Most of you have received our new 2016 brochure and if so you will have no doubt viewed the 125 pictures that we incorporated into our publication. There is something specific; something special about each photo that we chose to include out of the many hundreds that we receive from guides, staff and guests alike. Here are some tips that will help you take more impressive photographs that will allow you to capture those perfect walleye fishing moments, those perfect sunsets and those “take a kid fishing” moments.
First off, get to know your camera. Whether it be your Digital SLR, your standard point-and-shoot or your cell phone camera. Most of us keep the camera on the ‘auto’ setting and never bother to experiment with other settings believing that those are just for professionals. However that is not the case. Take a moment before the upcoming holidays and pull out your camera manual, play with the settings and take pictures while you do. Keep doing it until you learn what settings work best for you in different lighting situations. This will definitely increase the quality of your pictures for the holidays and for fishing season too!
Keep it Handy! How many times have you been riding along in a boat and you see a moment like a loon sitting up in the water flapping its wings or a bull moose grazing along a shoreline and you think wow that would make a great picture but your camera is buried at the bottom of your tackle box or boat bag? Keep your camera handy and you won’t miss these majestic moments going forward. If you are worried about water damage, you can buy a waterproof case, or waterproof bag to put your camera in (don’t worry the price has dropped on these items significantly in recent years). If you have a waterproof camera, attach a float strap to it before getting on the water (trust me, I know how fast they can sink!). Now you will always be ready for those once in a lifetime moments on the water!
Bright Colors: Bright colors get noticed and so do pictures with bright colors in them. Do your part and make yourself pop by wearing bright clothing.
Be Organized: Someone in the boat has a big fish on and you want to capture the moment. Reel up your line so that you don’t have to dive for your rod while taking your dad’s picture. Grab your camera that is now in reach and start taking pictures. Capture the action, joy, stress and excitement that comes with fighting a jumping smallmouth bass or trophy musky; capture the spray as a big walleye or northern pike splashes boat side or a lake trout as it rises to the surface only to dive back down deep again. Depending on the size of the fish that is coming in, you may need two people to land it. In these moments it is even more important to be organized. One person on the rod, one on the net and someone taking pictures makes for a smoother experience especially if the fish cooperate too! Once the fish is in the net the focus should be on removing the hooks from the fish safely, preferably in the water. Don’t take the fish out of the water until you are ready to measure and photograph the fish especially if you plan on releasing it. A good technique to remind yourself the maximum time a fish should be out of the water is to hold your breath when you take the fish out of the water. When you are out of breath, the fish should be going back in the water.
Lighting: You’ll want the sun at your face, not at your back. You may not be able to move that much in a boat, so in that case you or your guide should reposition the boat to better capture the light. You can also play with your flash settings. Try taking a picture without flash and then try again with flash to eliminate any ‘hat shadows’. You should also try the same technique on overcast days as this can really make the markings on your fish pop!
Holding Fish: Always support fish horizontally and don’t be afraid to show some dimension to your fish. Most people do the standard grip and grin flat sided fish held out towards the camera. Try angling the nose of the fish towards the camera, this will give the fish a unique profile and set your photo apart. Also, focus on the fish’s eye as it will keep the fish eye in focus and make the fish appear alive and more vibrant.
Rule of Thirds: This involves mentally dividing your proposed image into a 3×3 grid as shown below. (Some cameras have the grid as a feature that you can activate before taking your photo.) You can then position the most important elements in your scene along those grid lines or at the four junctions where they meet. The idea is that an off-centre composition is more pleasing to the eye and looks more natural than one where the subject is placed in the middle of the frame. Try practicing with the rule of thirds and I’m sure your photos will be more pleasing to the eye.
Well there you have it, our tips on taking quality fish pictures while out on the water.
Remember; satisfy your appetite with golden pan fried fish, then fill your memory card while practicing “CPR” (Catch, Photograph, Release)!