As a photographer and editor, I have seen my share of fish photos, and while some are good, most are not. I realize that in the heat of the moment there is much excitement because someone has caught a fish, but if you take a moment to calm down and compose the photo, the results will be much better.

Ric Burnley shows off a big tog. No sunglasses, and the sun is on the fish.
Ric Burnley shows off a big tog. No sunglasses, and the sun is on the fish.

First, consider the angle of the sun. You want the sun shining on your subject. Have the person remove his or her hat if it is shading his face. Sunglasses should also be removed.

Next, have the angler hold the fish so the sun is on it as well. Sometimes you may have to ask the person holding the fish to move it so that the sun brings out the color. Try to take the photo as soon as the fish is caught, because they lose their color very quickly once they are in the cooler.

If the fish is to be released, it is even more important to get the photo as quickly as possible. Never put hands or fingers inside the gill plates. Try to support the fish by the head and body so that the internal organs are not damaged.

Kids make for the best photos, but they can be a bit harder to control. Some will pose very well, while others want to get back to catching, so stopping for a photo is not always on the agenda. Once again speed is critical. Get the subject posed and snap the photo before you have a situation on your hands. Some kids, and adults for that matter, don’t like to hold a fish with their naked hands. Have a wet towel ready for this situation, and things will go more smoothly.

I think most fish photos today are taken with cell phones. I still use my Canon, but in either case, you can see the photo as soon as it is taken. Use this feature to check the quality, and if something is wrong, take the photo again. Twenty years from now you will be glad you got it right.

By Eric Burnley