How do I make these snapshots look better?

beachrat

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$DSC_0004.JPGYes.I said snapshots.I'm no photographer,but I want to improve these photos.
The subjects are fish and guys that caught them who won't stand still for more than maybe 60 seconds.
There is absolutely no time to set up a shot with lights or off camera flash and no real posing.
All of what I do looks completely flat and I want to improve them in any way possible.
These pics go into fishing websites and weekly magazines and I really want to get them right just so I don't look like a douchebag.
This one in particular was taken at dawn in a very thick fog.
What could I have done to make it better?
 

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A lot depends on your equipment and skill. Some things that don't: The background. Find a less busy, less distracting background and use a longer lens and larger aperture to produce less depth of field and render it more softly focused. Crack a joke; get the guys to smile. The biggest thing though is to get some more light in there; if you own a speedlight, then for <$50 you can buy an off-brand TTL cord, hold the flash in one hand, up and out, and the camera in the other; this will really help things to look better. Putting some sort of diffuser (there are lots of small, inexpensive soft-box style you can buy) on your speedlight will help a lot too. Also don't shoot from below; if anything shoot from slightly above. Hope that helps.
 

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I would try and position the fishermen on a specific spot, so that the ______Tackle, Montauk sign is visible. We have a magazine here called Fishing & Hunting News. It's nation-wide actually.I used to read it every issue, for years. They have some photography guidelines available.

Anyway, nice striper! I would have wiped the sand off of its gill covers, and used a tiny bit of fill-flash on-camera to get some more eye sparkle and better color. One really good tip is to take a can of clear soda pop, like Sprite or 7-Up, or lemon-lime soda, and pour some on the fish and rub it along the length of the fish. This takes a dead fish that's been in the fishbox for hours and sort of rejuvinates the slime and makes the fish look fresh-killed, not hours dead and into rigor mortis.

For early AM + thick fog, this looks okay. But I would try and figure out a specific spot where you can get the fish, the fisherman, and the tackle shop sign into the shots in the upper left corner of the frame, and eliminate the phone pole, and so on. The exact spot will vary, depending on the lens length, and is pretty critical. In some ways, these shots are an advertisement for the tackle shop or marina or whatever, so...work the sign in!

I see this was shot with a D70 camera, flash, and at 18mm focal length. On the D70, try either the Vivivd setting, or the Direct Print setting, on Fine Compression JPEG setting. Both give a nice, punchy color setting, and apply some in-camer sharpening. Using the 18mm length makes a fish held out look bigger...but, it also includes a LOT of background behind the people. SO, maybe use a bit longer lens length setting, like say 24mm, and stand just a bit farther back.

f/4.5 at 1/160 seems like a good exposure in the fog with flash.
 
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beachrat

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The idea is to get the sign in there tireiron.
Part of the advertising of my shop,so shortening the depth of field kills the purpose.
I'd like to get a clear shot of the guy and the fish,(and my sign)but again,these guys do NOT want to pose.
It's torture just to get them to even admit that they caught the fish,so getting a picture is like pulling teeth.

I do have a pair of SB 80 dx flashes and a bunch of modified vivitar 283's so I could light anything that I want if i had the time.
In fact,i'm pretty sure I fired an 80dx in that shot,but it just doesn't look like anything good.
It's tough for a guy like me who isn't even an amateur to capture a good shot without setting it up.
What would you have done in that situation?
Ya got 60 secs.
Talk to me man!!
 

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Maybe try to sweeten the deal by offering them a free or highly discounted print of them with their fish - printing services are not too expensive if you go through a good printing company and even if you just charge them the production cost you still make out ahead in the end since you get the photos to advertise with.

If they are showing off their fish for a photo for them they might be far more willing to pose for a little longer and smile too
 
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beachrat

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Thanks Derrel.
Although it's a very typical shot of what I do,I purposefully left my sign blocked so nobody thought I was whoring myself.
I was afraid of hitting it with too much flash because I didn't want it to look too fake or shiny and at the same time didn't want everything else to look underexposed.
I realize it takes tons of practice and thanks to you guys I have something to get going with.
The weather conditions out here change rapidly and I want to be prepared to wing it quick.
As I said,these guys do not want to pose or hang around.
But *I* want the freaking pics for the business!!!!
 

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It looks like you were shooting at belt-buckle height so the legs look extended. Get up higher so the fish and the person looks normal. Who gives a crap about his legs.
To get better exposure, get the sky out of the shot. As much as possible fill the image with what is important.
This shot needs sharpening and brightening.
$DSC_0004ll.jpg
 
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beachrat

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I sometimes have to beg to get them to get their pictures taken overread.
Again,it's all for my benefit not theirs.They don't even want anybody to know that they're catching fish most of the time.
But,they'll throw me a bone occasionally and I'd like to make a nice picture if I can.
And,as I always say,never blame the tackle.Always the fisherman.
I do believe I can make a good picture with my old camera if I learn the basics.
 

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I sometimes have to beg to get them to get their pictures taken overread.
Again,it's all for my benefit not theirs.They don't even want anybody to know that they're catching fish most of the time.
But,they'll throw me a bone occasionally and I'd like to make a nice picture if I can.

Like I said maybe you need to be the one throwing the bone back - a print or copy of the photo for them - heck since its advertising consider it as a full business expense and offer to pay them for their time for the shot. You gain and they gain.

Must admit I'm bemused a bit as to why fishermen don't want to show off their fish - most hunters* that I know of are only too eager to show off their prizes unless its an illegal prize.



* who hunt for sport/hobby
 
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beachrat

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Haha. Funny you mention the legs traveller.
They were purposefully left there to show the short boots to fool the locals into thinking he was fishing a certain area that he wasn't.
I'm going to take charge of the composition with the next fish and bring this back up for continued criticism if you all don't mind.
I'm really interested in learning and love every minute of it.
 

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So the goal is to get your sign in the shot? You picked this particular pic to show us and I still have no idea what the name of your shop is or (if I weren't at least somewhat aware) where it is even at. If you can, put in a head-high sign that gives them a much more specific place to stand and gives you a better background. Even a vinyl something or other that doesn't cost terribly much. And then you can also shoot from a higher viewpoint so that you don't get the weird distortion.

And I would definitely consider the free print idea. Find a local place to work a deal with for 8x10's. It will cost you a few bucks, but you know that photo will go up at the guy's house or office. And every time they look at that great fish, they will see your new photo-sign right behind them and keep you front-of-mind for their next fishing excursion. And it's free advertising every time they show it to one of their buddies. Cheapest advertising you will pay for.
 
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beachrat

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I see this was shot with a D70 camera, flash, and at 18mm focal length. On the D70, try either the Vivivd setting, or the Direct Print setting, on Fine Compression JPEG setting. Both give a nice, punchy color setting, and apply some in-camer sharpening.

Man,I never thought of that.
That's the next fish shot and I'll post it here.
Thanks man.
 

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You might consider making a very quick, convenient scale + photo + sign spot. I've been to a few marinas that have a small weigh station set up with a large dial scale with the traditional gill-hook on it for weighing salmon, with an overhead wooden sign set between two poles...it's an easy way for a guy to come in with a big salmon or halibut, have it weighed on a good, accurate known scale, and get a picture of the fish, while the marina owners get a shot that shows their signage in every shot. You could make one in an afternoon, and have a vinyl sign done for probably $40-$80.

If you don't want to go that far, maybe just set up a small sign on the front or side of the store, either mounted on an exterior wall, or hung, or even on s weighted tire-and-pole stand.
 
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beachrat

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So the goal is to get your sign in the shot? You picked this particular pic to show us and I still have no idea what the name of your shop is or (if I weren't at least somewhat aware) where it is even at. If you can, put in a head-high sign that gives them a much more specific place to stand and gives you a better background. Even a vinyl something or other that doesn't cost terribly much. And then you can also shoot from a higher viewpoint so that you don't get the weird distortion.

And I would definitely consider the free print idea. Find a local place to work a deal with for 8x10's. It will cost you a few bucks, but you know that photo will go up at the guy's house or office. And every time they look at that great fish, they will see your new photo-sign right behind them and keep you front-of-mind for their next fishing excursion. And it's free advertising every time they show it to one of their buddies. Cheapest advertising you will pay for.

I took an intentional pic that didn't show my name on purpose. I didn't want anyone to think I was promoting my business for free on a photography website as I'm
really looking for some pure info on how to improve what I do with a camera.
If I need prints,I just local to Adorama.
They're right here in New York and do nice work at a decent price.
 
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beachrat

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You might consider making a very quick, convenient scale + photo + sign spot. I've been to a few marinas that have a small weigh station set up with a large dial scale with the traditional gill-hook on it for weighing salmon, with an overhead wooden sign set between two poles...it's an easy way for a guy to come in with a big salmon or halibut, have it weighed on a good, accurate known scale, and get a picture of the fish, while the marina owners get a shot that shows their signage in every shot. You could make one in an afternoon, and have a vinyl sign done for probably $40-$80.

If you don't want to go that far, maybe just set up a small sign on the front or side of the store, either mounted on an exterior wall, or hung, or even on s weighted tire-and-pole stand.

Now,when I get GOOD with a camera,I can swing it!
There's already a 60lb Chatillon hanging in front.
The pics always suck on it though.
I simply need to learn how to make a good photo,
That's why I'm here and taking the advice.
We're just off the full moon so I should have a few opportunities over the next few nights.
Maybe I can even use my own light and take control and let you guys take me even further.
 

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