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Tips on How to Take Better Fishing Photos

BY KEITH ‘CATFISH’ SUTTON, WorldFishingNetwork.com

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Shooting great fishing photos like this isn’t hard if you employ the same techniques often used by professional fishing photographers. (Photo courtesy of Keith Sutton)

Want to take better fishing photos to post on social media or print for your family album? It’s not difficult if you follow a few easy-to-remember tips used by photographers who shoot anglers and their catches for magazines, websites and books. These tricks of the trade will allow you to capture wonderful images your friends and family will love.

Be ready to shoot when a fish is caught. For the best images, stop fishing and shoot several photos as soon as you’ve landed a fish. A fish’s brilliant colors fade quickly if it’s kept too long. And if you intend to release the fish in a healthy state, you need to do so within seconds. If necessary, have a fishing companion hold the fish in the water while you grab your camera.

Focus on the fish’s eye. Most fish have rounded bodies. That means different portions of the fish lie in different planes of focus. If you focus on the fish’s side, the eyes might be out of focus, making the fish look lifeless and dull. So when snapping your shot, focus on the eye instead. This will help assure you get vibrant photos of a healthy looking fish.

Light right. When shooting in bright sunlight, get in a position where the fish is well lit, but keep the sun off one shoulder, not directly behind you, so no shadows appear in your photo. It may be simpler, and the results are often more dramatic, if you move in close and use fill flash to light up your subject.

Shoot boat to boat. It’s sometimes difficult to position a fish for a good shot when you and your companion are in the same boat. If possible, position two boats side by side and shoot the fish as it is being held by someone in the other boat. Or, get out of your boat in safe, shallow water and photograph the fish while your companion holds it. You may want to carry some waders or hip boots so you can do this without getting soaked.

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This photo of professional angler Michael Iaconelli was shot during a Major League Fishing event in Maine. The photo was captured with a digital camera and 500mm zoom lens, using the boat-to-boat method. (MLF/Jeff Phillips photo)

Bright colors look best. Ask your friends to wear solid, brightly colored clothing on your fishing trips. Shirts, jackets and hats that are some shade of red, yellow or purple stand out best in most fishing scenes.

Avoid a posed look. When photographing people with fish, try to avoid a posed look. Have the person look at the fish, not at the camera, and ask them to keep the fish properly turned to display it best—not belly up or turned at a funny angle. Avoid those “grip-and-grin” shots all too typical of the bait-shop bulletin board.

Avoid clutter in your photos. If you’re in a boat, get rid of drink cans, used fishing line, bait and other items in the background that can ruin a photo. Also make sure your photos don’t show a fishing rod or fishing line across the angler’s face. And watch for the tip of a rod behind an angler that may appear to be growing from his head or shoulders.

Shoot a variety of photographs. Photograph as many different aspects of your trip as possible. You’ll certainly want to shoot photos of the fish you catch, but also capture the setting, the season and the people.

Take pictures near dawn and dusk. One great way to shoot dramatic fishing photos is to take some pictures at dawn or dusk when the sky is blazing with brilliant colors. Near dawn, fog and mist are likely to rise from the lakes and streams, creating a veiled light that gives the sun and landscape elements a soft magical appearance. When the sun sets, you can use fill flash to light your subject and capture dramatic images with vividly colored backdrops.

Instant replay. If you’ve missed the original action, consider reenacting the scene. Have a buddy place his hand (or a landing net) and the whole fish under water and bring it up sharply to create splashing water. Do this immediately after a fish is landed so it will still be fresh-looking, and shoot with a fast shutter speed to stop the action.

Plan your photo time. If you can’t bring yourself to put your rod down and pick up a camera, plan an hour or so of your trip, near the end of the day if possible, just for shooting photos. Set that period aside, and get the pictures you want for your family scrapbook or the bait-shop wall. You’ll be glad you did.

 23.05.2017  Posted by at 20:21 Photography No Responses »
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10 tips to ensure your fishing photos impress everyone!

BY TIM KNIGHT

photographer 

Angler’s Mail editor Tim Knight advises on how to take better fishing photos — ones that might even make it into the magazine.


So what makes an eye-catching photo likely to make the hallowed pages of AM, or indeed other publications? Here are few elements to consider:

1. Smile

Give me a big grin over a grumpy frown, any day. Ok it might not be ‘carpy’ or what the serious moody looking blokes down your local venues do. Let us share the captor’s joy – not absorb his misery.

2. Eye contact

One famous AM contributor always blinks when a flash fires, but closed eyes in mags are a “no no”. And looking down at a fish, though it has its moments, rarely engages off the page as well as looking at the lens.

3. Background

Some bloke’s bivvy or a random fence? Or water – where the fish was caught? What would you rather see behind a captor? I think I can guess!

4. Clutter

I am sure the messy anglers who submit pix to AM do clear their swims before going home, but changing the angle of shot would mean we don’t get distracted admiring the Pot Noodle, Coke, fag packet, spare jumper, bait boxes, tackle boxes…

selfy-fish

All manner of methods for self-takes have been tried by anglers. Some have perfected what works for them to achieve quality pix, 99% of time.

5. Lighting

Some advanced angling lensmen take a virtual mobile studio to the waterside these days when on feature shoots, but they are pros. Just using your compact camera or mobile phone’s fill-in flash during the day can make all the difference to the result. It’ll help reduce some shadow too, which spoils many a sunny summer snap.

6. Focus

Today’s digital cameras seem idiot-proof, but they clearly are not judging by what we see. It’s tricky to assess by checking what pops up on the back screen of a camera, but have a practice first. Surely it’s better, given the choice, to have the fish in focus and your face a bit out if the focal point is considered.

7. Framing

Dog walkers or random other anglers may be blessed with great eyes  but they often get caught up in the moment, especially with a camera they are not familiar with. Tell them to make sure all of your head and all of the fish is in the frame – it’s better to crop the finished shot later on your computer, or let a magazine team sort it!

8. Composition

Angles can make all the difference, and stop all you catch shots looking flat and exactly the same. Some noted anglers, in fact most anglers, develop their stock pose: how they hold a fish and even their own head angle. Dare to be different, for at least one shot in a quick sequence.

9. Think about the fish

Only keep fish out of water for the bare minimum of time. Play safe. Hold them over a wet unhooking mat, or the water itself. Consider dampening them with a splash of water for their own benefit, and it can enhance the picture quality. Be careful where you put your hands to ensure fins cannot get damaged.

10. Send pictures exclusively to Angler’s Mail

Let us see them first, please. If they are already posted or published elsewhere then we are much less likely to use them.

angler's-mail

 23.05.2017  Posted by at 19:49 Photography No Responses »
Май 232017
 

20 steps to better fish photography

BY TIM ROMANO

tim-romano

Photography and fishing have been intrinsically linked throughout history. Anglers traveling to beautiful, far-away, and nearby places have documented their surroundings and trophy catches for years. And everyone knows that bragging rights must be accompanied by photographic proof.

Digital cameras have gotten faster, cheaper, and a whole lot more powerful. Almost everyone owns a camera and, therefore, everyone can be a photographer.

While most snapshots do a fine job of documenting a trip, why not up the ante and take better photographs? Creatively composed shots are not as complicated as one might think. By following and practicing the next twenty suggestions and tips, you’ll be outshooting your buddies in no time. Just be careful you don’t get too good or you might be doing more shooting than fishing.

  1. Learn what the buttons do: Sit down with your camera manual and read. You don’t have to learn everything, but knowing the basics is important. Modern point-and-shoot cameras are powerful machines that combine a ton of features that are easy to use and can vastly improve your photos. Most people never take their camera off «auto,» which is a shame.
  2. Check to make sure your camera’s working before you head out: Are the batteries fresh? Is everything working properly? Are your memory cards erased? Check to make sure the camera is not still switched to the «indoor light» settings from your little sister’s birthday party the night before. There have been numerous occasions where my first great shot of a trip is ruined because my settings were wrong for the occasion.
  3. Have your camera accessible: I can’t tell you how many times I would have had a great shot if my camera was not buried under pounds of fishing gear, lunch or my rain jacket. Have the camera at the top of your pack, a pocket of your vest or slung around your neck. If you’re worried about it getting wet, buy a small dry bag that can easily be slipped into a vest pocket. Dry bags have gotten slimmer, and less expensive. Easily worth the money for protecting your camera.
  4. Be aware of condensation: Much like bringing a cold beverage out of the freezer, your camera will «sweat» and fog up if brought from the cool air of A/C out into a humid or hot environment. Some cameras will malfunction and actually shut off if the condensation becomes too much for the internal circuitry. The same goes for shooting in the winter — if it’s hot inside and you march right out into the cold the same thing will happen. Let your camera get accustomed to its environment for a full hour before its first use. This image was ruined because I forgot I had left my camera in the cooler for an hour after placing it there quickly and forgetting about it.
  5. Use your macro setting: Most point-and-shoots have amazing macro capabilities that are never utilized. On most cameras, the icon for this setting is a little flower. This will allow you to fill the frame of your picture with a fish’s eye, unique markings, the fly you tied, or the lure sticking out of the fish’s mouth.
  6. Centered images are typically boring: While this is not always the case try and use the rule of thirds. Divide your frame into thirds both horizontally and vertically. Place the center of attention on one of those «third lines.»
  7. Make the fish «pop»: Use your longest zoom setting (without using digital zoom). Without going into the technical details, this «stacks» the image compressing space. Typically this will throw your background into a soft focus, drawing the viewer’s eyes to the subject.
  8. Always, always, always look for distractions in the photo: This is harder to do than one might think. It’s a practiced skill, but will vastly improve your images. For example, don’t let cousin Joe’s backpack into the side of the frame or your buddy’s fishing rod hover into your shot from out of nowhere. Isolating your subject matter without all the distractions will improve the overall composition of the shot. This shot could have been a bit stronger without that reed cutting right through guide Johnny Quiroz’s neck.
  9. Be steady: Take a breath and hold it while you shoot. The reason most wildlife shots don’t turn out is that the camera moved during the photo, producing a bit of blurring or fuzziness. Many people blame this on the camera or lens, but it is almost always the photographer who is to blame. Be especially aware of this during low light situations. These two shots were seconds apart. The top one was taken first. After I noticed how blurry it was I simply braced my hands, pulled my arms into my body, took a deep breath, held it for a second, and retook the shot.
  10. Be stealthy and slow down: This not only helps your fishing, but your photography, too. Putting your rod down and walking very, very slowly will allow you see some amazing things while out on the river, lake or ocean. Holding fish don’t dart away, eating fish continue to eat, birds don’t flush and spook fish. Some of the hardest shots to get are fish underwater photographed from above or a fish eating a specific fly.
  11. Take more than one shot: Take three times as many photos as you normally would. Many cameras have a setting to take more than one shot at a time. This is especially important when shooting fish as they like to flop around when out of the water — making the hero shot challenging at times. The more shots you can rip off in a couple of seconds the better. Take more than you need and if you’re short on card space just erase the ones you don’t like after you’ve released the fish.
  12. Learn how to hold a fish for a better grip-and-grin: Remember that heroic fight, the run down the bank, the last ditch effort by your fishing partner to net the fish of a lifetime? After all that, don’t waste the shot by holding the fish awkwardly. Here’s a foolproof method for getting the best shot of your fish. Drop your arms to your sides, face your palms out. Now think about the fish resting on just the very tips of your fingers and letting your thumbs slide behind the fish, partially obscuring them from view. Be very cognizant of damaging or covering up the gill cover and pectoral, pelvic, and anal fins. Position your hands behind the head and in front of the tail. If the fish is larger and you need a little bit of elbow grease to hold it, simply switch the position of your tail hand to the front of the fish grasping with your entire hand around the front of the tail. This covers a bit more of the fish but still shows the tail and makes it a bit more manageable to control large fish.
  13. Try something different: Instead of the same old awkward holding big fish picture try something different. Take a picture of the smallest fish you caught that day. Hold the fish as far away from your body as possible with the fish safely over and low to the water. Focus just on the fish. This tends to make them look quite a bit larger. Try taking a photo of the fish resting in the net, in just a couple inches of water. Take your first shot just as the fish is slowly being raised out of the water. Sometimes this freezes the water dripping off the fish making for a nice effect. Rest your fish in some slack water and take a couple of shots as he makes his dash for the current kicking up a wave in the process. The options are endless so get creative…
  14. Be nice to the fish: Speaking of fish out of water, my friend Marshall Cutchin ofmidcurrent.com might have the best yardstick for how long a fish should be out of water. Out fishing one day his friend was trying to take pictures of a fish he caught. When he asked how long he could hold the fish out of the water Marshall replied that he should start holding his breath as soon as the fish came out of the water. When you run out of breath it’s time to let the fish go. Basically, don’t abuse the fish just for a photograph. Make it short and sweet.
  15. Get closer to your subject: Look at most of your photos of fish or fishing friends or the boat. I’ll bet most of them are taken from about 10 feet back. Don’t be scared, that fish isn’t going to bite… to hard. Get on up in its grill and take some interesting shots. Fill the frame with angler and fish. Here’s a good rule of thumb. Whenever you take your next image of friend, fish, camp, whatever, get twice as close as you normally would and take a couple of shots. In fact take a bunch. You can always erase them.
  16. Think «focus»: Most cameras autofocus using a best guess technique. This can be difficult if the subject is partially obscured by vegetation or you want to frame off-center. One trick is to put the subject dead center, press the shutter halfway down to set exposure and focus, then while still holding down the shutter (to maintain that exposure and focus) reframe the photo and shoot. If it is a really tough autofocus shot (obscured by vegetation) switch to manual focus if you can.
  17. Stop and look around: Anglers get to see some amazing sights when out in nature. Colorful sunsets, sunrises, gatherings of migratory birds, strange animal behavior, incredible landscapes, friends doing silly things…shoot this stuff. In fact, shoot this more than just your standard trophy or grip-and-grin. It can be far more interesting when looking back at your tip as a whole. Tell a story, not just a piece of one.
  18. Try different angles: Ninety percent of pictures I see are taken at eye level. Stop being lazy. Get on your knees or your stomach. If you can, get above the situation, like on the roof of you car or the bed of your truck, and shoot down. Take a picture of that fish at the level of the water — with just its eye above the water line.
  19. Track the sun: «Keep the sun at your back» is still true with digital photography. Colors are typically much better if the fish is in sunlight rather than in shadow. Shooting into the sun will render anything other than the background as silhouette. This can work in your favor if the landscape is your main focus. A well placed silhouette can really make a photograph.
  20. Mind the light: Keep in mind the «magic hour,» which is just after sunrise and just before sunset when the sun is low on the horizon. The sunlight is traveling through more atmosphere and this provides a warmer, richer light.
 23.05.2017  Posted by at 18:41 Photography No Responses »