When it comes to fish photos I'm pretty particular. I like a photo where the fish is the subject and since I usually fish alone its all about making the call, can I get a photo of this fish without risking its survival? Last weekend in the last run of the day I hooked and landed a nice wild buck, around 7 or 8 pounds. Chrome but for a faint blush of pearl and purple on its cheek the fish would've made a great photo subject but I opted not to take it. In the small river where I'd caught it the fish never really had a chance to run a long ways meaning that when it came to hand it wasn't really all that tired. Instead of laying the fish in shallow water for it to flop around while I fumbled for my camera I opted to slip the hook out and release the fish quickly. Winter steelhead are hard to come by, and while I would've loved to have a photo of the fish it just wasn't the right situation. That happens, and besides, the fish is forever etched in my memory.
I see alot of fish photos where the fish is just a tiny splash of white and chrome and the angler is really the subject. It seems like a wasted opportunity since you cant really see the fish very well and save for the blurry lump in the anglers hands the photo ends up looking like any other picture of a dude on a river. Another type of photo that I can't stand are those where the angler is pointing the fish at the camera. They look like shit and you cant see the fish at all. Instead it looks like any other hero shot but significantly more idiotic because the angler has decided to use the fish as a gun/weapon. Maybe someone can explain to me why these photos have grown in popularity over the last few years?
I would post a picture demonstrating what I mean, but I don't have any. I'm not trying to start a shitstorm by calling any specific individual out, but if you take a quick look around the internet you'll find the type of photo I'm talking about. Generally its a fish with its mouth agape, gasping for air being held absurdly close to the camera while the angler either scowls or smiles like a cheese dick. Guess its just not the angling aesthetic I'm going for. The thing is, holding fish out of the water does affect their survival and studies of C&R mortality have shown that anything beyond 30 seconds out of water and mortality increases exponentially. So keep them in the water, and take a picture of the fish. They're beautiful animals. And besides we've all got more photos of our ugly mugs than we know what to do with anyway.