7 Tips for the Perfect #FirstCatch Fishing Photo

By Debbie Hanson

Aug 30, 2015

There's nothing more exciting than watching a new angler reel in a first catch.

There's nothing more exciting than watching a new angler reel in a first catch. Of course, it's also a momentous occasion that must be documented properly. You may only get one chance to capture the perfect #FirstCatch fishing photo, so read through these seven tips to make sure your shots stand out.

  1. Incorporate the use of brightly-colored clothing or tackle. You probably remember getting a reminder about not wearing a white shirt on school picture day. As it turns out, there's a good reason for that. Clothing or fishing tackle with bright colors will "pop" and add a more vibrant look to your shots.

  2. Make sure your camera lens is clean. Check your lens to make sure it's free of saltwater, fingerprints, dust or dirt before snapping photos. It sounds basic, but you'd be surprised how easy it can be to forget. Remember to give your camera or smartphone lens a quick wipe with a cleaning cloth before you shoot.

  3. Use the camera's fill-flash on bright days if your subject is wearing a hat or if there are shadows over the subject's face. The fill-flash will make a big difference in reducing or eliminating any dark shadows in your photos.

  4. Look for and remove distracting objects. This takes a few seconds, but will make a big difference. For example, remove empty water bottles and avoid including obtrusive tree branches or the backs of other anglers. When you can isolate your subject without extra visual clutter, it will improve the composition of your photo.

  5. Learn how to properly hold fish for photos. When taking the perfect #FirstCatch photo, you want to capture more of the fish and less of the angler's fingers or hands. Ask the subject to rest the fish on the tips of their fingers, positioning the thumbs behind the fish if possible. Let the subject know to keep their fingers away from the gills and pectoral, pelvic and anal fins.

  6. Use unexpected angles for interesting shots. Instead of taking the usual straight-on shot, try taking a shot from the top of the poling platform or bridge, and ask your subject or subjects to look up at the camera. Photos taken from different angles tend to be more interesting.

  7. Take multiple shots. People blink and fish wiggle, so try to take multiple shots. You never know which one will come out the best. If you use an iPhone to take photos, you can use the "burst mode" feature in the iPhone’s native camera app. Burst mode will allow you to continuously capture ten photos every second. On a camera, use the multiple shot timer mode. Multiple shots allow for errors as you adjust the angle or your subject's pose.


When making any adjustments to your camera or subjects, use a catch and release net to keep the fish submerged while making adjustments. This way, you can avoid unnecessary stress to the fish by keeping it out of the water for too long. Once you get the perfect fishing photo, don't forget to share it with us on social media using the #FirstCatch hashtag!

Now that you know how to capture your favorite fishing memories on camera, visit our #FirstCatch photo gallery and get inspired by other great #FirstCatch moments!

Photo Credits: Katie Stengler (top photo), Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (bottom photo)

Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit shefishes2.com or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.