Whitetail hunters are always asking us how we get the great harvest photos that we feature on our site. Well, the short answer is that we spend a lot of time and energy to make sure we have the best success photos in the industry. Every member of Hadley Creek’s crew is dedicated to making sure you have a fantastic hunt – and to preserve the memories of your hunt in photos.
Capturing a great hunting photo begins with practice and at Hadley Creek we have the best results (in terms of whitetail harvest quality and quantity) in the industry. And just like the quality of our bucks, the quality of our photos continues to improve year to year.
Following are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding Hadley Creek’s harvest photography.
Where do you take your photographs?
We get this question a lot – people thinking we shoot in a studio and use fake backdrops. Well these people must not be familiar with how beautiful Illinois can be in the fall. The vast majority of our photos are taken on the same farms that they are harvested. There are times that we move the buck to a nearby farm so we do not exert undo pressure on the hunting. Of course we are also working with professional cameras and lighting gear to make the photos look as good as we can – and again our backgrounds are always real and natural.
Why do all of the bucks look so big?
The best way to make a buck look big in a photograph is to start with a big buck! Ask any of the hunters in our photos – and they will tell you we do not use ‘trick photography’, and we certainly do not have to take ‘big fish’ photos (i.e. by positioning the hunter 10 feet back). You will notice that the hunter is always touching the buck and many times is even in front of the buck! It is no secret that photographing from a lower angle certainly helps, and that every buck has a good angle. But photography is more than angles. It is about lighting, posing, equipment and more. Our years of experience ensure that we will make your buck as impressive as it really is. We also strive to show respect for the animals in all of our photos.
Who takes your photos?
Most of the photos on our site are taken by professional photographer Eric Suhm. Eric’s company, BrainDance Productions (BDP) is based in Tucson, AZ and he travels to Pike County every year for hunting season. Prior to founding BDP, Eric was a video/ television producer for PSE – one of the top archery companies in the world. While producing videos and TV shows for PSE Eric traveled to Africa, Alaska (including Kodiak Island), New Zealand, and even the North Pole! Eric recognized Pike County and Hadley Creek as one of the premier hunting destinations in the world and has been photographing our success photos since 2005. Haven taken over over 1,500 success photos you would be hard pressed to find anyone with more experience.
When Eric is booked (or otherwise unavailable) Stacey Ward will generally be your photographer. As the founder of Hadley Creek – and current land specialist, Stacey has guided as many trophy Pike County bucks as anybody. Stacey’s knowledge of whitetails is invaluable when it comes to taking quality photos. Regardless of who takes your photos, Eric will be responsible for photo processing and fulfillment.
If I shoot a buck with Hadley Creek – how can I get my photo taken?
You don’t have to do anything. Every buck harvested at Hadley Creek is photographed for the website. Your guide will call Eric and make an appointment, and will help to get you and your buck prepared. Eric (or Stacey) will help to pose both you and your buck. We do suggest you wear full camo in your photos. There is no obligation to purchase photos.
Can I get prints of my success photo? How much does it cost?
Of course! Eric travels to Illinois in an RV – set up as a mobile photo studio. In most cases you can even have your photos printed for you on location the very same day – with sizes up to 13”x19”! Eric also has a selection of mats and frames so your artwork will be ready to take home with you. During times that printing the same day is impossible, your prints will be shipped directly to you (generally within one week). In addition, you can order you photos on other materials such as canvas or metal. There is separate pricing for Ala-carte and photo packages depending whether Eric or Stacey takes your photos. Hadley Creek clients receive a $50 discount (assuming the photo orders is placed while still in camp). Eric will go over all of your options during your shoot or photo review session.
Can I get the digital files?
Every order (either Ala-carte or packages) will receive digital files sized for online sharing (i.e. for Facebook or email) for no additional charge.
I’m getting my buck mounted – why would I want photos?
Almost all of our photo clients get their bucks mounted, and photos are a great compliment to your mount. Plus your photo is much more personal, and puts you on location. We have a lot of people who claim they get more compliments on the photos than on the mount itself! And you won’t have to wait to hang your photos on your wall.
I’m not hunting with Hadley Creek, but I love the photos. Will you photograph my buck?
Absolutely! Of course Hadley Creek clients will have to take priority, but Eric is available for outside clients as well. Many clients have driven their bucks to Eric from other counties (from hours away) to have their photos taken. Call Eric (see the last answer) to make an appointment. Hadley Creek clients do not need to call as all arrangements will be made by your guide.
Does Eric photograph anything besides success photos?
Sure – families, children, senior portraits, commercial photography and more. You can visit his website at www.braindanceproductions.com . If you live in Pike County (or are traveling with your family) you can schedule family photos or anything else (contact information below).
I photographed my own buck – can you make it look better?
Sure! While Eric won’t digitally enhance or ‘grow’ your buck, photo ‘developing’ is a huge part of the process. This developing (or processing) involves improving brightness, contrast, saturation, etc. In addition, phone lines can be removed, eyes and teeth can be brightened (no, not the buck!). Eric has close to 20 years experience of experience with Photoshop! Give Eric a call for a quote on your photos.
How can I get in touch with Eric?
You can follow Eric’s work online at the following sites:
Or you can call him for appointments at 520-271-3451