Do you love big bluegill?
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!
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.
..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!