How To Get Next-Level Trail Camera Content

Jul 23, 2021 | Tips & Tricks | 4 comments

Firstly, we begin this article with a public service announcement. Trail camera technology, accessibility, and popularity continues to grow. Trail cameras have literally “changed the game” in how we hunt. Considering this, trail cameras are being analyzed under an increasingly growing microscope. Many state game and fish departments are considering, or have already, enacted trail camera regulations. It is important hunters know and follow any state laws/regulations as well as use common-sense ethics when using trail cameras.

Setting trail cameras has become a sport in itself, with people setting trail cams just for the sport of getting unique photos to share with friends, on social media, and for photo contests. Follow these tips to take your trail camera photos and videos to the next level.

Upgrade Your Trail Cameras

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Year-after-year trail camera technology jumps leaps and bounds, with cameras becoming capable of real-world photography and videography quality. To sum this tip in simple terms – use the best trail cameras to get the best quality. Stealth Cam, one of the most popular trail camera companies, has affordable cameras capable of 30+ megapixel and 4K Ultra-High Definition video. To put that into perspective, a Sony Alpha A7 III professional point-and-shoot camera is 24 megapixels and shoots 4K UHD video.

Think like a Photographer

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To take next level trail cam pics and video you need to be engaged with what you are capturing, much like a real photographer. Being engaged as a trail cam’er is more difficult because you aren’t actually snapping the photos in the field as a photographer would be. The photos are captured when you are gone.

To become more engaged like a photographer, try this. As you hike around looking at potential spots to set a camera, imagine what the end photo is you want. We suggest even going as far as using your fingers to create a camera frame like you see photographers do on TV – moving around and trying to frame the best shot. Don’t worry, no one is watching to make fun of you. As you do this, you engage yourself in the photography aspect of trail cam’ing and start to visualize the end product.

Work with Your Composition

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We have all seen those trail camera photos where the background, and even foreground, is a menageria of trees, branches, and vegetation. The picture is busy and hard for your eyes to focus on one spot, let alone the animal. If you want to take next level trail camera content, avoid this like the plague.

One of the most basic aspects of good photography is composition. You can control and manipulate composition in your trail cam pics. Keep your horizons level and avoid distractions in the foreground and background as described. Setting a trail camera where the photo has a sense of balance and simplicity will put your photos above most others.

Another unconventional way to control composition and make the photo more interesting if you have a busy background is to climb a tree and take the photo from several feet up looking down. This will change the perspective and the photo completely.

Unique Locations

Finding a unique and creative location is a way to really set your photos apart from the rest. Nothing will get you more likes or more engagement than a one-of-a-kind trail cam location. For example, last year we came across this giant beaver pond (more like a beaver lake) and thought, “wow, could you imagine setting a camera here looking out into the pond”. We did, and captured some very unique footage of elk splashing and cooling off in the summer heat.
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BaseMap Tip: Use BaseMap’s Rivers & Streams layer to identify water sources to place trail cameras on – oftentimes wallows, seeps, and hidden springs will be at the head of these shown streams.

Think outside the box. Seek out interesting and engaging settings. Sometimes you sacrifice quantity for quality when setting cameras like this but when it does happen, it is worth the wait.

Upgrade Trail Camera Components

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By components we mean the batteries and SD cards used in the camera. Again, it is pretty simple – use the best to get the best. If you are taking high-def pics and video it eats up more data storage on your SD card and batteries. Our advice is really simple – use the highest speed, largest data storage SD card the camera will accept. Also use longer lasting lithium batteries so you don’t miss a cool shot or video. You could even consider using a solar battery if you feel your camera is in a safe enough place people (or animals) won’t mess with it.

Quality Over Quantity

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Next level trail cam’ing often leads to a lot of photos without the primary target in mind, the animal. Be willing to accept those big empty scenes captured on your camera. When setting up your trail camera with unique locations, composition, and other creative photography aspects in mind, you sometimes end up with situations where other things like vegetation, the sun, or shadows trigger photos on your camera. No need to worry, it is all about quality over quantity. For example, let’s use the photo above of the elk in the sunset. This camera set had approximately a 1:1000 ratio of pics with animals in it to pics with nothing but the sun and horizon. Each day the camera would track the sun late in the afternoon until it went down. We accepted this reality knowing when the perfect picture happened, it would be worth it, and it was.


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  1. Wow! Great article, very informative.

  2. Thank you for reading, Josh!

  3. Very nice information.I consider myself to be pretty good at setting my cams out.And I’m sneaky as to where I set them.Because we all know the outcome..Great photo of the Bull Elk.

  4. Another solid article, fellas.

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