How to capture your trophy catches – and proof – on camera
Technological advances in recent years have made it extremely easy to document on-the-water memories and milestones.
Just about everyone carries a smartphone or some sort of handheld device capable of taking high-resolution photographs. The cameras on these gadgets are impressive, providing anglers with the ability to capture their trophy catches.
But it seems many folks don’t know the first thing about taking a decent photo. Have you ever landed a solid fish or your personal best, and had your buddy snap a shot of you with your catch on his phone, only to be disappointed after viewing it? This has happened to me many times.
Memorable fishing adventures deserve to be preserved forever. Anglers who adhere to these tips will be able to produce quality images, freezing cherished moments in time.
WATCH YOUR HORIZONS
Crooked horizons reduce the quality of photos by making them less dramatic. A slanted image can be fixed with the cropping application in most editing softwares. But keep in mind some of the image will be lost or cropped out as corrections are made. The best thing to do is to try to shoot a photograph with a level horizon from the start.
ANGLES ARE EVERYTHING
Camera angles and the way fish are positioned while being photographed play major roles in how photographs turn out. Orienting fish in a way their head or tail is slightly closer to the camera lens is key.
One tactic I like to use is the “head down, tail up” method. The idea behind this strategy is as simple as it sounds. Position the fish with its headed pointed downward, so its tail is higher in the air. The head should also be farther forward than the tail and closer to the camera lens, while the tail of the fish is toward the angler’s shoulder.
This pose also can be reversed, with the tail pointed downward and closer to the camera, while the head is facing upward, farther away from the lens.
Rather than use a zoom feature on a camera, the images are more impressive when photographers take photos as near to their subjects as possible without missing any important details. This makes for a nice, tightly framed photo and eliminates the need for any significant amount of cropping.
TAKE NOTE OF BACKGROUND
Position your subject so there isn’t anything in the background that will take away from anglers and their fish. This includes objects like fishing rods, or landmarks, such as buildings that might be onshore. If these things are within the backdrop of your scene, reposition the angler to avoid distracting from the main focus of the image.
THE SUN AND LIGHTING
Shoot photos in a way the sun lights up anglers and their trophies. Oftentimes, this means the angler needs to be somewhat facing the sun. When an image is backlit, the colors that are meant to be displayed can sometimes appear washed out.
With this comes the need to pay attention to shadows. When the sun is high in the sky, it is more difficult to keep shadows off your subjects. You might need to have anglers who are being photographed tilt up their hats slightly so shadows don’t cover their faces.
HOLDING A FISH
A fish always looks better in a photo if it appears it could swim off at any second. One way to make a catch appear more lively is to photograph it immediately after it’s caught, and have the person holding it tickle its belly. This usually results in the specimen extending or fanning out its fins.
Anglers posing for a photo should also try not to cover up large parts of the catch’s body with their fingers, and they should avoid grabbing a fish by its gills.
THE BIG PICTURE
Make sure you’re not cutting out anything important to the image. This can include a number of things, such as the top part of an angler’s head or the tail of a fish.
When framing an image, the “Rule of Thirds” should always be considered. This basically involves dividing a photo into three equal sections, both horizontally and vertically. Positioning subjects along the imaginary inner boundaries of these sections will help balance out the frame.
This list of tips can also make your action shots pop. Whether your buddy’s rod is doubled over from a drag-pulling brute, or the fish he or she is fighting is thrashing at the surface, try to do what you can to adhere to the aforementioned strategies.
There’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t be able to relive each and every memorable catch. Make plans to create incredible photos during your time spent fishing this year. Salty excursions pass by far too quickly, but a picture lasts a lifetime.