Make the most of your fishing photos

Jordan Rodriguez fishing in Belize.
Jordan Rodriguez fishing in Belize. Courtesy of Jordan Rodriguez

This week’s Playing Outdoors section is all about photography. For me, photos are a huge part of what makes fishing fun. I always enjoy looking through pictures from old trips and remembering good days spent on the water. Photos also provide a key piece of evidence for those “pictures, or it didn’t happen!” types, and an easy way to share your catches with your buddies, at the office or on social media.

But not all fishing photos are created equal. We’ve all seen examples of the bad ones. The dead fish in the kitchen sink. The crusty, dried out driveway fish. The blurry shot that kind of looks like a big trout, but also might be a ho-hum bottom feeder.

But take heart! By the end of this column, shoddy fishing photos will be a thing of the past — and you don’t need an expensive camera or fancy lense to make it happen. A simple point-and-shoot, or even a cell phone, will do just fine. Just follow these easy steps:

1. Photograph the fish in its natural element. People don’t catch fish in a bathtub or on the tailgate of a truck. So why take the photo there? The best photos are taken in a natural setting, with the lake, river or stream in the background. Nature makes a much more appealing backdrop than a parking lot or living room, and it adds to the memory of where you caught the fish.

2. Pay attention to the light. Good lighting is vital to any successful photo. As a general rule, you never want the person being photographed to be directly facing the sun (they’ll be washed out and squinty) or directly in front of it (they’ll be shadowy). Find a nice equilibrium, where the sun is casting a friendly light on both the angler and the fish.

3. Don’t be THAT guy. We all know that holding the fish closer to the camera makes it look bigger. And yes, it does make for a better photo when used responsibly. Just don’t get too crazy with it. Unless you are really going for the gold with an obviously small fish, in which case, it’s pretty funny.

4. Believe in your selfie. So how do you get good photos if you’re fishing alone? I’m glad you asked! I’ve seen selfie sticks and GoPros produce good results. You also can ask a nearby stranger to take one for you (they usually are happy to oblige). If all else fails, I like taking photos of just the fish. Hold them gently with one hand and snap away!

5. Take care of your catch. One of my favorite things about fishing photos is they allow you to have an awesome souvenir without killing the fish. So be sure to handle your fish with care and respect, especially if you plan to release them. Use wet hands, support the weight of the fish and keep them in the water until your photographer is ready to roll. There’s nothing better than watching a big fish swim away healthy, with an unforgettable snapshot safe and sound in your pocket.

Happy photographing, and tight lines!

Jordan Rodriguez has been fishing Idaho waters since he was a teen. Share your fish stories, adventures, tips and tricks at outdoors