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Angles For Capturing Richer Colors In Trout Photos

Angles For Capturing Richer Colors In Trout Photos

Have you ever caught a beautiful trout and taken a photo of it and when you got home you find the photo did not capture all the wonderful colors of the trout? Super frustrating, I know from a lot of experience with this same issue where I swear the trout looked way better in person and I am not even excited to share the photo I got. 

Along the way I have noticed something that has helped me greatly in photo capturing the colors better, and it has to do with the angle of the light from the sun to the fish. I will share some 2 examples below to illustrate why the sunlight angle is so important to fish photography (especially with trout).

*The photos below have been cropped in but no other photo editing/enhancement has been done to them. 

Example 1, The Wrong Light Angle:

This was an amazing looking cutthroat trout that my friend caught but the photo did not capture the rich colors because the light angle was all wrong. Instead it got a lot of silver reflection from the scales of the fish. This happens when the light angle from the sun is hitting at an angle to the belly side of the fish. 

Example 2, The Right Light Angle:

This fish was caught by me in the same area as the fish in example 1. In-person, the fish in example 1 and the fish in example 2 had the same colorful rich colors but in the photos you would not think so. And it is all because of the sunlight angle to the fish. 

The angle of the sunlight in the fish above has the sunlight angled towards the top side of the fish. This reduces all the scale reflection that turns out silver that you saw in example 1 and allows all that rich color to show up in the photo in it's full glory. 

Next Time You Take A Fish Photo

So next time you catch a brilliant looking fish, try different light angles and watch the preview to see which light angle gets you the best color capture for the photo. I think you will find that putting the sunlight angle coming in towards the top side of the fish (where it's top fin is) will give you more rich colors in your photos. 

In the middle of the day this can be challenging with the sunlight coming straight down but you can also slightly tilt the fish up a little at a 20+ degree angle and still capture all that color. The photo comparison below shows what slightly tilting the fish can do for you when the sun directly above you. Both are the same fish but the one on the right is slightly tilted and lots more rich color comes through.

Now go find some beauties to try this photo tip on and let us know how it works for you. 


Also, let us know of any simple fish photography tricks you know of that would help people capture their moments. 

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Piccio - October 19, 2022

Thank you for this good advices!

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