How to Take Fishing Pictures That People Want to See

In this day and age of Instagram fishing warriors that fill your feed with one grip n’ grin after another, it is hard to stand out from the crowd and not become just another fisherman posting pictures. If you’re looking to create unique pictures that separate you from the unoriginality of mass media or even just to have more alluring pictures to show around the family dinner table, you’re in luck. I’m here to share some key tips that will make people actually want to look at your fishing pictures and not just greet them with a yawn or a scrolling thumb.

How To Take Fishing Pictures Postfly
I became friends with a squirrel while I was up in a tree for this shot

General Tips:

  • Shoot Away: a common misconception is that photographers have some amazing ability to click the shutter once and capture the most perfect moment the world has ever seen; that couldn’t be further from the truth. To get an awesome shot, you have to take a lot of pictures–one after another–then, somewhere within those, tens, hundreds, or even thousands of shots, you’ll have your gem. That’s the benefit of having a large SD card—you don’t have to worry about space. So, the next time you go out, don’t try to just capture one specific moment, take a million pictures if you have to because you’ll find the one you want in there.
  • Add Your Own Flair: this one is simple, but difficult. At this point, with the extent of social media, you may feel that no shot, angle, exposure, focus, etc. is original, but as long as you put your own emotion, passion or feeling of that moment and translate it into the way you capture your picture, you will have a photo that expresses your style. Developing your style won’t happen overnight and it won’t happen by staying within the box, so do something funky, take chances and make mistakes because it will help you find your signature.
  • Don’t Be Afraid to Get Your Butt Wet: you heard me right, like the popular saying, sometimes you’re just going to have to send it. Don’t always shoot from standing up, just because it is the most convenient. That doesn’t mean that you have to jump off a cliff to get the perfect shot, but I’ve stood waist deep in glacial lakes to get my own perspective on a fish picture, I’ve climbed trees to get a great downstream shot of someone casting and I’ve sprinted through mud in order to get to a spot to time a photo right. If you want a special picture, sometimes you have to do special things. So, don’t be afraid to get down and dirty: get those knees in the mud, sacrifice a few scrapes on your arms and let those thighs feel the burn from crouching for minutes on end.

How To Take Fishing Pictures PostflyDSLR Tips:

  • Get Past Auto: sure, auto will get you some shots but, by learning the skill of shooting in manual, you’ll gain more control over your shots giving you a greater creative license.
  • Know the Power of the Lens: working at a fixed focal length (either by not changing your variable lens or by buying a prime lens) will teach you how to compose shots by moving around your subject—get close to your subjects and down on their level. Learn about the aperture and depth of field. Investing in a lens even slightly better than the kit lens can significantly improve the quality of your photos.
  • Shoot in Continuous: shooting in continuous shutter mode will allow you to capture juicy moments like water drips from a fish as someone pulls it out of the water, or the perfect loop while casting.
  • Make sure your equipment is clean: there’s nothing worse than a water spot or lens smudge.
  • Read the Manual: this might be something our society has forgotten about, but it’s important to understand the full power of your camera. It is your tool to visually translate what you see, feel and think and share it with others. You wouldn’t bring a chainsaw to cut trees down if you didn’t know how to use it.

How To Take Fishing Pictures PostflySmartphone Tips:

  • Utilize Portrait Mode: this mimics the depth of field that a lens with a large aperture may have and takes crisp photos.
  • Use Burst Mode: burst mode will allow you to capture quick moments with precision.
  • Adjust the Exposure Meter: it is always better to make adjustments in the moment than in post-production. Brighten or darken your picture accordingly before you take the shot and your pictures will come out better.
  • Use the Timer: if you’re alone on the river and the classic “squeeze my face and the fish in the narrow vertical frame” selfie isn’t doing it for you, set up your phone on a timer so you can get a different kind of shot.
  • Activate the Rule of Thirds Grid: just because it’s a phone, doesn’t mean it can’t follow traditional rules of photography. By turning on the Rule of Thirds Grids your composition will become significantly more compelling.

At the end of the day, you get out what you put in. If you want to continue being another face in the feed, then shoot in auto and don’t take time to plan out a shot. But, if you want to produce pictures that wow, intrigue or even inspire people, take the extra step. Believe me, it’s worth it.

All photographs by Matteo Moretti, check out his Instagram @gardenstateangling for more examples of some dope fishing pictures!

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5 thoughts on “How to Take Fishing Pictures That People Want to See

  1. Arthur Strauss October 23, 2018 / 3:28 pm

    ! would have hoped that along with general photography tips you would have advised catch & release
    fly fishers to “keep ’em wet” to avoid prolonged hypoxia risk to the target of our sport (ie – trout). Supporting the internal organs of other species like largemouth bass while being photographed is another useful technique.

    • Matteo Moretti October 23, 2018 / 3:38 pm

      Hi Arthur, that is a great point. We definitely all do support proper fish handling practices as well as keepin’ em wet. There’s only so much we can fit in a single article, but that is definitely a topic worthy of branching out on for another article about fishing photography in the future! Thanks for reading!

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