Fish Porn: How to take that great photo

By Chris Hunt

If you fish these days, and you're a die-hard catch-and-release angler, chances are, you capture the memoies of your trophies in megapixels. And, with the relatively affordable digital cameras on the market today, there's no reason you shouldn't. 

But are you taking the best photographs you can? Are you dressing up your computer's screen saver with the prettiest pictures of your prettiest fish? Not many of us are professionally trained photographers (and not many of us will be either), but by using a few simple tips, you can take stunning photos that'll liven up  your personal collection--and maybe impress your friends, too. 

Here are a few things to consider when you're taking photos of fish or the fish places we all love:

  • Remember the "Rule of Thirds." In other words, pretend each camera frame is divided in thirds. Don't center your subject. Instead, put the subject in a "third" of the photo, facing in. This is particularly important when you're taking photos of people.
  • Get on your subject's level. Don't stand up and hold your fish toward the camera. Hold your fish just out of the water (or partially in it) with one hand, and hold your camera down at the fish's level with it. You have lots of memory on an SD card, so use it. Take lots of photos (within reason, of course--you don't want to kill the fish). If you're taking a photo of someone holding a fish, get on their level and make sure they're holding the fish near or partially in the water. You'll get a better photo, and the fish will appreciate it, too. 
  • Use the tools that come with your camera. Most digital cameras these days have really good lenses that are capable of magazine-quality photos, but we have to use the tools they come with to get the most out of them. Use the macro settings. Use the multi-shot setting. Use some of the features, like the fish-eye or the panorama settings to take unique photos. Experiement. Get to know your camera, and you'll be taking great shots in no time.
  • Try to take photos that are level to the horizon--nothing looks more junior varsity than a photo with a crooked horizon.
  • Edit your photos carefully. Most cameras come with some servicable editing software, and both Mac and PC computers often come with software that can rival the stuff the pros use. If your horizon isn't level, straighten it. Crop photos to meet the Rule of Thirds. Lightly saturate the photos so the colors pop (careful--you can go overboard with this tool). Play with your contrast, your photo temperature and your exposure. 
  • Take lots of photos. Take photos of the places you fish--the beauty of trout fishing is that, generally speaking, trout swim in some spectacular places. The more photos you take--and not just of fish--the better you'll get. 

Honestly, not many of us will ever achieve photographic greatness, but we can take good shots that will enrich our fishing and help us share the passion we have for the craft. Follow these simple rules, and you'll be taking better photos in not time at all.

Chris Hunt is former newspaper editor and reporter who's had photos published in newspapers, magazines and websites all over the country. Today, he's the director of national communications for Trout Unlimited. 

 

Comments

 
said on Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Chris,

Thanks for the great tips!  I plan on putting some of this to use tomorrow on a trip out to the Gallatin....  

 

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said on Monday, September 16th, 2013

What kind of camera do you use, Chris? I've stopped carrying my Olympus Tough and I'm just shooting everything with my iPhone. I love how simple it is.

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said on Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

I find your tips really impressive and I will follow these points whenever I will click photograph.

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