Take your best shot: fishing photos made to last

Getting the little things right, such as bright clothes, proper focus and exposure and the right subjects with winning smiles, are sure keys to improving your fishing photos.

With the Memorial Day weekend behind and a full summer of fishing ahead, it’s probably time to pay a bit more attention to your photography.

That perfect moment only comes once and with the advances in digital point-and-shoot cameras, there are no reasons why every angler can’t be ready and able to take a memorable photo that ends up being displayed instead of being tossed.

The Internet offers an abundance of angling-centric photography lessons, whether you’re chasing blue-water marlin or simply going after catfish or hatchery trout in the local pond or river.

That said, there are a few tips that will make it easier for you to capture that special moment and hold on to it through the year.

The easiest part is that most of us don’t even need to carry a separate camera since we already carry a cell phone.

Many cell-phone cameras take better and higher-resolution images than most inexpensive digital cameras, and there are several free or inexpensive apps available that make it easy to edit the final picture.

Plus, a cell phone is a lot easier to travel or pack when your camera fits in your shirt pocket.

You probably won’t make professional quality images with a phone camera but just having it handy meets the No. 1 criteria, which is making sure your camera is there when you need it.

Learn how the camera functions before you need it. Does it have zoom or wide-angle capabilities and how about a fill flash for those too-often back-lit situations?

And where does the camera focus? Most cameras allow you to point it at the subject, hold the button half way down and then move the camera to compose the shot you want.

A drawback to auto-focus is it’s too easy to overlook distractions (a branch, fishing rod, dog’s tail, anything that freezes the camera’s eye) between you and the subject.

Nothing like having a great shot spoiled when the focus is a foot off.

Many cameras can show a “Rule of Thirds” grid in the viewfinder, helping you compose and balance your photos.

Taking every shot with the subject dead center not only is boring but loses the sense of creativity found in great photography.

A few more hints:

■ Learn the different functions (low-light, indoor, close-up, etc.) on your camera and make sure it’s working before you leave home;

■ Keep it close and accessible, that once-in-a-trip shot may turn up at any time;

■ Use the macro function for eye-catching close-ups of fish fins and eyes and for those tiny flies;

■ Take lots of photos, more than you think you’ll ever need. The ones you don’t like can easily be erased;

■ Slow down and take the time to look around because the best photo may not be in front of you;

■ And be easy on the fish. If you lift it (well-supported) from the water, take a breath and hold it. When you need to breathe again, so does the fish.


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