I’m going to come right out and say it: Most of us anglers don’t take good photos. In our defense, I’ll admit that shooting high-quality photos of fish is more difficult than taking a scenic shot.
The reason is simple—the land isn’t moving, which lets the photographer position for the perfect shot. That’s rarely possible when dealing with fish, especially those we intend to release. These difficulties, however, are no excuse, because you can easily overcome them with a little forethought and effort.
First, fill most of the frame with the angler and fish, without cutting off any part of the fish or the top of the angler’s head—both are extremely common mistakes. The best way to do this is physically move closer to the subject until it fills approximately 75 percent of your viewfinder. Don’t use the zoom unless absolutely necessary.
Have the angler face into the sun, but mind the background—busy, cluttered ones detract from the fish. If necessary, reposition the boat to provide a backdrop of open sky or water. Standing at or below the angler’s level helps accomplish this; don’t be afraid to kneel or lie on the ground to get it right.
Always have the angler remove his or her sunglasses and tilt up his or her hat to avoid harsh shadows. Also, use a fill flash—even in sunlight. For final touches, hold the fish broadside, remove any dirt or blood, and be sure any visible background is free of garbage, gear or beverage cans. Finally, squeeze the shutter button slowly to avoid blurred pictures. Don’t skimp on the number of photos either—taking 10 of the same fish is good.