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Bruce Condello's Photo Technique Revealed!

This news flash just in!

Bruce Condello holds his fish out in front of him for photos! Now I know this may come as a shock to many of you, but my secret is finally out. :-)


If you would like to know some of the secrets to this technique, read on! \:D

Rule #1. Catch a big fish. No matter how hard you try, you're not going to make a 9 inch bluegill look like a 12 inch bluegill, nor will you be able to make a 15 inch bass look like a 22 incher. There are certain morphological characteristics that are highly distinguishable between small and large fish. Using good photographic technique you can make a small fish appear medium. You can make a medium fish appear large, and you can make a large fish appear even larger! But there are limitations to what you can do and maintain a modest plausibility factor.

Rule #2. Get the photographer close to the subject. Close to the fish AND close to the human subject. You don't want to be so close that the camera can't focus down, but if you're too far away, the photo will lose impact. Look at the following three photos.

In this photo, the subject is too far away. It is difficult to identify any characteristics of the fish, and the background is too predominant.

This photo is about right. Both subjects are in clear focus. I am holding the fish about half way to full extension of arms.

In this photo, the photographer has gotten too close. Plausibility is lost, and you lose perspective on location of human subject in three dimensions. The human subject begins to lose focus. In this photo I am holding the fish out to full extension. This is not a pleasing photo.


Rule #3. As hinted before, do not hold the fish at full extension. This tends to ruin the plausibility factor, and makes it much more difficult to maintain a focus on both fish and human subject. Here are a couple of examples.

Here's a spotted sucker being held with no extension.



Here's the same spotted sucker being held at full extension. As you can see, when the fish is held out at full arm extension, focus is lost in either the fish or human subject, both of which greatly diiminish the impact of the photo.





Rule #4. Hide your hands. I purposely took some photos to demonstrate this problem. Bob had asked me last week to do an article in Pond Boss magazine on this, but the situation lead me to believe that I needed to do something on the forum.

Look at this photo. My hand is not obscured, thereby giving the viewer an additional near perspective. which diminshes the impact of the photo.





But look at this next photo. My hand is hidden behind the fish, and this photo, which was taken with Dr. Jim Morgan becomes much more impactful. Keep in mind. We are not lying about the size of the fish. This is not photoshop. This is simply using techniques to emphasize what is already an incredible fish.



Rule #5. Take some photos of the same fish with full perspective. I tried taking the same fish shown above using a quarter laid on the fish to give some accurate and reproducible perspective. (No this is NOT a dime)



With ruler (sorry, but I couldn't focus down on the numbers on the tape while still getting the fish's head in the shot.



Boga grip.



..And I thought you might enjoy this one the most. It's our esteemed Bob Lusk taking a photo of me during a "Condello technique" pose.



And the same two fish "displayed" for possible publication in In-Fisherman magazine.



Learn some of these techniques yourself and let's see how they turn out!

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Comment by Slip Sinker on May 10, 2015 at 1:52pm

First time catching this... yes a great presentation. i told myself this is the year to set up something mounted in the boat to help with the photography. since i fish alone most of the time it becomes very difficult to depend on the self photography and also be concerned for the health of the fish at the same time. the photo session in all cases should be quick or have a healthy live well at your disposal. Ive worked out a live well with a powered water refresh and air supply now its getting the camera straight. thanks for sharing!

Comment by Greg McWilliams on April 20, 2013 at 6:53pm

STILL a GREAT READ!!!!!!!! 

Comment by Leo Nguyen on April 19, 2013 at 7:28pm

I don't know Bruce. The way those gills are bending the rods and your fingers, no need to use a Condello's pose. Rather, get a weight crane and a meter stick.

Comment by Bruce Condello on April 19, 2013 at 7:09pm

The secret is twofold

 

Find a body of water that has big gills in it.

 

Then sort through as many fish as possible to get to the big ones.  Get good at catching them.  Lots of them.

Comment by carl hendrix on April 19, 2013 at 5:42pm

hahahahahah this was to good bruce!!  still awesome fish any way you want to look at it!!  so what IS the big secret to catching BIG GILLS!!!!

Comment by Copperhead John on July 6, 2010 at 12:17pm
Thanks, Bruce!
Comment by Bruce Condello on July 3, 2010 at 6:42pm
Well said! I couldn't agree more!
Comment by Copperhead John on July 3, 2010 at 6:22pm
Bruce, you are making this way too personal. I never said that you yourself were trying to fool somebody or were a pinhead ; I inartfully tried to say that your head appeared too small and stretched in the picture where the fish looks as big as your upper chest; and I paid you a compliment about one of the pictures! We both know that if you take a wide angle lens meant for scenics and hold it vertically, it will distort both the bottom and top of the picture. The closer the camera, the worse the effect. We are saying the same thing but respectfully disagree on what constitutes a "proper" fish picture - that's all.
Comment by Bruce Condello on July 3, 2010 at 10:36am
I think that the only part that I was sensitive to, was the suggestion that I'm trying to fool somebody. I think if you re-read the piece you'd see that there is no attempt at deception...anything but.

I'm a biologist, so I take my fish measurements seriously. But if a person wants to write for any contemporary fishing magazines there is a mandate now to have very dramatic photos. My only hope by writing this was to make sure that everybody knows exactly what I'm doing, and how I'm doing it.

If somebody on this site takes a photo of a one pound bluegill, and the photo makes it look like it's two pounds, I'm entirely OK with that, but for the sake of accuracy it's nice to know the real weight of the fish. But what DOES bother me is when somebody takes a photo of a two pound fish, and the picture makes it look like it's 12-ounces. It's sometimes a little bit of a bummer for the person who caught the fish to catch such a rare prize but not get to puff their chest out a little bit. That's part of the fun! :-)

Of course that's just my opinion. I really respect people's feelings about how they want to get photographic evidence. I think there's room for everybody on this site to do things their own way.
Comment by Copperhead John on July 3, 2010 at 6:45am
Hey you guys - chill out! I was just trying to make a point. I don't think you are a pinhead but when the bluegill is as big as your chest, it stretches the bounds of reality and makes your head look a little small for your body - that's all. We all do this to some extent because we are proud of our catch. Just look at my profile on this site - I am as guilty as anyone. No offense intended - I may be "agitated" about this but you got to wonder are you a bit "sensitive" on this issue? If the whole thing was a parody, I apoligize - getting older and not quite as sharp as I once thought I was!

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