Fish pics 101 for dummies

All this talk about my fish photography got me thinking, what is it that I really conciously do to get the best out of my pics. Well I generally don;t do a lot as I don;t have a great camera and never fiddle with the settings too much apart from having the flash on whenever I can and the sun behind me. So this is the start of a quick thread to get a real basic idea of the "WA Salvage" standard of fish photography 101 for absolute beginners. Any expert reading this please don;t be offended by my lack of any technical speak as I don;t possess it and am blissfully ignorant of it all. That's why they invented auto focus auto everything camera's for dummies like me. If you have some techincal ability and can share it perhaps start another thread and leave this one as the real bare bones basics for guys that can't be stuffed checking appatures and light meters etc.

Step 1: Take at least 2 shots of every fish you catch. try different angles and distances if you get time.
[img_assist|fid=88350|thumb=1|alt=Original Spanglie pic 1|caption=Note the sun's reflections look great but the rod is very close to the fish and the fish isn't the centre of the composition.]
[img_assist|fid=88353|thumb=1|alt=Original Spanglie 2|caption=Second shot slightly different angle and magically the rod is now away from the fish making the opportunity to crop the image without the rod spoiling it.]

Step 2: Lighting - make sure there are no shadows from the rods or the canopy that are going to spoil the shot.

Step 3: Composition - If you have the time try and remove the rods from the picture, unless you are Honsu whereby you need to quickly brush your teeth and wipe the rod but down to ensure the end result is both photogenic and hygenic.
[img_assist|fid=77539|thumb=1|alt=A day out with boutime27/11/06|caption=The master at work]

Step 4: Photoshop is thy friend - now don;t get me wrong here, all I use photoshop for (actually its not photoshop but the camera software that came with the camera "Pixela") is to crop the image down to a size that shows off the fish to its best ability. Long distance shots that show more of the angler than the fish are no-no's in my book, so I tend to crop them down before posting them wherever possible. Obviosly if you can do the composition well when you actually take the pic there is less need to crop at home.

[img_assist|fid=88356|thumb=1|alt=Cropped Spanglie 1|caption=Fish now centre of attention but rod is a bit of a pain in the background.]

[img_assist|fid=88359|thumb=1|alt=Cropped Spanglie 2|caption=No rod and still tight on the fish, but is it the better of the two pics???]

Step 5: Post the pics up that you like the best and leave the rest on the cutting room floor. I have heaps and heaps of pics from just about every trip I have been on but when I look back on them now I find too many of the earlier ones have either questionable handling techniques or have some blood on the fish from a struggle to get the hooks out. You get the picture, just decide if its a pic that is controversial or not before posting it. If you look through my album you will see the pic entitled "sea of Reds"
[img_assist|fid=26622|thumb=1|alt=Sea of Red|caption=Bagged out on Red Emporer and Crimson Perch - We checked our bag limits constantly to ensure we weren't breaching any regulations.]
That would have to have been my most controversial photo ever. I agonised over posting it and when I realised that I hadn't clarified how many anglers were on board and how many of these fish were actually Saddle Tailed Sea Perch there was even more agony. Whilst the pic told the story of a great day out it also could have been interpreted very differently by a casual viewer. So think before you post and ask yourself should I explain this pic a little better and avoid the backlash first or do I get lazy and just post the pic and awake the next morning to world war three.

Being involved with this website has taught me heaps about fishing, fish handling, conservation, photography and many other things. Hopefully this bare bones "Luigi Sava-da-money" version of how to take fish pics will help some beginners and spur some of the more profesional fellas to post their own thread on how really to do it.

Now remember this site thrives on pics and videos so please be inspired to go and try a new camera angle or zoom in a bit further, and when you buy a video camera, use it when you are fishing and send the footage in. Adam or I will gladly edit the raw footage down for you and package it for all your mates and the world to see.

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Cheers

Andy Mac (Fishwrecked Reeltime Editor & Forum Moderator)

Youngest member of the Fishwrecked Old Farts Club


deefa's picture

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Don't forget, pics with

Wed, 2006-12-20 10:15

Don't forget, pics with fingers in gills, or gratuitous blood/bleeding shots always makes for a much more interesting photo. Dead fish make great piccies too. :-o ;D

Hijack over back to thread, good idea by the way Andy.

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:-o ;D ?????????????

Wed, 2006-12-20 11:03

Take me to cuba, this is a hijack!!! (Hahaha)

You missed Gaff shots by the way Deefa, always a good look......NOT! But a fact of fishing life as many people still only have a gaff and no net on their boat. Can't see the guys fishing 100m cliffs up at steep point using a flying net to get their fish up, though theres an idea for a new bit of fishing tackle for ya. (10% of the royalties for the idea guys thanks.)

So how do you get the best pic after using the gaff?.....simple turn the fish around so the clean side is facing the camera. Try and aim the gaff in the side of the mouth where the hooks are and you will have a better looking photo.

As for pics of dead fish, again fact of life, as often mum won't let you take the new $1000 digi camera out on the boat for fear of it getting all fishy and stuff, so the only record of the day is a pic of the catch lined up on the grass or on the fish cleaning table. Nothing wrong with it, not always possible I know, but far more visually stimulating if you can get a pic of the fish fresh out of the water. Colours and smile says it all then. Far better to get a pic of angler with fish rather than just fish and table. That sea of reds pic was terrible but again told a story. Back then we were so busy pulling in fish after fish that nobody was prepared to put their rod down to take a pic of each others fish. By rights that trip to Exxy should have had about 5 hours solid of fishing video footage. Instead we only got a bit on camera but next time the rule is that 4 guys fish and one guy is rostered for 30 minutes as cameraman, then we rotate so everyone gets a fish and everyone gets a great ic to remember the day.

These days out from Mindarie with two or three (max) on board, as soon as someone hooks up on something big, its all lines up, someone grab the camera. We make sure we get a few pics before the fish is ikijimied and bled out in a bucket of seawater then straight into the ice slurry.

You will note that my avatar pic was taken back at the house (dead fish) because I forgot the camera that day (wouldn't you know it!!). Maybe its time I change it to a more recent pic in light of this thread.

Cheers

Andy Mac

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Cheers

Andy Mac (Fishwrecked Reeltime Editor & Forum Moderator)

Youngest member of the Fishwrecked Old Farts Club

deefa's picture

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that dhuie in your av pic

Wed, 2006-12-20 11:23

that dhuie in your av pic makes me green with envy Andy, bloody ripper dead or not.

i'm glad you saw the lighter side of my previous post, given whats going on around the traps at the moment, i figured a bit of banter wouldn't go astray.

:D

:D

deefa's picture

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Actually, i've just thought

Wed, 2006-12-20 11:27

Actually, i've just thought of something useful which i can share to this thread.

Be aware of the shaDow your hat is casting. I, for one, like to "share" the experience with who ever is being photo'd, something ya can't do if ya can't see the face. I love the happy expressions when someones nabbed a ripper, plenty of good fishy pics been spoiled by hat shadows IMO.

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Absolutely

Wed, 2006-12-20 11:33

Don't worry mate, I am wired to your sense of humour by now Deefa, it is a very similar sense of hunour that I possess myself so all good.

I agree with the hat shade issue. Hard one to remember when you are out on the boat and all excited but I often look at my recent pics and think how much better they would be if the hat and sunnies were missing. Then I remember that I have virtually no hair, all of it is grey and after pulling of the hat it looks pretty scary, so the hat will probably stay on. But the fill flash is then paramount.

Cheers

Andy Mac

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Cheers

Andy Mac (Fishwrecked Reeltime Editor & Forum Moderator)

Youngest member of the Fishwrecked Old Farts Club

Adam Gallash's picture

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Hahah

Wed, 2006-12-20 11:55

Yeh, Im onto you Deef, the fun police are here!!! ;)))

I'm the opposite to Andy, soon as I take my hat of the mop goes everywhere, not sure if its better I leave the hat on or look like some crazy dude. Theres a lot to consider when trying to get a good pic these days, not only fish care, but camera position, lighting, hats, sunnies and so many more. Who woulda thought fishing was such a tough caper, gives a whole new meaning to wetting a line sometimes!

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big john's picture

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Washed out

Wed, 2006-12-20 12:13

When taking pics of particularly shiny fish (mackerel/saltwater barra/queenies) there is a tendency for the fish to act like a mirror and be washed out (bright silver with little detail such as scales or bars).

Turning the fish on a slight angle so that the head is closer to the camera than the tail will help alleviate this.

Believe it or not, spaniards pics taken like this with fill flash, look fantastic. Don't know how to put the pics within a thread but there's a couple of good examples in my photo gallery.

John

Edit* Big John's Gallery Location
http://fishwrecked.com/image/tid/74
Spaniard Example:

[img_assist|fid=30184|thumb=0|alt=Fill flash spaniard.]

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WA based manufacturer and supplier of premium leadhead jigs, bucktail jigs, 'bulletproof' soft plastic jig heads and XOS bullet jig heads.

Jigs available NOR at Shorecatch, Bluewater Joondalup/Myaree or online in my web store!

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That spaniard pic is a

Wed, 2006-12-20 12:27

That spaniard pic is a ripper. I need to start doing more shots like that rather than the usual horizontal pics.

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Jay Burgess

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Now you see it, now you don't

Wed, 2006-12-20 13:02

Check this out.

Orgininal Pic

Image has now been edited, rod has been removed ;)

Image has been cropped, baitboard not visible.

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Impressive

Wed, 2006-12-20 13:10

Impressive work Jay, if theres ever a fishwrecked mag in the works I know who I'll contact to ensure the pics are top quality!!! What photoshop tool did you use to do that? I'm only just getting the hang of the smudge tool.

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Clone tool, it's pretty easy

Wed, 2006-12-20 13:15

Clone tool, it's pretty easy to use.

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Jay Burgess

Andy Mac's picture

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Jay

Wed, 2006-12-20 13:37

Can you do something about the ugly mug holding the fish mate (hehehe)

Cheers

Andy Mac

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Cheers

Andy Mac (Fishwrecked Reeltime Editor & Forum Moderator)

Youngest member of the Fishwrecked Old Farts Club

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lol you wish

Wed, 2006-12-20 13:49

lol you wish ;)

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Jay Burgess

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Clone

Wed, 2006-12-20 13:57

Yeah that works well Jay. Can only really pick it if you've got the original image to refer to (water looks a bit hazy where the rod has been removed). Not to sure how it would go if it was blown up into a large print.

John

Ps. Thanks for adding the photo Adam.

____________________________________________________________________________

WA based manufacturer and supplier of premium leadhead jigs, bucktail jigs, 'bulletproof' soft plastic jig heads and XOS bullet jig heads.

Jigs available NOR at Shorecatch, Bluewater Joondalup/Myaree or online in my web store!

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Thanks for picking that up

Wed, 2006-12-20 14:07

Thanks for picking that up big John. Could've done it a little better if I gave it more time and effort but I just wanted to demonstrate the things you can do with powerfull image editing software.

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Jay Burgess

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Vertical shots

Fri, 2006-12-22 21:41

A few months back now we had a thread that talked about cover shots for magazines. Just thought I would remind everyone that if you get that fish of a lifetime take a few vertical shots too, like the one of Big John's Mackie as that is how the magazine page is set-up. The few fictional fishwrecked magazine shots that I made up a while back and Jay has improved on this week are examples of how a vertical shot can really look good.  


Cheers




Andy Mac

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Cheers

Andy Mac (Fishwrecked Reeltime Editor & Forum Moderator)

Youngest member of the Fishwrecked Old Farts Club

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Covers

Fri, 2006-12-22 21:49

Yeah good point Andy, from my understanding of cover shots, make sure you leave a patch of clear space at the top of the shot for the magazine masthead.

Composition should be based around a centre of interest with the area making up the background (left and right) as unclutterd as possible. Wangler covers are a good example of this.

John

____________________________________________________________________________

WA based manufacturer and supplier of premium leadhead jigs, bucktail jigs, 'bulletproof' soft plastic jig heads and XOS bullet jig heads.

Jigs available NOR at Shorecatch, Bluewater Joondalup/Myaree or online in my web store!

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I went through quite a few

Fri, 2006-12-22 23:53

I went through quite a few galleries before I chose the pic for the cover I did just recently. I wanted a nice sambo pic, almost identical to big johns mackie pic above. I couldn't really find something suitable that I could work with and when I saw Andys dhuie pic I new straight away that it would make a good cover shot.. not the biggest dhuie but a nice fish and shot nontheless.

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Jay Burgess

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Bump

Mon, 2007-04-02 15:02

Whilst not addressing fish handling issues in detail, this thread might be worth re-reading in respect of what types of pics you may consider being kept in the family album and which ones you should drag out and crop or fiddle with so they will look great on the site.

Here is a great example of how to hold a big fish before release.

[img_assist|fid=87248|thumb=1|alt=another biggin]

Well done Neil!!

I'm no expert but the general consensus is, wet hands, quick pics, support the weight around the girth and hold the tail to avoid a big kick that sends 40kgs of fish thudding onto the hard metal deck.

Then back down using a release weight. If you spear your fish you must watch to make sure it doesn't end up a floater. Release weights are much better.

Cheers

Andy Mac

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Cheers

Andy Mac (Fishwrecked Reeltime Editor & Forum Moderator)

Youngest member of the Fishwrecked Old Farts Club

SPESS's picture

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Thats better mate! Cheers

Mon, 2007-04-02 15:06

Thats better mate! Cheers Chris.

Keep it tight, reeeeeeel tight!

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JAY

Mon, 2007-04-02 21:01

Jay did you check out RAMBO SAMBO. It would look good holding it vertical but what happens when it's just too big?? Check it out on the brag board.You'll have to go back a few pages to see it. MAXY