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How to Master the Basics of Fishing Photography- Daiwa Tech Tips

Today I'm just going to run you through some basic photography tips to get the most out of your photography on the water. So three things that you can easily control, whether it be using a mobile phone, a point and shoot, a digital SR, or a mirror-less camera is focus, composition, and lighting. If you take into account those three things, you can generally get a really, really nice photo without having to delve into changing your settings on your camera or anything like that. Just using auto and take into account those three things definitely does help.

Getting Focused

So the first thing I want to talk to you about is focus. So making sure that your subject is in focus is very, very important to making sure you have a nice image. So as anglers, we're holding up fish. And if you've got a photo, for example, where someone's head's in focus, but the fish is out of focus, it just doesn't look quite right. So it's very, very important to make sure that you are heroing the fish as the subject in the photo. So with a camera, so you've got what they call a focal plane. So basically everything that is parallel to your camera is on that focal plane. So when you're focused on something, it's going to be in a parallel line.

So if someone's holding a fish and it's straight like that, if you're just focused on the center of the fish, the whole fish is going to be in focus. That's fine. If someone has the fish angled like this, for example, and the fish's eye is over here, then you want to make sure that you're focusing on the eye of the fish and heroing that section of the fish to making sure that that is in focus. Otherwise, if you focus on the tail, for example, which is further back in the image, and then the head of the fish is out of focus, it just doesn't quite look right. So it's very, very important to making sure that you are focusing on the right part of the image you're putting together to make it look aesthetically pleasing.

Getting Framed

The second thing that I want to talk to you about is composition. So the composition of the image is basically just how it is put together and how it is framed. There is a rule in photography called the rule of thirds, which is a very big help to you. So basically, if you think about an image in thirds, so you've got horizontal, you got three thirds, and also vertically, you've got three thirds. So nine segments in total.

When you're taking a photo of someone holding a fish, if you just take into account the background, and if you try and work on having, say for a landscape photo, so when the camera is positioned this way, that you have sort of the water and the land go two thirds of the way out the frame, and then the top third is sky. By doing that, and then having your picture of the person holding the fish in front of the camera, it just looks a bit more pleasing to the eye. And the same goes when you're taking your photo, say, in portrait. If you have, say, one third of water and then two thirds of sky or vice versa, it definitely just makes a nice looking image.

It definitely isn't a hard and fast rule. You can have your horizon running straight to the middle if that is what you think looks best at the time. But if you do just experiment with it, you take one photo with the horizon in the middle and then also you take one using that rule of thirds and have a look at them, quite often you'll find that the one using the rule of third just looks a little bit better to the eye.

Seeing the Light

So the third thing I want to talk to you about is lighting, making sure that your subject is lit correctly, very, very important. So say, for example, the angler in front of you is holding up fish. You want to make sure that that light, the sun, is coming in from in front of the subject. So everything is lit up nicely, there's no shadows. You've also got to be mindful of yourself as the photographer, that you're not throwing a shadow onto the subject. So quite often you'll see photos where someone's taking a photo, but then you can just see in the bottom part of the photo, there's, whether it be the shadow of a shoulder or a head or the camera itself coming into frame. So just be mindful and adjust on the boat or fishing on the land or wherever you are that you're not throwing a shadow.

There are different lighting periods during the day, say morning, for example, is soft light. And then in middle of the day, the sun is directly overhead. So when the sun is directly overhead, often on the water, we're wearing hats so we don't get sunburned. And a hat, for example, can throw a lot of shadow on someone's face. So just asking the angler to adjust themselves a little bit, whether they tilt their head to the side or tilt their head up a little bit, just lets a little bit more light on the face and just better lights the subject. So just doing those little things can definitely be helpful.

Playing With Light

One thing that you will see quite often in photography is the use of light in an artistic way. So for example, if you're holding up a fish and you've got light coming in from the back, you can say, for example, get really nice lit up fins like haloed fins. But one thing you definitely don't want to do is have someone holding up a fish like this and have the light directly behind them, and then having an underexposed photo at the front. So it's very, very dark. You can use that to your advantage. If you put the sun directly behind and then you adjust your exposure on your camera to be really bright, you can get a nice haloed effect around a subject.

So using the light to your advantage is definitely something you can do. But if you're just getting into it and you're just starting to sort of get your head around photography, just definitely making sure that the lighting of the subject is coming straight on and everything is lit nicely, you're not throwing a shadow, definitely will help.

So I hope these three tips will help you. Next time you're looking through the viewfinder of your camera, just take into account these little things, and I hope they can help you take some better photos.


Meet Brett Habener
Daiwa Digital and Creative Manager 

One of three Queenslanders in the Daiwa Australia Marketing Team Brett brings to the team extensive retail, wholesaler, digital and content creation experience. Our most experienced in-house videographer, editor, and graphic designer, Brett is a high skilled angler, having spent years fishing remote, high class fishing destinations. 


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