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Photographing Your Catch

by Jim Martinsen

Not that long ago a leading digital photography magazine conducted a survey and discovered while Americans were buying digital cameras with more megapixels, most of the people surveyed did not know how to get the pictures from the camera to their computer. When the camera's memory card was full, they simply bought another memory card.

Let's assume you have read the manual that came with your camera. You don't need to wade through every page and grasp every detail, but you MUST  know how to set your camera's resolution. If you can't understand what the manual is telling you, try an Internet search for "camera resolution."

id-407-1 id-407-2
Picture taken with the camera set at the highest
 jpeg resolution then reduced for the web.
Same picture taken with the camera set at the
lowest jpeg resolution then enlarged for print.

Digital camera images are made-up of tiny colorful squares known as pixels. Every picture you take has millions of pixels. One megapixel is one-million pixels. The more pixels an image has, the higher the resolution. Large prints can be made from high resolution images. Keep this in mind as you set the resolution of your camera. Use the highest resolution JPEG option your camera offers and you should still be able to get a lot of images on your card. Simply put, a JPEG image is a compressed image. The picture information is squeezed to a smaller size before it's stored on your memory card. Typically, a camera will offer several JPEG settings. Again, use the highest JPEG setting your camera offers. Why?

  • A 4 megapixel camera set at 2240x1680 resolution will give you a photo quality 8x10 print. It would be hard to buy a digital camera today with less than 4 megapixels.
  • Too many people only look at how many images they can store on their card and always set the resolution to allow the greatest number of pictures. This is a BIG mistake. You may be happy with your pictures until you catch that fish of a lifetime, and you capture it on your low resolution setting. You will not be happy if you want an 8x10 print, or you want the picture published in a fishing magazine.
  • Keep your camera set on the highest JPEG resolution it offers and invest in a few additional memory cards.
  • Digital pictures can easily be reduced for e-mailing.
  • Digital pictures should not be enlarged.

Also, keep in mind your computer monitor cannot use picture resolution higher than 96 ppi (pixels per inch). A photo suitable for magazine reproduction must be a minimum of 300 dpi (dots per inch). Just because it looks good on your computer screen does not mean it is going to print well. Computer monitors and print-on-paper are two entirely different technologies. It's apples and oranges - OK!

So. . .
High resolution image = GOOD
Low resolution image = BAD

Taking the Picture...

  1. Shoot at the highest resolution possible. 
  2.  Whenever possible photograph, then release  your catch.
  3.  Rinse any blood off the fish.
  4.  Take the picture on the water, not in the  kitchen. 
  5.  Compose your picture in the viewfinder.
  6.  Crop tightly, no one cares what shoes the angler
     is wearing.
  7.  Concentrate on the fish and the face of the  angler.
  8.  Make sure the bill of the cap is not casting a  heavy shadow over the angler's eyes.
  9.  Use fill flash.
  10.  Nix the sunglasses.

Oh yes, you do know how to get your pictures from your camera to your computer, right?!

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