- Compass direction
- Travel direction
- Obstructions (flash burnout and false triggers)
The height you mount your camera depends on the size of your target animals (e.g., turkeys, hogs, deer, etc.), how wary they are (bucks may notice a camera mounted 3' or lower but may not notice one mounted 6' or above), the terrain, the availability of something to mount the camera on, whether you have to be concerned about theft, and probably several other factors.
Please see the article Camera mounting height examples for pictures of cameras mounted from 1.5' to 10' high, as well as example photos from each.
If you have the option, the best direction to face your camera is north because it will never get direct sun shining into the lens. South is also good. If possible, avoid facing the camera generally east or west because the sun will have a negative effect on your photos either early or late in the day.
Try to position the camera so that the action is closer to the center of the frame top to bottom than to the bottom of the frame. If your targets are ground-based critters, you want more ground in the picture than trees and sky unless you are trying for that buck silhouette at sundown.
This is especially true if you are using Photo + Video because videos have different aspect ratios.
The camera is aimed too high in this photo. A third or less of the photo height is the ground. The top half of the photo is trees where there is no activity.
This screenshot of the video shows one reason that the camera is aimed too high. A good part of the fawns is cropped out.
The camera aim has been lowered in this photo.
Here's another example of the camera being aimed too high. There's likely to be very little activity in the upper 2/3 to 3/4 of the photo. If the aim is lower, the ground between the camera and the feeder will be included in the picture. There will also probably be less washout from the sky so the colors will be more saturated.
Here's another example with a very shallow foreground area and a lot of treetops and sky in the background. Even if the deer walks toward the far edge of this area, everything is still in the lower half of the photo. If the camera is aimed lower, the whole deer would likely be in the photo and there would be a lot less sky to wash out the colors.
If the camera is monitoring a trail or an area that animals move through (rather than a feeder, mineral site, or food plot), maximize the distance and time that the animals are on camera by aiming the camera at an angle to the travel path. If possible, avoid positioning the camera so that the travel is straight across the camera or directly toward or away from the camera.
If possible, position the camera so that it has a good backdrop so that the flash can bounce off the backdrop and back to the subjects. Most of the photos in this article have good backdrops. The exception is the Shoot hs photo above.
Post office (good backdrop)
This location has a good backdrop (background). It's fairly close to the camera so the light doesn't have to travel far and the backdrop also keeps the animals close to the camera.
Shooting House (poor backdrop)
The background is so far away at this location that there basically isn't a backdrop for the flash to hit. Before the timber was thinned here, there was a backdrop of planted pines that is no longer there. Animals that are close to the camera are very visible but those in the distance are not.
PITA (mediocre backdrop)
This location doesn't have a close backdrop but the rising ground serves as one to some extent.
Obstructions (flash burnout and false triggers)
Once your camera is in place, you should examine all four edges of the first photos very carefully to see if there is anything intruding. Weeds, shrubs, trees, and vines can affect the flash and/or cause false triggers. They can be hard to identify until you get a night photo or the wind starts moving something and you get false trigger photos. Examine the area carefully and remove as much ob
The colored borders below are a reminder of where to check.
These branches were double trouble. They washed out in the flash and caused false triggers during the day.
These two night flash examples are minor but they give you an idea of how the flash burns out anything that is really close to the camera. These obstructions may be merely annoying if they only affect the flash. However, either of them, especially that branch when it leafs out, may cause false triggers on breezy days.
These two examples show trees that triggered the cameras on windy days. The magnolia tree (picture without snow) was not close enough to cause a problem with the flash but it did trigger the camera many times on a windy day.
The problem branches at the top were removed but that tree on the left still caused false triggers on windy days.