Shooting turkeys with a camera will make you a better turkey hunter when shooting a bow or a gun. Want to know why? Photography is valuable for learning the behavior of turkeys and how individual birds interact with their flock and other animals.
Turkey photography is also a good way to scout for the upcoming hunting season and become familiar with specific gobblers and their routines.
Three primary elements go into producing a good photograph:
1. An interesting subject (in this case a wild turkey)
2. Excellent lighting
3. Superb composition
Tips for Taking a Good Photograph
- Sunlight provides good lighting and brings out a turkey’s iridescence feathers
- Place a bird a little off-center for a more pleasing picture
- Give the bird lead room, more distance in front of the bird
- Make sure your subject is in sharp focus (not blurry)
- The photo should be properly exposed (not to dark or light)
- Action photos make the best pictures, capture a turkey doing something
- Fill the frame of your camera’s viewfinder with the subject (move closer or use a telephoto lens to magnify)
There are three options when choosing a camera and they all have pros and cons:
1. Cell phone: handy, but not the best for wildlife photography because of their wide angle lenses
2. Point-and-shoot: compact, lightweight and offer several automatic features, but they don’t offer much versatility
3. DSLR: the best option for wild turkey photography, but they can be costly and heavy
Purchase the best photography equipment you can whether it is new or use. If you are in the market for a DSLR, stick with one camera brand, switching Nikon/Canon camera bodies and lenses won’t work.
- Use a blind to get close enough for a good photo, make sure to set it up before you use it
- Use several decoys (bens and toms) to help attract read birds closer
- Situate yourself where turkeys like to be: in pastures, field edges, food plots or strut zones
- Go out mid-morning once birds have left the roost
- Hunt from your turkey blind once the season begins
Don’t forget to share your photos with others or on social media sites. Other turkey photographers will know how hard you worked to achieve the perfect picture. For only a few bucks you can put your photo on a t-shirt, drinking mug, mouse pad or other products!