Framing Your Shot

October 7, 2010

Framing Your Shot

So I thought that for the fall, when you should be getting those best fish of the year, that everyone might like to know a few tricks of how to frame your fish so that your lasting memory isn't out of focus and full of more background and less fish. After all, the fish themselves are fleeting, but the memories you capture on your camera last a lot longer. So the next time you get a fish that you want to capture a moment, don't screw it up with a few tips and tricks.

This isn't a \"how to take nice nature shots\" piece, because let's face it I haven't been to film school and I couldn't tell you what light levels, time of day or anything else have to do with photo's. But I can tell you how to make your fish look a little bigger, how to frame them so that you are maximizing the amount of fish and minimizing the amount of everything else and how to get a shot that you can be proud to show to your friends instead of something you privately view instead of being made fun of by others...






The first trick is going to be hiding those meat cleavers you call hands, that's right big guys, we're at a disadvantage here. If you have small hands and fingers, you're already on the right road to better fishing shots (ladies you're in luck here too!) What we are looking for here is not putting your hands all over the fish - in addition to stripping away their slime and choking them with a death grip, it looks absolutely terrible in photos, see subject below with hands all over the fish - this is one not to replicate. Position your hands underneath and behind the fish, minimizing the amount of finger sausage in the photo like the following photo.








The next trick is how you hold the fish relative to the camera. Don't be \"that guy\" who jams the fish in the camera and tries to lean back away from the camera like this shot below. In addition to looking eerily similar to a shrunken head doll, you will lose all credibility with any fisherman who knows anything about taking photos... On the other side of the coin don't hold them tight to your chest and squeeze either, this dwarfs the fish and creates the illusion that you are indeed trying to do something unnatural with the animal. Simply hold the fish out and away from your body naturally- we'll talk about angles next.






This here is the big one, the letting of the cat out of the bag so to speak (shhhh don't tell anyone I told you this, it's supposed to be an insider secret, haha...) By adjusting the angle at which you take your photos (that means you'll have to talk to the camera man too) you can adjust the way the fish looks to the naked eye. You should also adjust the angle at which you position the fish. My favorite and the best looking shot of a fish is with the head angled towards the camera, the tail angled slightly upwards and slightly away from the camera (towards you). So that's head towards, tail away and hide the fingers. See what happens below with the same fish and different angles, dramatic huh.






Finally, not all photos have to be gratuitous fish porn with fish jammed in the lens. After being around fishing my entire life, I appreciate shots that remind me of the day itself encapsulating a little bit of your surroundings and what made that fish special. Leave a fly in the face every now and again, grab some background in the shot, angle it a little differently. If you have an underwater camera, snap some underwater shots of the fish, or try getting a good one of you releasing your fish back safely into the water.






Whatever you do, remember that as much as we like to photograph the fish, having them out of water for extended periods of time is like you having your head held underwater, protect the resource and be cognisant of releasing all fish safely back into the water. After all, what the hell good is a photo of a fish you just killed, I promise your buddies won't be stoked on that...

Now get out on the water and enjoy this Indian Summer we're having this October!

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