I am always asked, “who took that picture of you?” and my standard response is always, Me. There are no tricks to it; there are just some basics that you learn over time and with practice.
1. Does the camera have a built in timer function? Obviously this is key, but often overlooked. The best camera to have is one that has a dual timer function that will allow you to take multiple photos with the press of one button. On my camera I am able to hit the button three times and this will set the camera for a two-picture timer. One picture is taken in 10sec and another 10sec later. This often helps if the fish moves in the first shot, you will have another opportunity get a better shot without keeping the fish out of the water too long.
2. Does the camera have a wide enough base to set down on a surface, often uneven, without tipping? You don’t want to be carrying around a large tripod with you. If the base of your camera is not large enough you can always get one of the new bendable small tripods on the market today.
3. Is the camera easy to turn on and off with cold and often wet fingers? A knurled dial or a simple large button are some of the easier methods I have found when my hands are cold or wet.
4. Is the camera easy to use? You have to think of the fact that you are not only going to be taking self-portraits, but you may also have people take pictures of you with the fish. In this case you want something that is very self-explanatory so that anybody can use it to take a quality picture. If the process of using your camera is easy you need not be concerned if it is going to come out ok.
There are multiple other functions that a camera can do that I have not listed such as Pixels, screen size, zoom, etc. I really don’t consider those essentials when looking at cameras. The four explained above are key when it comes to capturing a quality photo of your catch.
Now that you have a camera now what do you do? Use it, practice with it, and test it. Use the functions; find out what functions allow for the best photos. Also determine how far you typically must stand, sit, or kneel from the camera to capture your entire body and that of a fish. Keep these techniques in mind and practice so that when you do need to take a timed portrait they become instant.
Other important items to remember when taking any pictures of yourself and your subject: make sure you use a flash in low light and cloudy days. The flash will bring out the colors of your fish much better. Also if at all possible make sure that you use the sunlight to your advantage. Make sure you get the sun to shine on your fish, but not in your eyes. Take off your sunglasses and anything that covers up your face or head so that you can see your expression. Also make sure that you have a spare pair of batteries kept in your camera case or pocket (on cold days) so you don’t miss that photo, and finally, make sure that your memory card has room for extra pictures.
Taking photos of yourself can be very easy and rewarding as you will be able to bring your catch home with you and still release your fish to fight another day. I hope these few tips will allow you to refine your skills as a photographer and allow you the opportunity to capture your experience and keep it for a lifetime.