Saturday, 27 July 2013



When I began to take Angling seriously and began to write blogs, articles and submissions; I had to learn a lot of aspects that go with the whole writing process. As my good mate Scott Mitchell said "Photography goes part in parcel with journalism, doesn't matter if your a good writer, if you have poor photography your article will be rejected" and he is dead right.  
I have revisited my approach in fishing journalism time and time again, but one thing that stays the same is the fundamentals, and a must is learning some good tips in photography and losing some bad habits.

with the use of pointing a fishes nose to the camera gives the effect of a larger fish, But don't be too fooled it doesn't make it much bigger!
The nature in photography, I think: is you are always learning.  I started with snapshots from a digital camera. I've always considered myself to be a good writer and been quite literate, but I’d never really set out to do any serious photography. The next few months that followed I learned a lot, and I still learn more and more everyday. But some fundamentals will always stay the same and I just wanted to write about a few.

With the use of Macro lenses you can really make a fish come to life
With the use of Macro lenses you can really make a fish come to life
 The first and most important thing you can do to improve your photos is to make the effort (to take good photos). Don't just press the button and hope for the best, instead look at what you are trying to achieve in a photo. Ask yourself: Are you happy with your image? Do your shots end up on the wall at home, or in a photo album hidden away? Anyone can take high-quality fishing photos with digital technology these days; but it takes a certain amount of effort - making a good photo happen to the success.

All the technical jargon in the world can’t save you if you don’t know where to point the camera or instruct the person on how to hold the fish. Most cameras have a grid option that aids you in making sure the subject is in the centre of the frame. So many times ive seen peoples fishing photo where the person holding the fish is way over to either the left side of right side of the frame and so much area is wasted in capturing the best background, but I will admit it does have it's place in some cases. Also, photography for the most part, is straightforward and simple at its best. There’s no need to cut half of someone’s face off just to achieve an “artistic look".

With the use of shadows photos can look so much better.
'Approach Your Subject', the best photography shows the viewer the world as they wish they could see it — not what they would actually see. When you pick up a magazine you can see a person up close and personal, you want to be able to not just read the man’s logo on his shirt, but count the stitches in his shirt. The same principle applies to outdoor photography, especially of other fishermen and of fish. Fill your available space, and if necessary let some of the less critical stuff leak over the edges. Don’t be afraid to push right in there — your friend will thank you for it later.

Action shots put the reader in the moment that the Angler was feeling

Action shots put the reader in the moment that the Angler was feeling
Think about macro (lenses) for Lures and Fish. Approaching the subject the best way, will help to get truly detailed fish and lure shots — or shots of anything small, enhanced by taking advantage of a macro lens. Use a macro lens on your DSLR. True macro photography renders the subject life-sized on the film or sensor. Of course, this means that when that image is blown up to the normal viewing size of, say, 8 x 10 inches, that little object is greatly magnified. This is the beauty of macro — you can see things you’d never see in person and view the world from a whole new perspective. Even if you dont have a macro lens, most cameras have a “Flower” setting which activates the macro feature setting. Try it out and experiment to see what you get.

The quality of this photo isn't good but.... Release shots are a good way to help promote catch and release
Light is what truly separates the men from the boys, so to speak; in the world of professional photography. All professionals know how to compose an image. All of them photograph interesting subjects. Only the most successful truly master the techniques of dealing with light, and I don’t yet claim to be one of them. Lighting is the area professionals worry the about most, because it impacts so many things. The light you work in affects your available depth of field, motion blur, the ability to make slow-water shots, saturation, contrast, sharpness — basically everything you can ask a camera to do. This is why pros spend so much money on f/2.8 aperture lenses — so they can gather more light. Without any of that..... Photoshop seems to be your best friend.

Example of a photo that is under-exposed
Of all the money you can spend in photography, the most crucial equipment when setting out to achieve magazine quality photos - is a digital camera, a good flash and a decent lens. The advantages of digital cameras are legion; the ability to review images alone is single-handedly improving photography on a global scale. Modern flash technology is right behind that in importance and a decent lens will help you achieve a desired subject to suit the frame you are going for.

Good example of keeping hands out of the shot so the viewer gets a better look at the fish
The 'fish shot' is the moment of truth for most would-be outdoor photographers. Magazine sales numbers show that anglers want to see big fish. Period. If you happen to be the photographer on hand when a lunker is landed, you have an immediate opportunity to make a salable picture, so long as you don’t blow it. First off, talk to your fisherman. The number one thing he needs to know, in our sport of dedicated catch and release anglers, is that you are not going to kill the fish. Properly handled, any Bass for instance can survive a decently-long photo session. I said properly handled, mind you. When your angler lands his fish, keep it in the water and get it in a net, If it's a really memorable catch have your fisherman stand in the water down low in the frame, it will create a mood of intimacy that the angler will look back and reminisce on and will give the reader a chance to connect with the anglers experience. Take off sunglasses and keep the rod in the picture, and the lure in the fish’s mouth, get yourself to a low angle and instruct the angler to get his fingers out of the shot, I cannot express this enough!!!! Show as much of the fish as possible, and hide your fingers as much as possible.

Angle the fish differently in different shots so not all your photos are the same
Tell the angler to angle the fish slightly so the head is closer to the camera than the body (a better optical trick than the arms-length grip and grin, since it forces the eye to assume perspective length). Snap off a few shots, then have the angler return the fish to the net. Review your images. If they are what you want, let the fish go. If not, repeat the process. Hope this helps a few people that have inboxed me on Facebook asking me how I take some good photos, Im definately not claiming to be a pro, this is just some helpful hints I like to go by when shooting Fish and Angler pictures.

Incorporate your rod in the shot with the fish

*Canon 40D
*Canon 10mm-22mm Ultra wide Llens
*Canon 60mm Macro Lens
*Canon 50mm Lens
*Canon 560 III Speedlite

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