Trouts Journal

Five Tips to Take Better Fishing Photos

Ivan Orsic / May 18, 2017

Sharing fishing pictures with your friends, family, and mortal enemies is a tradition as old as time. If you dispute that fact, check out at the walls of any Trading Post in any small town in Colorado that has a trophy trout fishery close to one of it’s four walls. Instagram, Texting, Facebook, Snapchat, whatever new apps kids these days (I can say that now, I’m a dad) are using, aren’t going away. With cell phones taking close-to professional quality photos, there is no excuse for a bad picture nowadays. So without further ado, here are my five SIX ways to take better fishing photos.

(1) #keepemwet - Invest in a quality net with a deep fish friendly bag. Both the American-Made Rising Nets and the Nomad Nets are great options. A net with a deep bag allows you to fold the net opening over and keep the fish secure, breathing and soaking in the stream or lake, and relaxed. Ultimately, if I choose to take pictures of a fish, I don’t want to cause the fish harm or keep it out of the water for any extended period of time. So, a deep fish friendly net helps me take my time, make sure the settings on my camera are correct, choose a suitable background for the hero shot and keep the fish happy and healthy.

BONUS TIP: I don’t like to keep the fish out of water for more than 10 seconds. I was told when I first started that I should hold my breath while I’m taking a photo with a fish and when I run out of breath, I should put the fish back in the water. Now, I’ve never been the pinnacle of physical condition, but a ten second increment is enough to get the shot you need. Put that fish back in the net, keep it wet and breathing, review your pictures and go from there.

(2) Use BURST MODE if your camera or phone is capable. Worried about getting just the right look from both the fish and your subject, phones like the iPhone utilize BURST MODE and allow you to take up to 10 photos per second. Cameras like Sony’s a6000 series can take at least 11 photos per second. BURST MODE gives you multiple chances to get the photos composition and clarity correct within a matter of seconds. Allowing for the fish to spend more time in the water, then in you or your friends hands.

Why look like this...

When you can look like this.

After the photo is taken, using free apps like Snapseed, Lightroom Mobile, and Instagram, I can adjust Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, Highlights, Shadows, and Structure, among other factors and correct most any mistake you might have made while taking your photos.

(3) Long Arm ALL YOU WANT - The long arm technique gets a bad rap. Sure, there are terrible examples of long arm use abuse...but PERSPECTIVE is a powerful thing and when myself or my friend catches a nice trout, I want the picture to represent the fish’s size when I hold it in my hands. So, a little long arm can go a long way in terms of differentiating the subject (the fish) from the background.

Big fish deserve long arms too.

(4) Legendary football coach Bill Parcells once said “the best ability is availability.” This applies to taking fishing photos - you can’t take photos if the camera is stuffed into the bottom of your bag or the back of your vest. Invest in a good camera strap or keep that iPhone in a front pocket and have your picture taking device close at hand when any moment strikes. The more photos you take...the more likely you’ll take great photos. We talking bout Practice...not the game...practice.

(5) Don’t be afraid to get dirty - on a recent trip to Troublesome Creek - Tucker commented to me that I seemed like I was spending a great deal on my day lying on my stomach. While I’m as lazy as the next man, this was purposeful. Getting down on my stomach allowed me a slightly different perspective and hopefully allowed for the pictures to pop a little more than they would have had I been standing and taking pictures at my eye level.

BONUS TIP: Angles, angles, angles. Find your angle. Taking a picture of a fish broadside can result in a good photo, but more often than not, you get more character from the fish and the person holding the fish if the fish is angled in a way to highlight it’s head. Mess around with finding the magic angle! It takes time, but it can result in some amazing photos.

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