Originally published Monday, September 23, 2019 at 07:29p.m.


This is a good photo of Lake Havasu resident Mike Hulsey and a huge largemouth bass he caught on a trip to Lake Comedero in Mexico. (Photo by Don Martin/For the Miner)

Every year I receive photos from anglers and hunters that they would like to see printed in our paper’s Outdoors Page. It may be of a big fish they caught in Lake Mead, or the first deer that their son or daughter took on a hunt.

I try to get every one of them in, but unfortunately some will never be seen by our readers.

Taking photos suitable for publication in the Great Outdoors isn’t as simple as having your friend kneel behind his buck or bull or holding his big striper and then just snapping the photo.

While I don’t consider myself an expert in taking photos, I have had a lot of experience over the many years I’ve worked as a hunting and fishing guide, and as a newspaper and magazine writer.

And even more importantly, I have the pleasure of working with a variety of editors at The Daily Miner who have offered tips and ideas on what they want to see in a photo.

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and in many cases, that is true. Most of the time it is the photo of the end result of a hunting or fishing trip. And in those cases, you as a photographer want to make sure that your photos are suitable for publication.

Remember, this is a family newspaper. As such the photos have to be acceptable for most readers.

Note I said most readers.

I am well aware that there is a segment of the population who don’t believe that any animal should be taken, much less featured in this newspaper.

I understand that, but Kingman and Mohave County also are home to a lot of hunters and anglers, and their love of their heritage and sports shouldn’t be denied.

But as outdoorsmen and conservationists we need to make sure that we do everything we can to portray our sport in a positive manner to our readers.

So here are a few tips for you when taking photos of any animals or fish you take. Remember, these are tips for the average sportsman who wants to honor their animal or fish and maybe have it printed in our newspaper.

1) Take the time to clean up the animal or fish. There should be no blood, visible wounds, or tongues hanging out of the animal.

2) Pose the animal in a natural position. Deer, elk, javelina and antelope can have their legs tucked underneath of the body.

3) Never sit or stand on an animal. This is not demeaning to the animal, but offensive. You can use rocks, wood or even dirt to rest the animal’s head on.

Again you want the animal to look like it is in a natural setting.

4) Take your photos early in the morning and in the evening just before sundown.

The sun at these times has a softer glow and the people won’t have to squint.

Taking photos of people and/or animals that are in the shadows won’t work. Many times I get a photo of an animal or a person and it is obvious they were in a shadow while the photographer was in the sun. Get close and use a flash if you must. But it’s much better to have your subjects in the light.

5) Use a stable platform such as a tripod to put your camera on and use a timer. This not only makes sure the camera is steady, but allows the photographer to get into the photo.

6) Kneel, sit or even lie down to take a photo.

Rarely will a photo opportunity present itself where the photographer is even with or lower than the subject he/she is trying to photograph.

That means that the photographer must adjust to get the best possible angle.

I like photos where the antlers or horns are above the skyline and stand out on their own. Having an animal in front of a sportsman in camo defeats the purpose of taking a photo of the animal. Remember, it is the animal or fish that is the most important subject of your photo.

7) Don’t take photos of animals in the back of a truck or UTV/ATV. Again this is not a natural position to show your animal.

8) Get close for the photo, then move in closer.

Many times I’ll see a photo where you have to almost blow it up to see what the animal is or who is holding it.

Take a lot of photos and delete the ones that aren’t any good. In the “old days” of film the general rule was if you got one photo out of a roll of 24, it was a successful photo shoot.

9) Take photos from different angles and always show respect for the animal.

I believe every animal we take deserves the respect of taking a photo of it to share with friends and family.

Think about it. The buck you take this fall may be the tenth one you’ve taken in your lifetime; but 20 years from now it will be part of your history to have a photo of the buck you took “in the good old days!”

There are many more ideas or tips that I’m sure professional photographers could add, but think about these when you’re out hunting this fall, and let’s share your stories and photos with friends and neighbors.