OK, I’m going to venture into an area that I’m certainly no expert on: taking good fishing pictures and videos! Many of us offer online critiques almost daily but also usually fall short when it comes to our own attempts, especially when it’s something special we wanted to capture. Here are simple tips that helped me.
Maybe you’ve been like me, point and shoot, then hope it turns out OK. I’ve got drawers full of ancient fish pictures, faded Polaroids of four trout lined up on a crate, another of a guy holding a stringer of crappie but with his head cut out of the frame. You know, the kind of puzzling shots that most of us have decades worth in our closets! My problem came to a head, however, when I began guiding and taking pictures of guests. I wanted them to be good.
My photo breakthrough finally came during a recent two-week cruise. They offered an Iphone/Ipad photo and movie class onboard, and I quickly found out it was easy to vastly improve my skills. At the same time, I was reminded that there had to be a bunch of other “camera-impaired” anglers out there that needed help!
My first question was, “Do I have enough camera to get good pictures and videos?” Well, once I realized that my Iphone7 had a great 4K pixel camera and that it took great videos and pictures, at least I felt I was in the game. The fact is most current cellphones do far more than I had imagined. Many anglers are similarly equipped, but I find too often that they feel they need a regular camera. Not!
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I received my first big “aha!” moment when instructors explained that you need to take pictures and videos while holding your Iphone/Ipad horizontally! Really? I had been taking everything vertically! I wondered what all that black background on the side of my regular still pictures was all about. Duh!
The moment of truth comes when someone sees a spectacular picture of your trophy fish, in all its glory, and they gush all over it!
Taking videos vertically is even worse, since you are really getting black sides and don’t fill up the video screen as you should! A horizontal still picture also allows you to insert the picture into a video since they now share the same dimensions. No one had ever told me!! Remember: horizontal!
My second big idea was when they showed us how to simply turn on the grid lines in “photos and camera” under the Settings menu. These grids show on your screen and can be used to break up your picture into three equal vertical and horizontal lines. Now, I had the ability to accurately center, or offset, my pictures with the right proportions! Good pictures have balance, and I could now clearly center my shot on the fish exactly where I wanted. Easy! Better pictures and videos immediately!
Finally, learning how to “fix” pictures also changed my world. It’s easy to go into the simple edit commands that can be applied to each photo you take and crop the picture or change the light, color and black and white aspects. I started going back to my old Iphone pictures and touching them up. Funny how a few simple “fixes” could make a photo spectacular! No, this is not a Photoshop job with a deceptively magnified fish, it’s a photo adjustment!
Of course, some older phones may not have these features but you can doublecheck online. Other basic features such as slo-motion, bursts and panoramic shots are great tools for special fishing pictures and are right there on your camera app. Shooting great videos is a whole other skill set worth trying to master, but taking improved still photos is a great start.
My purpose is to give you hope. The moment of truth comes when someone sees a spectacular picture of your trophy fish, in all its glory, and they gush all over it! That’s when you know you’ve captured something special that will continue to be celebrated decades from now. Photos can end up being a legacy we pass on, or a reminder of a missed opportunity. Think not? Just go through all the old pictures you keep in that shoebox out in the garage! Never give up!