Taking Better Turkey Hunting Photos

By Chris Larsen

We have all seen it. Just about everyone has one. The photo of a dead turkey laying in the back of a truck. After all the time, money, and effort that goes into getting a turkey that is how you’re going to commemorate the event? Some people say they don’t care about the photo. If that is the case, why take one in the first place? If it is worth doing, it’s worth doing well. Here are some great tips for taking better turkey hunting photos.

Take Your Camera With You
hanging turkeys by the spursThis may seem like it’s self explanatory. If it is, why do so many people take a picture in the back of their truck, on their driveway, or in their garage? The setting is just as important as subject. A few years ago I killed what many would consider a mediocre whitetail buck. But the photo was taken at the top of a hill with the entire valley in the background, including our cabin. The deer was recovered in that spot but since that day I’ve often thought of taking photos of all my game from there. It’s gorgeous and the photo is treasured in our camp despite bigger bucks hanging on the pole.

Capture The Hunt
95% of all turkey hunting photos are harvest shots. There certainly isn’t anything wrong with that but don’t forget to take some shots of the hunt itself. Get some shots of the hunter, the landscape, and even non-game species. Everything that makes the hunt memorable for you is fair game when it comes to photos. Get some shots of your calls, your gun, anything used to bag a bird.

Keep An Eye On The Sun
On overcast days you can shoot your picture from just about anywhere. On bright, sunny days the sun should be at the photographer’s back. If the sun is behind the subject the photo will look washed out and their face will be dark. Most turkeys are taken during the day so natural light is almost always available. If you’re hunting fly-up hours, a flash is required.

Think Like A Fisherman
Fisherman know how to take good photos. They extend their arm all the way toward the camera and get as far into the background as possible. This makes fish look huge! You don’t necessarily want to make your turkey look enormous, but the angle is still important. Most turkey hunters kneel on the ground when posing with their bird. If the photographer is standing up and shooting down, the photo isn’t going to look as good. Lay down on your belly and take the photo from the prone position. Getting on your subject’s level is going to lead to better photos.

The Secret Ingredient
I have one pet peeve that trumps all others when it comes to hunting photos. When you ask someone why they hunt you will get a variety of responses. At some point, all of them will say they enjoy it. After all, if you don’t enjoy it, why spend you’re free time doing it? But every year I see photo after photo in hunting magazines showing hunters holding turkeys with a look on their face like they just found out they’re being audited. It’s not your high school football photo. Don’t be afraid to smile. Look like you’re having fun.

Have a great season and if you’re lucky enough to tag a bird this spring, use these tips for memorable photographs.


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