Close Search

Cell Phone Photos

March 2021
Author: Austin Atkinson

In the early days of Huntin’ Fool, we received magazine photo submissions in envelopes after members returned from their local film developing service. Most of us remember the days of paying extra for the one-hour photo service so you wouldn’t have to wait to see how your trophy photos turned out. Fast forward to today, we can see the finished product before we even leave the kill site because we are so accustomed to using our cell phones for our trophy photo sessions. Now when we consider 4G service expansions nationwide, some of us will share a photo to our favorite social media before we finish quartering the animal!

Just a few years ago, we used to say that a cell phone photo would not be considered high enough quality for print in the magazine and especially not on the cover of Huntin’ Fool. I can tell you now that with the improvements of the newest smartphones, we have had multiple cover story images this past year that were cell phone photos. As long as we can receive the original image, not downsized images for texts or other emails, most iPhones and Androids will have plenty high-quality images for print in the pages of this iconic magazine. If you are still carrying a digital camera in your hunting pack, make sure to learn how to use it and to not just rely on your phone, if possible. Typically, the larger the image sensor and wider the lens, the better quality, light, and colors you will end up with. This is why a real digital camera is still preferred for most hunters and outfitters in the field.

One feature that I find many hunters using while in the field is the ever-popular Portrait mode that iPhone users love. This mode is an artificial process that creates a depth-of-field effect on your photo that is the same as you would get if you manually adjusted the aperture on a reel. This is also referred to as a “blurred background” effect. While photos of your dog or dinner plate may look great in Portrait mode, they will rarely work out for your trophy photos. As the iPhone processor attempts to identify the distance of the objects from the lens, it often cuts out or crops in portions of the photo that should not be in focus. We receive photos all the time of giant mule deer bucks that have blurred out sticker points and cheaters, all thanks to iOS and their Portrait mode. It’s not worth it! If you want to have a blurred background image to make your trophy really “pop,” this blur effect can easily be added in Photoshop, Lightroom, or any other photo editing software once you get home.

Don’t forget the basic context of the photo before thinking it is good enough for the magazine. Awkward poses, shadows, bloody tongues, etc. should all be adjusted and cleaned up before that trophy photo is taken. Do your best and share with us what you have from this year!