Photography has become a big part of the fly fishing culture, and we’re fortunate to fish with some pretty incredible photographers at our lodges. We’ve received a few requests in the past for more information on fly fishing photography, so today we thought we’d share a super simple tip to help you take better photos!
If you’ve ever studied photography, there’s a good chance that one of the first principles you learned about photo composition, or the orientation of objects in a photo, was the rule of thirds. It’s a fundamental principle in photography, and regardless of whether you’re using a fancy dlsr, a simple point and shoot, or your cell phone, following the rule of thirds is an easy way to take more balanced and less boring photos. Here’s how it works.
The Rule of Thirds
When composing your photo, imagine the image as being split up in thirds, both vertically and horizontally (shown by black lines in the photo above). As you can see in the photo, the lines intersect at four points. For a well balanced photo, important objects should be arranged on (or near) these intersections, OR along the lines themselves. Doing so allows your eyes to move around the photo much more naturally.
So, in the photo above, the angler was intentionally situated along the right vertical line while casting to a bonefish. Furthermore, his head was positioned within the upper right intersection to emphasize him looking at his target. Also, notice the horizon line is positioned along the bottom horizontal line. In fishing photography, a strong horizon line is often present, and as a general rule its best to place the horizon near the rule of thirds lines as well, not in the middle of the photo.
The rule of thirds is not only for action or miscellaneous fishing shots however. Use it for better hero shots as well! As your buddy is gearing up for a grip and grin (with the fish in the water we hope!), consider things in the photo you want to highlight; the fish’s eye, a brightly colored gill plate, or the angler’s face for example. Place those objects on the rule of thirds intersections for a more interesting photo!