The Ultimate Guide to Taking Great Fishing Photos

Whether you are out on the river by yourself or spending the day with friends and family, taking great fishing pictures does not have to be difficult.

The most stressful part of any great fishing photo for the angler and fish occurs during the short 10-second period when the fish is lifted out of the water.

When done correctly, not only will you have some amazing photos to share with the world, but you will also be able to return the fish safely back to the water.

The Basics

When it comes to capturing the perfect shot, there are many things that a photographer has to take into consideration before ever clicking the shutter.

Most anglers don’t have the time to consider all of the possible variables that could otherwise affect their photos. However, there are a few important basics to always keep in mind whenever photographing that prize-winning trout.

Naturally, lighting plays an integral part in ensuring that the image has just the right amount of contrast. But lighting alone cannot create the perfect image if the object is not framed properly.

Framing the trout within the scene requires following a rule known as the thirds, which creates a naturally flowing image. Lastly, always make sure to showcase the best features of the fish while at the same time ensuring that the skin of the fish never goes dry.

What Is A Great Hero Shot?

Nothing gives an angler more bragging rights than the perfect hero shot.

In a hero shot, the angler holds up their prize catch with a grin on their face as proof that they caught the biggest fish of the day. It was a lot easier in days gone by when anglers would keep everything that they caught.

However, because it is common practice these days to release the fish after it is caught, more care must be taken when obtaining the hero shot to ensure that the fish survives the ordeal.

Lighting Is Everything

No matter how you look at it, lighting is the most important aspect of ensuring the perfect image.

Natural lighting from the sun provides the perfect conditions for any photograph. Unfortunately, not every fishing expedition can occur on a perfectly sunny day.

Instead, many anglers have to deal with overcast skies, which can make it more difficult to capture the perfect hero shot. Always pay close attention to the direction of the sun in order to prevent unwanted shadows.

Avoid Backlighting

Always remember to avoid backlighting at all costs. Anyone who has had any experience in photography knows that the light should not be behind the subject of the photo, as this will create deep shadows that can never be corrected.

Instead, the sun should be at about a 45-degree angle from the fish in order to create the right depth in the image. Even during the daytime, always use the flash in order to remove any shadows that may appear on the trout or angler.

Remember The “Rule of Thirds”

Whenever you take a photo of anything, it is important to use the rule of thirds.

When taking a photo of an angler with their prize-winning catch in hand, you will want to place the angler in the upper third of one side of the frame and the fish in the lower third of the opposing side of the frame.

Rather than smile at the camera, the angler should always smile at the fish instead. This will create a more natural feeling image.

Fill the Frame

Always make sure to move the trout closer to the camera in order to eliminate as much of the background as possible.

The camera lens should be focusing on the fish’s eyes, not the anglers. This will reduce the depth of the field and will highlight the overall beauty of the trout.

The rest of the background beyond the angler should be blurred just enough that it does not distract from the object of the photo, that prize-winning catch.

Rotate the Fish to Showcase Its Best Features

To get the best shot, you will want to rotate the fish slightly towards the camera. When you pull a live fish out of the water, it will glisten in the sun, and its fins will be positioned more naturally.

But, make sure that you are not trying to bend the body of the trout in order to get the best angles. Instead, the fish should look natural, as if it were still swimming in the water.

Hold Fish Out Slightly, But Don’t Overdo It

Although it may be tempting to hold the trout up by its jaw in order to get the perfect hero shot, this can actually kill the fish.

Instead, you should always make sure to keep the trout sideways when preparing it for the shot and never keep it out of the water for more than 10 seconds at a time.

When holding the trout out for that perfect hero shot, try to keep it level at all times.

Keep the Trout Wet

The importance of keeping a trout wet at all times can never be overstressed.

Fish cannot breathe out of the water, and the longer you keep them out of the water, the more stressed they become.

In order to get the best photo of a fish, make sure that your hands are dripping wet before you ever grab a hold of the fish. Using your strongest arm, grip the fish from behind the tail near the pectoral fins making sure that you do not bend or otherwise damage the fins.

Then gently lift the fish out of the river for no more than 10 seconds before returning it gently back with its mouth facing into the flowing water.

Avoid Using the Zoom

No matter how tempting it may be, you should never use the zoom capabilities on a smartphone.

This digital zoom is merely an effect of the software, and it does not actually magnify anything. Instead, the smartphone camera zoom will attempt to create pixels where there are none in order to give the appearance that you have zoomed in on the fish.

It is always better to simply use the highest resolution setting on your smartphone and take a photo zoomed all the way out. You can always blow it up later using a computer.

Getting Better Catch Shots With A Camera

When it comes to getting the best shots of a prize-winning catch, anglers should have a dedicated camera specifically for the purpose.

While DSLRs and smartphones are all the rage these days, many anglers still use a GoPro in order to capture a steady stream of images throughout the day.

How to Take Better Fishing Photographs

When it comes to getting better fishing photographs, there are several rules that you must remember at all times.

First and foremost, fish cannot breathe out of the water, and therefore you need to capture the image in less than 10 seconds.

Always remember to use the flash, even during the daytime, as it will help to eliminate shadows. Angle the fish to give it some dimension and extended it closer to the camera in order to make it look bigger.

Don’t worry about the background, rather focus on the fish. And finally, always make sure to keep your camera handy, so it is available to capture that prize-winning catch at a moment’s notice.

Underwater Shots

It is important to make sure to keep the trout as wet at all times, as allowing them to dry out can kill them.

Every second that a fish is out of the water, the more dangerous it gets for them. This is why many anglers are now turning to underwater cameras to capture some of the most amazing images of a catch without ever having to remove it from the river.

Night Shots

Night shots can be one of the hardest ways of capturing a fish on film.

Due to the location of the master flash and its proximity to the lens, when taking night shots of a fresh catch, the reflection of the flash on the fish will obscure the photo. Instead, to get the best night shot possible, it is best to use an external flash, known as a slave.

The slave should be responsible for providing most of the lighting for the shot and should be located offset near the head of the fish.

This will reduce the amount of reflected light and will provide a much better result.

Shoot Numerous Photos

When it comes to getting that perfect shot of a prize-winning trout, sometimes the only way to do it is to use burst mode.

Burst mode is an interesting future found in many cameras as well as smartphones that allows an operator to take a series of photographs, one right after another. When burst mode is used, the shutter button only needs to be pressed once, and it will immediately take a series of photos at a rate of 20 to 60 frames per second.

Even low-end cameras and cheaper smartphones have this feature, and after, you will be able to choose the best from a series of similar photos.

How to Take Fishing Pictures by Yourself

Perhaps one of the hardest ways of capturing a photo of that catch is when you are out on the river by yourself. Anyone with experience in fishing knows that you should never take the fish out of the water for longer than 10 seconds at a time, and you should never lay it down on the bank of the river for a photo.

After 10 seconds, they begin to stress out from the lack of oxygen and can potentially suffer a head injury as they attempt to flop back into the water.

All of that movement causes the slime on their skin to wear off and, as a result, exposes the trout to harmful bacteria that can kill them.

Getting A Self-Take with A Mobile Phone

Whether you are using an android or iPhone, getting the perfect selfie does not have to be a difficult task.

You will need to look at the different live focus features available on your particular device. These focus features are generally available under the advanced options.

In order to speed up the process of taking a selfie with the trout, make sure to use the burst mode so you will get a sequence of simultaneous shots and can later choose the best one from each set.

More importantly, make sure to use the HDR functionality of the smartphone in order to correct the lighting and contrast of the image on-the-fly.

Getting A Self-Take With A Camera

Some of the best cameras for capturing selfies are not built into smartphones but are actually stand-alone units.

DSLR cameras provide a photographer with the ability to choose from a wide selection of different lenses in order to get that perfect shot.

With the help of a wireless trigger, you can quickly take a photo of the prize catch and return it to the water before any damage is done.

Use A Camera Mount

When taking selfies of your prize catch, it’s important always to use a mount. Everyone has a smartphone these days, and naturally, they are perfect for taking photos of a rout.

However, when you are fishing by yourself, you run the risk of dropping that expensive phone in the water. By using a mount and a dedicated camera, you won’t have to worry about losing your smartphone.

Most avid anglers will use a high-definition GoPro camera to capture a steady stream of images throughout the day, so they can go back through later and grab the best shots of the day.

Use the Timer

Although you can purchase a trigger for most DSLR cameras, triggering the camera on a smartphone remotely can be quite difficult.

The best way to capture a selfie using a smartphone is to take advantage of the built-in timer. With the device on a stand or a tripod, once the shutter button is pressed, the timer will give you several seconds to pick up the trout and present it to the lens for the photo, before returning it back safely to the water.

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