Fishing photos

Well-lit photos of live, healthy fish taken against a natural backdrop make great keepsakes for any angler.

Fishing photos are great memorabilia. I always enjoy looking through pictures from past trips and remembering awesome times spent on the water. Photos provide a key piece of evidence for those “pictures, or it didn’t happen!” skeptics. They also offer an easy way to share favorite catches with your buddies, at the office or on social media.

But not all fishing photos are created equal. We’ve all seen plenty of bad examples — the dead, colorless fish in the kitchen sink; the crusty, dried out driveway fish; the blurry shot that kind of looks like a big trout, but also might be a bottom feeder.

But take heart! By the end of this column, shaky fishing photos will be a thing of the past — and you don’t need an expensive camera or Photoshop magic to make it happen. A simple point-and-shoot, or even a cellphone, will do just fine.

Just follow these easy steps:

1. Go natural. People don’t catch fish in a bathtub or on the tailgate of a truck. So why take the photo there? The best photos are taken in natural settings. A lake or stream makes a much more appealing backdrop than your garage, and it adds to the memory of where you caught the fish. For worriers terrified that people will be able to determine their exact GPS coordinates and steal their spot, the solution is simple: flip around and shoot with the shoreline behind you. Not even the sneakiest sleuth will be able to track you.

2. Light it up. Good lighting is vital to any successful photo. As a general rule, don’t photograph anyone directly facing the sun (they’ll be washed out and squinty) or directly in front of it (they’ll be shadowy). Find a nice equilibrium, where the sun is casting a friendly light on both the angler and the fish. Evenly shaded areas work well, too!

3. Don’t be THAT guy. We all know that holding the fish closer to the camera makes it look bigger. And yes, it does make for a better photo when used responsibly. Just don’t get too crazy with it. Unless you are really going for the gold with an obviously small fish, in which case, long-arming can be pretty funny.

4. Believe in your selfie. I’ve seen selfie sticks and Go Pros produce good results. Ask a nearby angler to take a shot of you (they usually are happy to oblige). If all else fails, I like taking photos of just the fish. Hold them gently with one hand and snap away!

5. Care for your catch. One of my favorite things about fishing photos is they allow you to have an awesome souvenir without killing your catch. Be sure to handle fish with care and respect. Use wet hands, support the weight of the fish, and keep them underwater until your photographer is ready. There’s nothing better than watching a big fish swim away healthy, with an unforgettable snapshot safe and sound in your pocket.

Happy photographing, and tight lines!

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