4 Ways To Improve Your Trail Camera Pictures

Do you struggle with getting quality trail camera pictures? Here are four ways to improve those photos.

By: Alex Comstock

That moment of inserting an SD card full of trail camera pictures into your computer is quite unique. The blend of excitement and anxiousness never goes away, no matter how many cameras you’ve checked in your life. As you fumble to get the card in, and your computer loads, you can’t wait to see what bucks have shown up in the last month. Finally, it loads, and you start scrolling, and quickly the excitement turns to disappointment. Your photos show a butt of a deer, and you don’t know what it is. The next one is a buck so far off; you can’t tell which one it is. As you go through all of your photos, you realize that most of your pictures weren’t helpful. Trust me, we’ve all been there before - well I know I have.

There is nothing more frustrating than bad trail camera pictures. Sometimes it’s not your fault, and sometimes it may be because of a user error. During the last couple of years, I have been running anywhere from fifteen to twenty trail cameras at a time, and have quickly picked up on a few things that help me produce better pictures.


Face Your Trail Camera North


Now, I understand this isn’t always possible. But, if you are using trail cameras to pattern deer, or to identify and get an inventory of bucks, you want to avoid facing the camera towards the sun when pictures will be most prevalent. Odds are most of your photos will come in either the morning or evening (when they aren’t during the middle of the night), so facing the camera east or west could bring a couple different negatives to the table. What happens to me when I face a camera in this direction is that I seem to get a lot of false images. I don’t know if that’s from the sun triggering the camera somehow, but it happens often. The other negative is when you do get a buck in front of your camera, there is a chance the sun could be beaming into the lens, and have the same effect as if you were trying to look straight into the sun. You may not be able to identify a certain buck, and that can be frustrating. Obviously, the sun rises in the east, makes it way south, and sets in the west. If you want to avoid any interference, when possible, get those cameras facing north.

Utilize Scrapes All Year

Scrapes are a very underrated method of obtaining trail camera pictures outside of October and November. If you want to increase your trail camera photos, scrapes are a great way to do it, all throughout the year. Even though bucks may not be physically scraping in the summer or post rut, they still use licking branches as a communication method. I have gotten some great trail camera pictures of bucks hitting a licking branch in the summer, fall, and winter months.


Have Your Camera Set For The Right Situation

I have often seen where people have their trail camera set up for the wrong situation. I’ve done it many times too, but it can be easily fixed. There is a major difference between setting up a trail camera over a trail and over a mineral or bait site. When it comes to that mineral or bait site, deer should be standing in front of the camera for longer durations of time. Because of this, it’s much easier to know where you should place your camera. You shouldn’t have to worry about a deer moving through quickly, and only capturing the hind quarter in a picture. Where you need to think about this more is when you have your trail camera placed over or on a trail, pinch point, etc. If you have your camera facing so that deer are most likely to come by it left to right, you might end up with a better chance of having a blurry picture, or not getting the full deer in the frame. What I like to try and do when possible, is to face the camera so the deer would be walking at it. This allows more time for the deer to be in the detection zone, and hopefully, will yield higher quality photos.


Don’t Check Your Cameras As Often

If you’re looking to improve your trail camera photos, one simple way might just be to not check your camera as often. In most cases, the more you check your camera, the more pressure you put on the deer, and the less often they will want to visit where they smell you (aka by your camera). By not checking your trail camera as often, it should hopefully encourage more daylight movement as well.


Everyone strives to get those amazing trail camera pictures, right? We all want that perfect picture with a big buck smack dab in the middle of the frame. If you aren’t getting the pictures you desire, take a step back and see how you could improve. It might just be one of these four things!

featured image via Flatline Whitetails 

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