Tips for Great Outdoor Photography

Outdoor photography can mean more than simply snapping a few pics with your phone and throwing them on your social media page. A photo can capture a moment in time, a moment that we can savor and share with friends and family for years.  Today’s digital cameras have made it possible for just about anyone to take high-quality photos. But the technology of a good camera is not enough for truly great photographs. The key to taking outstanding photographs is the detail of composition like lighting, angle of the shot, pose of the subjects, and the background. For the outdoorsmen, here are few techniques that will not only help your fish or game look bigger and better, but they will increase the overall quality of your photographs.

- When taking photos of fish, always hold the fish out towards the camera away from your body. By doing this, your object of reference, the subjects head and body, is now much smaller thus making the fish look bigger. Another tip is to change the angle of the shot by elevating yourself (and fish) above the camera. You can do this by standing up on the bow of the boat, or have the photographer kneel down. This also has the same effect, making your fish look much bigger. Also, use the flash on sunny days, especially if the sun is high and your subject is wearing a hat. This will eliminate dark shadows.
- The primary focus is usually on the subject, so it’s very easy to not notice the background. Be mindful of the background and surroundings, make sure there are no gut piles or garbage lying on the ground. Also make sure there are no branches or fishing poles “growing” out of your subject’s head.
- For big game, try and reduce the gore factor. Wipe away any excess blood, and put the animals tongue back in its mouth if it’s hanging out.
- If possible, take pictures of fish immediately after they are caught.  They quickly lose their natural colors after being placed in a livewell or cooler. And it’s very difficult to make a dead curled fish look good, no matter how good you are.
- Don’t take just one shot. Take a bunch and from different angles. With digital cameras, you can simply delete the bad shots. With more shots to choose from, you should get one keeper.
- Move the subject off center, especially if the background is impressive. Center and focus on the subject first (on most cameras, push the button half way down), then move the camera to the right or left and take the shot (push all the way down).
- Have your subject try different poses and change your angle and direction of shot. Take some candid shots of your subject when they are not looking at the camera. It’s a nice change from the standard “trophy pose”.
- Be mindful of the light. Don’t face directly into the sun so your subject is squinting or their eyes are closed. By having your subject face the camera with their back to the sun, you can create a more dramatic effect with a backlit subject. Again, use the flash to eliminate shadows.

For more photos and some advanced techniques, visit www.danstefoutdoors.com.

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