Gone are the days when people want to see trophy shots of dead fish on the kitchen sink, garden path or outside the local tackle shop. Camera technology is cheaper these days & indeed most people use their mobile phones to take a trophy picture of the fish that they catch. So there is no reason not to take photographs whilst at your fishing location.
Beware that if you are not using a fully waterproofed camera that salt water, rain water & sand will kill your camera. They all easily penetrate around the telescopic lens barrel on compact type cameras. I just don’t even think about taking a more expensive DSLR camera into the marine environment at all.
My first bit of advice is this – take lots of pictures of the fish as digital technology is cheap. If you don’t like the pictures you can delete them – they cost nothing. Sometimes out of ten pictures or so, two might be to my liking.
The fish could move or a fly could come into view just as you depress the button on the camera. It has all happened to me. There is nothing worse than getting home & on sticking the memory card in the computer being gutted by the one & only photograph that you took of your specimen fish being blurred or unsatisfactory in some way.
Secondly try different angled shots of your subject. Even using the self timer on your camera gives you some time to move around or reposition the fish. Angled shots give more depth & perspective to a fish picture. Plus they really are far more interesting to look at. Try not to have the fish covering your face in self timed shots. This is a common mistake in some self timed photographs & ruins the picture.
If you are holding the fish or taking pictures of someone else holding a fish make sure that the fish & the captor look natural, not twisted or positioned uncomfortably. I like caps, hats etc to be sitting correctly on the captors head. I’m not a fan of the fish captor leaving their headlight switched on for night shots either, but sometimes it is an advantage for the photographer to leave his headlamp on to add to the flash off the camera. All this light focused on the fish makes for a much better picture.
Try & take a second or two to compose the picture before you start snapping away. And don’t be frightened to lie on the beach or wade out into the water if that’s what gets you the photographer a better angle & ultimately a better picture.
I don’t mind straight above shots of fish on the beach etc but try & put something else in there like a rod, lay the fish on some sea weed, by some beach grass or even by some natural or man-made flotsam. Again this adds perspective, depth, colour & interest.
My favourite pictures of fish are the up close & personal ones. Don’t be frightened to get right up there within inches of the fishes snout & get a head & down the body shot. I always try to leave the lure in the mouth for this if it is practical.
Of course if you have waterproof camera then get in there & grab some great & different underwater shots too.
But please think of the fish’s welfare whilst you are taking pictures of it.
Don’t keep the fish out of the water for too long.
Be aware of the surface that you have the fish on in case it jumps & damages itself.
If you are holding the fish – don’t drop it.
And hopefully after you have taken a few snaps you will carefully release your fish to fight another day.
My final bit of advice is this – there is nothing worse than a photo shopped picture. So consider your background when taking pictures. If you want to make the pictures public do a straight out to sea shot, if not & the pictures are for personal viewing, then by all means get some landmarks in the picture if there are some.
There is nothing more pleasurable on a horrible winters evening than scrolling through your past seasons pictures on your computer or tablet, because believe me with some cracking pictures to look at & reflect on, you are transported back in time & the memory is refreshed of that memorable day by the sea & that stunning fish that you caught.
Author & pics: Nigel Fairclough