Flyfishing takes us to some incredible places. Whether it be a local river not far from home or the remote depths of the Amazon Jungle, we’re always surrounded by amazing elements of natural beauty. This and the fact that catch-and-release is standard practice these days, only further motivates the need to have a decent understanding of photography.

Having been fortunate enough to travel some of the world’s best fisheries over the past two decades, head guide Gareth Reid knows this better than most. He’s spent a lot of time behind the lens and over the next few weeks is going to share some of his personal insights:

Whether you’re a hardcore blogger, vlogger and all things social media or more old school analogue type and your ‘posts’ constitute sitting at a bar with some mates over a dram of whiskey, taking some cool images of where you have been and what you have caught is something we all like to do.

Flyfishing and photography have some uncanny similarities in their methodical approach. Whether you are holding a fly rod or DSLR camera it’s important to know how to correctly use your gear, understand the prevailing conditions and execute a plan with an idea in mind.

In this first piece of a three part series we are looking at some of the basic principals of photography and how they affect us on fishing trips.


There are 3 rules in photography: Composition, composition and composition. Okay, I made that up but it’s not far from the truth! Landscape images, grip-n-grins, a cool bird sitting in a tree, or your mate casting into the sunset, regardless of what the subject and content of an image is it is vital to frame it correctly.

Foreground subject and contextual background working together.


There is a lot going on while flyfishing, stay focused! Ensuring subject matter is in focus and images are sharp. It sounds trivial but things go astray in the heat of the moment. A standard rule in any portraiture photography is to focus on the eyes of the subject as they are regarded as the window to the soul.

If only one thing is ‘sharp’ (in focus) it needs to be the eye.

Flowery sentiment or not it’s a great point of interest to select when focusing. If there is a fish and a human in picture and you’re unsure which eye to select – The fish wins every time! Preview your image quickly once taken to ensure its sharp (also known as chimping)

Whether going on a hot date or taking a picture, it’s all about the ambience… Knowing the effects of ambient light and how to position yourself is very important and something you want to think of first when setting up for a shot, especially if you need to adjust a boat’s position or space is limited for moving around.


Want a well-lit, evenly-balanced picture, then get the sun behind the photographer (also known as front lit). For artistic lens flare get the sun blazing into the frame from an angle. Very important is to have one or the other.

Sun flare can be a ‘cheap’ trick or a very useful composition element.

Where possible avoid shadows and broken light hitting a person or fish capturing some of it in good light and losing the rest in the shadows. Factory standard flash units are also a big no no for most situations and should be used only if absolutely necessary.

Stay tuned for: Advanced photography, life hacks, correct fish handling techniques and post-production/editing (the easy way).

Gareth Reid