Trophy Fish Photography: Part 2

Lighting is often overlooked in fish photography, because you often rely on sunlight. However, lighting does require some consideration because how you set up you’re photo changes your lighting, despite using natural light. Just keep these two rules in mind when setting up your next photograph.

Rule #1- Keep the sun at the photographers back

Matt 6.3 Smallie Washed Out

Matt 6.3 Smallie Washed Out

Kirk Spots Washed Out   

Kirk Spots Washed Out


Having the sun at the photographers back will help to prevent shadows on both the fish and the angler. Shadows on you’re face or the fish can ruin pictures, so remember to check you’re hat or anything else that could cast shadows before you get the fish out of the livewell.

Rule #2- Put more light on the fish’s back than its belly

If there is too much light on the fish’s belly, the color gets washed out like the pictures at the left and right, causing the fish to look pale. In order to get the best color in your photos make sure to get plenty of light on the fish’s back. Try to avoid taking pictures at high noon, as well, as that will wash out everything in the picture not just the fish.

A quick note on background selection:

Make sure your fish doesn’t blend into the background. In the picture at left, notice how the belly of the fish on the right blends into the light gray sky behind it.

Our Stance on Photoshop

We get a lot of questions about the use of photoshop in fish picture’s, and we believe that using photoshop only detracts from a picture. If you don’t want a landmark or any other identifying feature in a picture, don’t photograph fish in front of it. The best way to photograph fish so that your location isn’t obvious, is to select a solid background, such as a tulle wall of rock wall.

A Few Examples of Properly Taken Pics

Trophy Fish Photography: Part 1

Few things in fishing are more heartbreaking than catching a trophy fish, only to find that the pictures you took don’t do it justice. You spent countess hours on the water, and who knows how many paychecks were relinquished to this sport, but finally, you caught the bass you’ve dreamed of since you first picked up a reel. There’s only one problem.. the fish in your photo’s looks like a pale 6lber, not the gorgeous double digit that you were actually holding. Unfortunately, taking good pictures of fish is little more than luck for many anglers. You can easily avoid this with a little knowledge of how to set up your pictures for proper lighting and how to hold fish.

How to Hold Fish Properly for Pictures

Holding bass isn’t very complicated, you just need  to follow two simple rules. Remember, when you’re holding fish, it’s your photographer’s job to give directions and make sure you follow these rules.

Rule #1 – Hold fish square to the camera

If you tip fish back like the picture at right, the fish appears short and therefore not as big as it really was.

Likewise, if you show too much of the fish’s back or belly, even healthy fish will look skinny. The photo at left is a classic example of this. (I hate to admit it, but I took this one. Sorry Bro!)

Rule #2 Hold Your Elbow at a 90-135 Degree Angle

That may sound a little strange, but your arm is at a 90 degree angle if you brace you’re elbow against your abdomen. At 135 degrees your elbow should be about 6″ away from your body.  Holding fish in that range will make them look as big as you remember they were, without exaggerating , or diminishing their size. There’s no need to bear hug  fish, and doing the straight arm just looks ridiculous and lessens your credibility.

A Note on Trophy Fish Handling

If you chose to hold fish by the lip, please hold them vertically. Using a fish’s jaw as leverage to hold them at an angle can easily break their jaw. A bass with a broken jaw can’t feed and will consequently die. To hold bass horizontally, simply support their weight by cradling  their belly with your hand.