Tuesday, May 13, 2014

How to Photograph Your Catch: Part II

For this second installment of outdoor photography tips my fishing buddy and professional photography instructor Russel Lowe will talk about the settings on your camera. The pictures Russ submitted were all taken on the Wolf River in Freemont, Wisconsin.
P1010563                Because I teach photography, I'm often asked what camera I bring when I go fishing.  I like using a camera with manual controls or one with at least Aperture Priority mode, when I go fishing.

          While I normally use DSLR cameras for most of the photography I do, bringing one on a fishing trip doesn't seem practical.  A small camera makes a lot more sense.  Currently, I'm using a Lumix DMC-LX5 for fishing.  This camera is an advanced "hybrid" camera that offers the convenience of a "point and shoot" sized camera with the features of a DSLR camera for controls.

"Auto" mode is perhaps the most easiest, but not always the right mode to use.  Having some control over the camera and lighting makes a world of difference in the exposure.  For instance, look at the photo with the silhouette of the angler.  Auto mode would not have given me the ability to get the dramatic look to this image.


For many, Aperture Priority mode is the best mode for them.  You pick the ISO (the sensitivity of the image sensor to light) and also the Aperture (to help select your depth of field).  The camera will pick the corresponding shutter speed to match up a good exposure for you.  Depth of field is the distance between the nearest and farthest objects in a scene that appear acceptably sharp in an image.  The larger the aperture number, the smaller the aperture, which gives more depth of field.  The smaller the aperture number, the bigger the aperture, which gives a shallower depth of field (less things in focus in front and behind the main subject being focused upon.)


Full Manual exposure settings is perhaps the most difficult for many photographers.  Three controls help set up your exposures... ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture.  To use this mode, pick the ISO first, then pick either the shutter speed or the aperture next (depending if movement is an issue or if depth of field is the issue).  Then, using your camera's built-in light meter, choose the final control that's left over.  In other words, if you want to control your depth of field, choose the ISO first (lower number for brighter sunlight), pick the aperture, and then look at your meter and move the shutter speed until the meter moves to the middle (0 EV) mark.  You should have a good exposure if you do this!

Creative control of your images make for more interesting images.  If you are in the Chicago area and need help with figuring out a DSLR camera or advanced hybrid camera, come take one of my photography classes!  Check out my website at www.balancedexposure.com


Russ has been a professional photographer since 1990 and a court-qualified expert in Forensic Photography and Audio since 1992. I know how good he is because he shot my wedding. 

More photography tips to come,


Check out the other tips here:

Image Composition and Best Practices for the Outdoor Photographer.


  1. Russ and I used to work in the same building, but never met. Ha

    I've been getting away with a Fuji Film XP series camera, and a GoPro. I don't mess with the settings all that much, but rather the angles that I take a picture. I found I can change the lighting of the shot if I have the camera in a certain position.

    This is all great advice though, I will have to look into my setting a little more in depth. Thanks!

  2. What a small world. You are 100% right about adjusting the angle to get a better shot. In the kayak I often have to spin around to get the sun off my back for a shot. It can be frustrating at times. The nice thing about understanding the camera settings better is in low light you can get way better shots if you know how to adjust for it. The whole point of this series is to get people to take a break from the norm and slowly try more advanced things with their cameras and eventually computers to get some memorable shots.

    1. Very small world, indeed! I take not meeting him back, though. We did meet briefly one day. Low light is definitely a time when knowing how to adjust settings is key. I have a "low light" setting on my phone :) it does me well. haha

      I appreciate the series and look forward to reading more of them. I love photography. I'm a visual person, and can look and take pictures all day. I often take multiple pictures of the same thing, just to be sure I get one that is clear and crisp.


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