Photography Tips for Capturing your Monster Key West Haul
Aside from the lack of Gore-Tex raingear, the most frustrating thing about being a fisherman back in Ernest Hemingway’s day was the difficulty in getting a sweet photo for your big catch. These old-timers couldn’t just haul out their iPhone on deck and snap away to their heart’s content!
How many people thought their grandfather’s tales of the “big one” were grossly exaggerated?
Well, it was all because – Hemingway’s feats notwithstanding – they had no photographic evidence to back up their stories.
Those days are long gone, and digital cameras are now standard in any angler’s gear bag or top pocket. They come in all shapes and sizes and are as tough as you need them to be. Don’t leave shore without one. But before you head off on that big fishing trip, take a look through some of these do’s and don’ts to help you best capture your Key West big catch.
Do get familiar with your camera and know its settings. These days, cameras can capture an exact moment in amazingly graphic detail, but you still need to learn how to best use their features. Before your big fishing trip, take some time to test out all the great features on your camera.
Do set your camera on its highest resolution. There are loads of simple ways to shrink a photo, but no good way to blow up a photo that has been captured on poor resolution. Treat each photo like it could be the shot of the big one. You may want a lower resolution for your everyday shots, but go ahead and use up a few more mega-bytes for your once-in-a-lifetime fishing trip.
Where possible snap and release… the fish, that is. If you do want to get a photo of yourself with the big one you let go free, here are some simple tips from Key West Charter Boat Row to Captain Richie Gomez, to make sure the fish you set free stays alive: “Hold the fish horizontally, as holding them head or tails up can be harmful,” says the captain. “Much like hanging a human up by their feet causes a rush of blood to the head. Fish are very simple creatures and their organs are set up so that they function best in a horizontal position.” Don’t wipe the protective “goop” off the fish either; it protects the fish from bacterial infection. Your mate will help you get the fish released as quickly as possible to make it likely to live for another day of sport fishing!
Don’t just snap away wildly. It is one thing to take advantage of the digital age, but don’t go overboard (pun intended). Think carefully about the background. Do you want to include the boat, the jetty or just have you and the fish in the shot? The best fishing shot is the shot out on the water where fish was caught. It will come across as the most genuine and you’ll look far happier in that shot than in the photo back on shore after a long day at sea.
Do make sure the camera is focused on the smiling face of the fisherman and the fish. These are the important features of a trophy photo. Don’t sacrifice a great photo trying to get the angler in from head to toe.
Do hold the fish close to you to allow the camera to get both fisherman and fish clearly in focus. The further away you hold the fish, the more likely one of you will be out of focus. If you’re holding onto a large live fish don’t let safety take a backseat to your eagerness to get a great shot.
Don’t wear a cap for the photo. The bill casts a shadow on your face leaving you looking like the Invisible Man.
The person taking the photo should be standing with their back to the sun and the fisherman with his catch should be looking into sun for the best lighting. This may cause you to squint. Some may disagree but sunglasses are a cool alternative to squinting. You can’t always look into the sun, though. Kodak recommends you use a flash in this sort of instance, yes, even outdoors.
Do take multiple photos. Digital photography is a numbers game. The more shots you take the better chance you have of getting a really good one. It’s not all that dissimilar to fishing. The more times you get out there the better your chances are of landing the big one.
Check out these additional tips for taking fishing photos from BOAT US. There are pointers for both SLF cameras and digital point and shooters.
Good luck and tightlines from your fishing captains in Key West!
License: Creative Commons image source