Angler's Mail editor Tim Knight advises on how to take better fishing photos - ones that might even make it into the magazine.
THE flow of fishing photos to Angler’s Mail HQ has been massive – mainly attached to emails, also posted on our popular social media channels, and uploaded to our LikeMyCatch gallery… plus an occasional one by snail mail (remember prints?!)
Each day our small, busy crew sift through a fascinating mix.
There are the blurry shots, ones showing fish on the floor, or half the fish or angler chopped off… mostly for transfer to the wastebasket.
Then there are usable pix, the must-use and even some gold dust – pin-sharp options contending for front cover. The eye-catching picture on the front cover you see below was emailed to us along with a short report by an Angler’s Mail reader.
How anglers’ catch pictures get to Angler’s Mail
The images come at us from all directions too, but such volume arrives just for a few weeks as the fishing season has now become so compact (a blog for another day).
The main Angler’s Mail email inbox (email@example.com) is our main source, along with what’s sent to individual staff email accounts and via contributors.
And I mustn’t overlook snail mail – a small handful of envelopes each week come to our postal address via our under-worked postboys (they’ll dispute that!) The days of them straining under full sacks are gone.
But wherever they come from, the pictures vary so much in quality.
Tips for improving your catch photos
So what makes an eye-catching photo likely to make the hallowed pages of AM, or indeed other publications? Here are few elements to consider:
Give me a big grin over a grumpy frown, any day. Ok it might not be ‘carpy’ or what the serious moody looking blokes down your local venues do. Let us share the captor’s joy – not absorb his misery.
2. Eye contact
One famous AM contributor always blinks when a flash fires, but closed eyes in mags are a “no no”. And looking down at a fish, though it has its moments, rarely engages off the page as well as looking at the lens.
Some bloke’s bivvy or a random fence? Or water – where the fish was caught? What would you rather see behind a captor? I think I can guess!
I am sure the messy anglers who submit pix to AM do clear their swims before going home, but changing the angle of shot would mean we don’t get distracted admiring the Pot Noodle, Coke, fag packet, spare jumper, bait boxes, tackle boxes…
Some advanced angling lensmen take a virtual mobile studio to the waterside these days when on feature shoots, but they are pros. Just using your compact camera or mobile phone’s fill-in flash during the day can make all the difference to the result. It’ll help reduce some shadow too, which spoils many a sunny summer snap.
Today’s digital cameras seem idiot-proof, but they clearly are not judging by what we see. It’s tricky to assess by checking what pops up on the back screen of a camera, but have a practice first. Surely it’s better, given the choice, to have the fish in focus and your face a bit out if the focal point is considered.
Dog walkers or random other anglers may be blessed with great eyes but they often get caught up in the moment, especially with a camera they are not familiar with. Tell them to make sure all of your head and all of the fish is in the frame – it’s better to crop the finished shot later on your computer, or let a magazine team sort it!
Angles can make all the difference, and stop all you catch shots looking flat and exactly the same. Some noted anglers, in fact most anglers, develop their stock pose: how they hold a fish and even their own head angle. Dare to be different, for at least one shot in a quick sequence.
9. Think about the fish
Only keep fish out of water for the bare minimum of time. Play safe. Hold them over a wet unhooking mat, or the water itself. Consider dampening them with a splash of water for their own benefit, and it can enhance the picture quality. Be careful where you put your hands to ensure fins cannot get damaged.
10. Send pictures exclusively to Angler’s Mail
Let us see them first, please. If they are already posted or published elsewhere then we are much less likely to use them.
HOW TO SUBMIT YOUR PIX TO ANGLER’S MAIL
The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and include full catch details, including your phone number and address in case we need to contact you or you win a prize from our competition sponsors including Korum, Fox and Daiwa.
If you think the catch won’t get published, or it doesn’t get in the mag (not all can, so don’t be offended) then why not upload it to our likemycatch.com gallery, where people “like” other people’s photos and some also get published in the mag itself. Plus there are prizes from Nash!
Our postal address (though the fact you are reading this online suggests to me you may not need it!) is: Angler’s Mail, Time Inc UK, 9th floor, Blue Fin Building, 110 Southwark Street, London SE1 0SU.
A big thank you to all anglers reading this who have submitted a picture to us. We try to use as many as we can in the magazine, but of course cannot use them all. So if your picture didn’t make it into the mag, better luck next time.