Focus on What’s Important
Most phones automatically recognize and focus on faces, so if you want the fish to take center stage, it’s up to you to tap on the screen to tell your phone where to focus. This is particularly important when you are long-arming your catch to make it appear bigger!
Expose Your Subject
Tapping on the screen also sets the exposure—how bright or dark the image is. If you are photographing a fisherman with a bright blue sky and ocean in the background, prioritize the angler’s catch to prevent it from turning into a silhouette. On an iPhone, you can also drag the brightness symbol next to the focus square upward to make the picture brighter, or downward to make it darker.
Steady hands improve your photos by reducing blur. A smartphone camera compensates for low light with longer exposures, making holding your phone steady especially important at dusk and dawn. Optical image stabilization, a feature on most new phones, will help. You can also reduce camera shake by holding your phone in two hands and pinning your elbows against your body, leaning against a stable platform (like a T-top), and letting out a slow, steady breath as you gently tap the shutter button.
Share your photos! Use hashtag #OnTheWaterMagazine on Instagram to get your photo posted in our online fishing reports.
Take shots in HDR
If your phone can take HDR (high dynamic range) shots, turn that feature on. HDR mixes together three different exposures of a scene so that you still see detail in very bright and very dark areas. In tricky situations, such as bright overhead sunlight, it can preserve detail in the shadows.
Use Portrait Mode
Available on newer Android and iPhones, portrait mode applies an artsy depth effect to your photos, putting the subject in focus and blurring the background: a sought-after effect known in photographic circles as bokeh. The result is an image with fewer background distractions and a cinematic look.
Edit Your Editing
Take advantage of your phone’s editing features for quick fixes like straightening the horizon, brightening a dark image, and cropping out distractions. However, don’t get carried away with sharpening and filter effects or you could end up with an over-processed photo that just looks silly.