Wildlife photography can be very challenging. This goes double for photographing trophy fish out on the water. A photographer has to contend with the weather, the rock of the boat, and the unpredictability of live fish struggling to get out of the fisherman’s hands and back into the water; all these elements combine to make things very difficult for the photographer. Thankfully, these tips will help make things a bit easier.
When it comes to catch and release lakes, it is important for you to be ready to catch your fish, take a prize-winning shot and release your giant back into the water for others to enjoy. Before setting out on your trophy trout fishing trip with your fishing partner or guide, keep these few tips in mind.
Bring along a good, reliable camera. It doesn’t matter if it is digital or 35 mm, but make sure it has an automatic focus feature. Most casual photographers don’t need the pressure of adjusting settings, so an automatic camera is a good choice. In addition, for the sake of safety, it doesn’t hurt if your camera is waterproof!
With catch and release fishing, the ultimate goal is to return the fish to the water quickly and gently. Touch the fish as little as possible and never touch the gills. Because you have so little time, be sure the person taking the picture is ready to go. That means the film is in the camera, the cap is off the lens and the photographer is holding the camera up to his or her eye ready to snap as you are landing that trophy!
When you are in the boat, sometimes it can be tricky but try to keep the camera even with the horizon of the water. It can be distracting if the horizon is on an odd angle. Keep the picture as uncluttered as possible. The water, sky and shoreline are background enough.
Don’t forget to fill the frame. Go in and make sure you have all the elements — the subject’s head/ upper body and the full trophy trout. If shooting a vertical photograph try to center your subject, however if you are photographing horizontally it can add interest to place your subject slightly to one side, but only if the whole fish is included as well. (Imagine the photograph divided into thirds and place your subject on any of the “thirds lines”).
Don’t take a photograph with the subject’s back to the sun and the photographer facing the sun. This will result in washed out skies and a dark shadowed subject that no one can see. Turn the subject to the sun or sideways to the sun. Ask them to remove their sunglasses to reduce glare. If they are wearing a hat, they should either remove it or tilt their head so that there is no shadow over the face.
Always remember to take more than one shot. You won’t have a lot of time to reset or take shots from different angles. So snap those frames as fast as you can.