Better fishing pictures: Go low

Published Mar 20th 2006

More ways to improve your fishing photos. This time about getting down to the level of your subject, kneeling, getting close to the water, getting a great perspective.


Ordinary - Taking an image of a kneeling person like this leads to a somewhat boring image. Always be at least as low as your subject unless you intentionally want a bird\'s perspective.
Ambience - By bringing the camera really low and close the photographer managed to get this marvellous shot, which shows the fish, the angler and the landscape and sky -- and all very well.
One of the most common errors I see when I see people taking pictures is that they will be looking down on their subject.
An angler just caught a nice fish and landed it. It's about to be released and the lucky - or skillfiul - guy kneels on the bank. The photographer hovers over the angler and the fish and gets a picture of a couple of shoulders, a cap with a bill that shadows the face and some bank and maybe a bit of water.
What's missing?
How about a face?
What did the fish look like?
Where's the horizon?
How did the place look?

By kneeling down next to the angler you get all this and more.

  • If you are photographing a standing person, bend your knees to get just a bit lower.
  • If you are photographing a kneeling person, kneel and bend even further down.
  • If you are photographing a person lying down, your camera needs to be on the ground.

Not always flattering - Sure, you sometimes look a little stupid.
Not always flattering

The result

Always take some pictures where the camera is lower than your subject.

Camera low - Digital cameras with flip-out LCD\'s offer a perfect opportunity of seeing what you get when you hold it as low as this.
Camera low
If you really want to get down, you want to use an angle finder or a camera, where the display can be tilted. That allows you to keep the camera so low that you actually cannot look into it, but using an angler viewer or finder you can still see what's happening.

But remeber to be careful with your low photos, particularly if you use a wide angle lens. The perspective can sometimes become too distorted and result in bodies and faces, which look odd.

The opposite is the case with telephoto lenses. The low stance will almost always give a great perspective to the image. By getting the horizon low and isolating the subject against the sky or background you can get a lot of ambience into your image.

Along the ground - This image was taken with the camera on a tripod, but almost on the ground.
Along the ground
Free of the horizon - By keeping the camera low, you get the horizon low and isolate people\'s profile against the sky rather than having it cut by a line traversing the center of their body.
Free of the horizon
Low and close - By being level with this reel laying on the ground, the landscape in the background was caught in the picture too.
Low and close
Low perspective - Most anglers will like the way a fish grows when the camera is low and close.
Low perspective
Low with forground - The camera\'s proximity to the water gives this fish a leading role in the picture.
Low with forground
The face - By having a line from the fish to the face a great tension was built into this image. That was obtained by holding the camera lower than the fish\' head
The face

You can visit, which has much more on photography.

A series
These are all the articles in our series about better fly fishing photography. Read this series and you will learn a lot ebout getting better pictures while fishing. General outdoors pohotographers may also pick up a thing or two...
Better fly-fishing pictures

User comments
From: mike Michaelis · Ojm999·at·  Link
Submitted March 8th 2012

wish that lucky guy was me!!

Want to comment this page? Fill out the form below.
Only comments
in English
are accepted!

Comentarios en Ingles
solamente, por favor!

Your name Your email
Anonymize my information. Name and email will not be shown with comment.
Notify me on new comments to this article on the above email-address.
You don't have to comment to start or stop notifications.

All comments will be screened by the GFF staff before publication.
No HTML, images, ads or links, please - we do not publish such comments...
And only English language comments will be published.
Name and email is optional but recommended.
The email will be shown in a disguised form in the final comment to protect you against spam
You can see other public comments on this page