––––––
When you think “hunting photos”, nine times out of ten then first thing that comes to mind are harvest photos. Be it a father alongside his son who just took his first deer or someone who has just harvested the buck of a lifetime, more often than not, your photos taken afield will include the animal itself. To make the most out of these photos consider this…
Take a lot of photos—this is your one chance to photograph the animal. Don’t rush. Take your time and ensure that you shoot everything you can possibly think of so you have no regrets once the animal has been drug out.
Clean them up—take some time to clean the animal up a bit. Wipe off any excess blood, put the tongue back in the mouth, and try to avoid catching the wound in your frame. Doing so makes the photos look more professional instead of a rush job.
Vary your shots—don’t just take the typical “grip and grin” photo that we see all the time. While these photos are awesome, don’t be afraid to take different shots from lower or higher angles. Have the hunter look at and reflect on the animal in the photo instead of looking at the camera. In short, get creative!
Aside from harvest shots, take some time to consider what pieces of the hunt you’d truly like to remember and reflect on in years to come. Take some time to capture the travel, the scouting, the views from your stands, pictures around the camp, and those celebratory moments post-hunt.
You don’t have to be a professional photographer to capture quality photos in the field. When it comes down to it, all you really need is a camera, a day in the woods, and a little creativity. Look for inspiration from those in the hunting community. Take some time to identify what photos really resonate with you and how you can apply that same style or idea to your own original photos.
The more photos you take, the more comfortable you’ll become and the better the photos will be. That being said, every photo that captures an element of the hunt is a meaningful one. You’ll treasure that simple shot that stirs up those memories for years to come.