PHOTOSHOP TIPS FOR MAGAZINE-QUALITY FISHING PHOTOS
It is no coincidence that when I take a fishing photo, it looks nothing like the magazines. It’s not because I’m catching smaller fish, or taking bad photos. It is just that the photos in magazines are tweaked and modified to maximise their impact to the viewers.
You don’t need a comprehensive understanding of photoshop to give your photos a boost and make them look more like the magazines. But a basic knowledge of a few photoshop secrets will let you enhance your fishing photos and give them some extra life.
ADJUSTING THE BRIGHTNESS AND COLOUR
Giving your photos a bit more light and colour is the easiest way to improve their quality. To do this, use the levels tool. You can option up the levels tool and click auto if you want photoshop to automatically enhance your photo. If you are feeling more creative yourself, open the tool and manually adjust the sliders. The right slider controls the brightness and white point, while the left controls the back point, and the middle colour tones. Play around with these until you have a bright and vibrant picture that best exposes the deep colours of many of our fish species.
INCREASE THE SATURATION OF THE BACKGROUND
Selecting just the background and adding a soft focus will ensure the viewer’s eyes are naturally drawn to the fish in the foreground. You can achieve this by selecting the background, duplicating the layer and applying the Gaussian Blur filter.
A well-saturated background will also create more vibrancy. Again, select the background and select adjust Hue/Saturation. You can drag the slider to get the desired effect.
LIGHTEN SHADOWY AREAS
Fishing photos are often taken around structure, and if they aren’t then fishos are usually wearing hats which cast shadows over their faces and the fish and cause underexposure. In the adjustments tab, there is a Shadows/Highlights section. Use the slider to reduce underexposure due to shadowing. This is also particularly effective in photos taken at dusk or dawn (basically prime fishing time). You should also find this useful for bringing out the detail in the fish’s scales when the sun is glaring off them.
DARKEN THE BOAT OR ANY IRRELEVANT OBJECTS IN THE FOREGROUND
If you have a boat or structure in the foreground which is bright white, you might want to darken it. Much fishing is done offshore, and the boat is bright white. To avoid this drawing the viewer’s attention, I select the boat sides and floor in the image and use the burn tool to darken it.
REMOVE BUBBLES FROM THE WATER AND BLEMISHES ON THE FISH
In most fishing mags, you would think that every fish these anglers are taking are in their prime, with no marks, blemishes or abrasions. They are like supermodel fish.
The truth is, they use the cloning tool to remove blemishes in the water and on the fish. Simply select the clone stamp tool then select the brush size and diameter by right-clicking anywhere on the image. Hold down Alt and left click the area you want to clone – the spotless area. Make this the area closest to the blemish as possible. Then left click, and drag the mouse over the blemish. It should vanish and be replaced by the same colour you just cloned. Now you too have been catching supermodel fish.
SHARPEN THE FISH
Using the Unsharp Mask tool on just the fish will put your prize in perfect focus and give it as much clarity as possible. Select just the fish, this can be tricky, as many fish have transparent parts which play havoc with the auto select tools. Then duplicate the layer and sharpen the image with the filters > sharpen > unsharp mask menu. It should give more clarity but be careful of oversharpening as this could dull the colours. Some experimentation with the slider should help you find a happy medium.
Give yourself magazine-ready photos with these quick and easy editing techniques. There is no need to over edit and give your photos an unnatural look, but applying some simple editing tricks to your photos will seriously enhance your catch photos.
Do you have anything to add to this article? Do you have any tips for using Photoshop to edit fishing photos? Let us know in the comments section below.