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Ducks Unlimited


For a growing number of waterfowl hunters, capturing images and videos from a duck or goose hunt to share on social media has become as much a part of a day in the blind as blowing a duck call or handling a retriever. If you check your Instagram feed as often as you do the weather app while out hunting, check out the following 10 tips on how to improve your skills as a social content creator.

Building Your Rig

The sky is the limit when it comes to the amount of money that a photographer or videographer can spend on equipment, but Wade Shoemaker believes it isn’t necessary to break the bank to create content that will cause people to stop scrolling.

“A camera body with 1080p or 4K capabilities, a 24-105mm lens, a shotgun mic and a ND filter; you can do an awful lot with that set up right there,” Shoemaker says. “And there is nothing wrong with buying used gear that’s in good shape. I bought one of my first set-ups from a friend. It was everything I needed to take my content up a level.”

Learn From Others…

Anyone who enjoys creating content can learn something new or find inspiration by checking out the work of others on social media, Shoemaker says.

“You can see that the folks out there creating really good stuff are not standing straight up, pointing the camera at a decoy and taking a picture. You start to see the importance of levels, of capturing a hunt from a different perspective,” Shoemaker says.

…But Do Your Own Thing

That said, Shoemaker adds that the goal is not to imitate another content creator.

“Don’t worry about your stuff looking like someone else’s photos or reels,” Shoemakers says. “Be who you are. Shoot what you shoot. Learn from those who are at the level where you want to be, but still do it your own way.”

Chase Your Shot

Shoemaker says that his personal goal is to end every hunt with 30 images that meet his standards for posting online. The key to reaching that goal, he says, is simple.

“Don’t be lazy. I cannot sit in one spot all morning waiting for a shot to come my way,” Shoemaker says. “I get up, I move around, and I chase it.”

Trust Your Hunting Instincts

Many of the same skills that waterfowl hunters use to put birds over the decoys also serve a content creator well when capturing images and video.

“As a hunter, you know how to stay concealed, you have an understanding of how birds are going to work the spread, and you know to watch the reaction of a flock to be able to pick out which mallards are going to break from the bunch and finish in the hole,” explains Tyler Sahr. “All of those skills benefit you when you switch out a shotgun for a camera. Trust your instincts to guide your lens.”

Post Regularly

If the goal of posting content online is to build followers or capture the attention of a business looking for media production, Sahr says it is important to post three to four times a week, if not daily.

“This is not only about keeping your audience’s attention, but it is also a way to show people how your work is progressing,” Sahr says.

Keep Things Organized

Posting frequently becomes a more realistic goal, Sahr adds, if your content is well organized and easy to access.

“You will never regret putting in the time to keep your stuff dated, and tagged and labeled appropriately,” Sahr says. “It makes it so much easier to find what you want when you are scheduling posts or if a business reaches out to see if you have a particular image. And I strongly recommend buying an extra external hard drive where you can dump your files every day, so you don’t overload your computer. Having back-up copies of everything is a smart idea, too.”

Don’t Ignore Your Normal

The images that catapulted Doug Steinke into the spotlight as a waterfowl photographer featured every-day scenes from the rivers of western Nebraska. Today, his Instagram feed remains full of images that capture the simple, natural moments that occur while hunting ducks and geese.

“You will miss opportunities to capture some amazing content if you ignore your normal, everyday experience,” Steinke says. “It could be anything: the landscape where you hunt, your tradition of having a tailgate lunch after the hunt, or the way you set up your decoy spread to hunt birds in your area – just take photos of everything. The audience will tell you what they find unique.”

Separate Yourself from the Hunt

In order to produce content that is relatable to consumers, Steinke removes himself completely from the blind to remove any influence the camera may have on the experience of other hunters. A 100-500mm lens allows him to safely capture images and the story of the hunt from a distance.

“When I’m not in the blind, the hunt tends to just play out more naturally,” Steinke says. “From a distance, I am able to look for those real, honest moments and emotions of a hunt that just can’t be replicated.”

Explore New Country

Steinke also encourages content creators to travel to different locations as much as possible, even if a particular destination has been covered thoroughly by others on social media.

“It is all fresh to you. You may be able to provide a completely new, unique perspective on that location,” Steinke says. “The more you get out, the more you shoot, the more conditions you shoot in, all of that is only going to help you improve as a photographer or videographer. Don’t be afraid to hit the road and try something new. Time and gas can open up some cool opportunities.”