Catching the moment before it swims away.

Showing off your catch is half the fun of fishing. Besides, having photographic evidence also guards against accusations of telling “fish tales”. Here are some simple tips to help you take great fishing photos you’ll treasure for years to come.

Get close

Either move the camera right up to the fish or zoom in and fill the frame. If the angler and fish are little, have them hold the fish close to their face. Most cell phone cameras have a wide-angle lens so getting close will better fill the frame with what’s important.

Use the flash

It’s very hard to go wrong using a flash, even if the sun is shining. This will reduce the harsh shadows and bring out the color and detail of the fish.

Get a good sun angle

Usually not behind your subject or directly in front. Put it 45 degrees off either of your shoulders. Then have the fish’s back (if held vertically) facing the sun. This will reduce the whiteness of the fish’s belly that can be detracting.


Use the rule of thirds. Imagine a tic-tac-toe sketch in your viewfinder or on the back display of your camera. Try to keep the face of your subject outside the middle box. Put your friend’s smile even with the top horizontal line and the fish along the bottom horizontal line if held horizontally. If the fish is held vertically put it even with one of the vertical lines and your buddy on the other matching line. Your photos will always be more interesting.


Have the angler hold the fish away from their body and closer to the camera. Yes, it “embellishes” the size of the fish but it also makes for a more interesting photo.

Have fun

Smile big. High five. Kiss the fish. Do whatever helps capture the joy of this proud moment while treating the fish with care and respect, of course.

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Tips and photos courtesy of Rick Adair, a professional outdoor photographer based in Springfield, Missouri (see more of his work at  All images ©2008 Adair Photography, Inc.