Have you ever looked through the fishing photo album of your angling friends? Some albums are full of photos that just leap off the page at you. Bright, clear images of sparkling water and nice fish. Other albums have you pushing your nose against the page, “so that’s a 25-pound pike, huh?” you say. “You sure that ain’t a hunk of driftwood you’re holding. And what’s that big black blob behind you? Oh, that’s your guide.” Chances are you have a photo album that fits one of these categories, or more likely, something in between. Allow me to give you a few pointers that will improve the look of your album, help you better cherish the memories, and make my life as magazine editor a little easier, should you decide to send some of your photos in to this publication.
Surprisingly, the quality of photos taken by anglers really doesn’t have that much to do with how much they spend on camera equipment. It has a lot more to do with how much they understand about what makes a good photo, and how much time they are willing to take to get it right.
Muskie anglers, more than anyone, are in a hurry. We want to get that fish back in the water and on its way in good shape. Taking the time to get a few good photos does not mean you have to decrease the fish’s chance of survival. It just means you must plan ahead a little.
Choose the Right Film
Film of 100 ISO, especially Fuji film, makes for great pictures. On overcast days, you’ll need to use a flash with this film. But I use a flash in virtually all my outdoor photos anyway for reasons I’ll explain later. Fuji film has a reputation for producing excellent greens and blues. Kodak and other films seem to “pop” other colors well. Most magazine editors would prefer you use Fuji for color prints, and I’m sure you’ll agree after trying it that for outdoor pictures, especially those with trees, sky and water, Fuji is tops.
We cannot use slide film for the interior of this magazine, but if you like to take slides, consider Kodachrome 64, Fuji Velvia or Fuji Sensia. Any of these will take fantastic photos for magazine covers or enlargement as long as the other factors (composition and lighting) are taken into consideration. I have in the past shot a lot of support photos for my articles in color magazines, and I have gone almost exclusively to Velvia, which has an ISO of 25. Sharp, clear, brilliant slide photos are the result. It takes a little work to make sure you get enough light, but it’s worth the effort. I would love to see slides taken with these films for MUSKIE magazine covers.
In the past, black and white magazines like this one preferred only B&W photos. But that’s no longer the case since we’re not shooting halftones of these photos anymore. Today’s scanners can take a color photo and make it look great in B&W. Take your photos in color, they’ll look great in your album, and they’ll be fine for publication, too.
Choose the Right Camera
Auto focus allows you to take pictures quickly. When you have that big fish in the boat, you are in a hurry to get it back in the water, plus your buddy is saying, “Hurry up this thing’s HEAVY!”
With a zoom lens, you can zoom in on your subject, eliminating background clutter. You’re basically cropping the photo as you take it. A photo with the subject in focus and everything else out of focus is a nice touch. This can be done with the zoom lens.
A fill flash allows you to brighten the subject on dark days and fills in the heavy shadows on bright, clear days. The fill flash feature brightens up that dark shadow caused by the bill of your subject’s cap. Additionally, the flash saves you time. Don’t worry about turning the boat all the way around to get the sun on the subjects face. If your subject is backlit, no problem, (see this month’s cover) the flash will give you the light you need to take the photo without wasting valuable time getting in position.
Choose the Right Composition
An angler in the boat can be getting ready to set up the photo while the fish is being played. Get the clutter out of the way, get the camera ready, choose where you will have the subject stand and where you will stand. You may want to squat or sit down and get the boat entirely out of the photo. This can make for a nice photo angle.
Take a moment to get the best shot possible. Remember that this moment will never be relived so make the most of it by taking excellent photos. Hope to see you on the cover! SIDEBARS: Holding Your Fish for a Photo We publish photos only of fish that are well supported along the length of their body. If you feel like the backbone of the fish is stretching or the jaw membrane is tearing, then support the fish better. Generally, this means holding the fish in a horizontal position with two hands or cradling it in your arms. We do not publish photos that depict people holding fish only by the gill plate or fish hung on a hook. You could be in pictures!
Cover Photo Guidelines
Subject should be wearing
fairly clean clothes and a shirt. Avoid shirts with vulgar slogans (coed
naked, etc.). Turn off the time/date feature in the camera. We accept color
prints 3.5”x5” or larger, or slides for cover use. Film should be 100 speed
or faster, Kodachrome 64, Velvia 25, or Sensia 100 are good choices for
color slides. Fujicolor 100 is the best choice for prints. Follow all the
guidelines in the accompanying article, plus leave room above the subject’s
head for the magazine masthead. Cover photos must be well lit and in sharp
focus. We have a contest for cover photos, you can win a free fishing trip
to Ludlow's Island Resort if you are a Muskies, Inc Member See the magazine
for more details.