Fishing Photography Tips, How to Make your Trout Look HUGE

This post was last updated on June 1st, 2022 at 11:00 pm

Tips For Photographing Your Fish (Especially Trout)

Photography tips, How not to hold your fish in a picture
Notice the hand covering almost the entire fish in this image. As you can see the fish is also laying on it’s side, this image is a major failure in fish photography.

When a large fish is caught adrenaline really starts flowing and its often difficult to photograph your trophy trout perfectly. Here are a few photography tips to help you get a great picture.

There are Two ways to Take Pictures of Fish

You can either hold them really close to the camera and try to make them look bigger than they are, or hold them close to your body and make them look actual size. By trying to hold them really close to the camera you might end up making them look smaller than they are. If someone shows me a picture of a brown trout they caught, the first thing I do is look for their fingers in the picture. If I can see a pinky finger in the picture that looks like a hot dog, the gig is up. If the fish really is big, you might consider holding it closer to your body so that your chest and head can be used as scale. This will allow the actual size of the fish to be easily gauged at first glance. If your elbows bend (which I am sure they do if you are out fishing) you might want to consider bending them once in a while during a photo.

How to Properly Hold Trout to Make Them look Bigger than they Actually are

As I hinted at above, the key to making a small fish look huge involves a couple simple steps. I rarely ever use this technique, and I certainly

Photography tips for fishing
Notice you can see very little hands and lots of trout in this image? Hands should always be underneath the fish and not covering up its sides.

don’t get very serious about making small fish look huge. This section is more for entertainment than learning, a couple paragraphs down is more of a serious part of the article.

  • Hide your fingers: This will involve showing as little of your hand as possible in the image. If you are showing any finger at all it should be your pinkie fingers underneath the fish. So in this case the entire trout is sitting on top of your small fingers resting its side on your other 3 bent back knuckles, with your thumbs supporting the top of the fish and out of sight. So you will basically be making 2 “hang ten” signs with your hands and the fish resting in there. This is not easy to do, so you might consider practicing it using a hatchery fish from the market. 
  • If anyone spots your pinkies in the photo,  you can just tell them they are your thumbs, this will immediately add at least 1 full pound to the size of the fish in the eyes of the jealous onlooker staring at your “huge” trout in awe.
  • Stiffen up those arms! If you want your fish to look huge, you will need it out as far away from your body and as close to the camera as possible.

Leave the fish in the net until the camera is ready

There is no point in killing the fish if your plan is to release it. If you leave it in the net in the water until the camera is out and ready you will do much less harm to the fish.

While Taking pictures don’t try to count 1.2.3. etc

Just take the picture already! If the fish is sitting there nice for the picture, by the time you count to three it could be laying on the bottom of the boat dead after flipping out of the fisherman’s hands. Counting before taking pictures drives me nuts. What you should be doing is taking as many pictures as fast as possible so you are certain to get a good shot. How many times do you see professional photographers taking one picture and call it a day? If you want the perfect angle, the perfect pose and the best possible photo, hit the shutter button as often as possible and sort through them in the car ride on the way home.

Are you trying to take a picture of your hands, or a picture of the fish?

Holding a brown trout improperly for a photograph.
Wowsa! Look at the size of those ball park franks! Those are very large hands, put those behind the fish so we don’t have to look at them! Not to mention, this brown trout has a face only a mother could love! Actually this isn’t that bad of a picture. I decided to include it because of the extremely disgruntled look on this trouts face, I think he was used as a stunt double in a gremlins movie.

Because I see way too many people holding their hands over the entire fish and the only thing you can see is a little bit of its head and tail. put your hands underneath the fish, not wrapped around it like you are gripping a triple decker hamburger trying to hold in all the lettuce, tomato and pickles.


Just a few pointers to help you make your trout appear as big as they actually are. Although any experienced fisherman can tell the size of your fish no matter how you hold it, you should always try to keep the fish upright and prevent your hands from covering the fish. I am guilty of holding my fish too close to the camera on occasion. Following these photography tips will help ensure you never take a bad fish picture again.

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