Tips for Taking a Good Fish Picture

how to take a good fish picture

Tips for taking a good fish picture!

as a fishing guide and writer, I have taken a lot of fishing pictures over the years, while it may seem as simple as pointing the camera or phone and clicking, there is much more that goes into taking a good picture out on the water. A little planning and paying attention to a few details will really make a big difference!

sheepshead fishing

The biggest issue when taking pictures outdoors is the lighting. Unlike a studio where the photographer can control lights and shadows, doing so outdoors brings in several variables. Sunlight, clouds, and shadows can be very difficult to deal with. Wind is another component that can get in the way of a good picture.

Bright light is not your friend

Of all the issues that anglers and photographers have to deal with, especially in Florida where I live, is harsh sunlight. In summer, the session almost has to be relegated to early morning or evening when the “soft” light allows for the best pics. Camera settings and editing software can correct some things, but shadows are really tough to deal with.

how to catch shepshead

Here is a photograph that I took in the early afternoon. However, it was late winter when the sun angle is lower. It is a nice photo with a clean background and no issues with shadows. She has a great smile and no distractions in the background. It is very easy to focus on the fish. when framing the picture, decide what is desired, a shot that is simple and highlights the fish and angler or one that tells more of a story like the pic below.

fishing for sheepshead

Here is a similar picture, but with more going on. The fish is less of the focus of the image. I purposely show some of the structure that we are fishing in the background,along with the tackle being used. The angler has a big smile and her bright shirt really “pops” Of course, having such attractive subjects really helps a LOT!

freshwater fishing tackle and lures

Here is a contrasting image that should be really good. It has all the elements, cool background, bright colors, attractive angler with a nice smile, and a chunky bluegill. However, it was taken at 9:00 am in July and the sunlight was brutal It bleached out the bright top and shadows were horrible. Her nose created a shadow that blocks her face and you can see the shadow of the fish on her torso. She is also forced to squint a bit (or wear sunglasses). There just is no defense for a very bright sun.

Take time to format the shot

Taking just a few extra seconds to position the angler and plan the shot can really make a difference. The sun can not be behind the angler, all that will show is a big dark image. The angler needs to face the sun, if it is out. Make sure he or she is not squinting and that your shadow is not in the picture. Also, make sure the background is uncluttered or shows what you want, like I did in the second picture. Fortunately, it is now very easy to crop and edit images.

how to catch sheepshead

Most fishing pics are of the fish. In the industry, we refer to these as “grip and grin” shots. There is nothing wrong with that. However, action shots definitely have a place and tell a story all their own. They can be a bit more difficult to time and take, but it is definitely worth it. in some cases images can be taken from video footage.

Bright solid colors are almost always best


In most cases, bright solid colors work best. They are easier to edit and it makes it easier to focus on the subject of the picture. This is where a little planning before the trip can really pay off. I get most of my really good pictures on trips where I am purposely going out just to get good pictures and video.

fishing tips for blue catfish

Here is an example of what should be a really cool picture. A big fish, pretty girl, and a great smile. However, the fish is dark, the background dark, and her shirt is dark. The fish would really look good framed against a bright shirt like this;

fishing for bluegill


Hats are fine on partly cloudy days, but they are tough on bright sunny days. Bandanas and hair bands can be used to add a pop of color.

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