The previous article discussed how to take the first steps write for a fishing magazine. It covered types of articles that can be written, researching a magazine's preference and expectations for articles and how to approach an editor with an idea for a story. On writing itself suggestions were offered for developing the structure of an article, recreating the excitement of a fishing experience and techniques to help proof read the article for errors and consistency.
This is the second part of producing a good article - the photos. Before getting started two clarifications are needed though. Firstly, this information relates to general, simple, advice on taking fishing-related photographs. It's not about the technicalities or science of photography. Secondly, the information applies not just to people looking at submitting articles but can provide tips to improving people's overall fishing photography.
While writing skills are certainly an important part of the article equation they need to be matched with the ability to take good quality photos otherwise the chance of an article being accepted is drastically reduced. While some magazines have different standards for the type and style of photograph they will accept there is still a minimum requirement they won't go below and this is therefore the least of what you should aim for.
The first thing to note is that you don't need a Steve Parish bazooka-like single lens reflex camera (SLR) or digital SLR (DSLR) camera to do the job. This type of camera does bring a lot of benefits with it such as rapid-fire photograph rates, the range of lenses that can be fitted and the overall quality of photos taken. But an 8 mega pixel or greater point-and-shoot camera that is used correctly will still suffice in most situations.
Being familiar with a camera and its functions is something that will prove its value no end when out fishing. Knowing how to quickly turn the flash on, turn it off, find the macro setting, preview the photo just taken and replace the battery might seem like trivial things but if the bite is hot or the fish needs to be returned to the water promptly these aren't the things you want to be playing around with. Remember you don't always have your own camera either so a familiarisation session en-route may be required.
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Two basic camera features which can add a lot to your photographs are the flash and macro functions. The flash will often lighten a photo and can reduce the effect of both shadows and bright sunlight giving you a more balanced photo. With digital cameras and the limitless number of photos that can be taken (depending on the size of the memory card) try taking some with and some without. Remember the flash can reflect off the scales of a fish depending on the species so the fish may need to be angled appropriately in order to deflect the reflection away from the camera.
The macro function allows for close-up photos to be taken and it's usually symbolised by a small flower icon on the camera buttons. This can be a good feature for creative photography where you might focus on the colours of a fish or the lure in its mouth, something more imaginative than a 'hold-the-fish-in-front-of-you-and-smile' photo. Wrasse, blue-lined emperor, dolphinfish and rankin cod to name a few species all have magnificent colours and offer the opportunity to experiment with this feature.
When it comes to taking the actual photo there are a number of things to keep in mind, some are essential for publication and some practical ways to make sure you get better photos.
Firstly, try to make sure there is no blood in the photo. This may require washing the fish prior to taking the shot or wiping down the affected area. Some editors will let through small amounts of blood but in general keeping it out is the best policy to work towards. It also pays to avoid kill shots. While it's always great to bag a nice number of fish, seeing them all lined up on the cleaning table is not the message most magazines are trying to promote so those photographs are best left for the personal collection or memories.
Another message magazines like to promote, and one all anglers should be trying to practice anyway, is appropriate fishing handling techniques. Remember this when deciding how to hold the fish and avoid putting fingers into the eyes, a hand into the gills or throat or stretching a fish out by its tail to name a few of the more common mistakes.
It is also beneficial to give some thought to creative ways to photograph a fish before you head out. Objectively browsing magazines or websites for ideas to use, and then bringing that variety and artistry to your photos, will really make your article stand out from the rest.
Part One of this article was written for Seabreeze courtesy of Lemax jig rods - click here for more information.