I’ve been a full time fishing guide in the Tampa Bay area for 10 years and my website has been a huge part of my success. So much so, that it is what led me to start a business building websites for other fishing and hunting guides 9 years ago. Other guides liked what I was doing online so much that they started asking me to build their websites for them very early on in my career.
I often (and you should do this too) ask new clients why they chose me over the other fishing guides in the area and almost all of them tell me that I had the best pictures. Now, I’m not a photographer by any stretch of the imagination but I am blessed (or cursed, depending on how you look at it) to be a gadget freak. So I have always bought really nice cameras. And, I have spent a lot of time on the web reading about photography and how to use my particular camera. I have also been blessed to spend time with professional photographers like, David Brown, who gave me lots of pointers about taking fishing pictures.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words… I say good pictures are worth hundreds of clients in the fishing guide and hunting guide industry. Even when my website was young and looked like a 9 year old built it, my pictures still looked pretty good and that translated to new clients for me.
Don’t take for granted the power of great pictures on our website, Facebook, or Instagram. Get a great camera, learn how to use it, and take the time to capture great shots of your client’s catch. Not only will it help you get new clients by posting the photos online, but if you share these great photos with your clients, your clients will share them with their friends; which could turn into even more new clients for you.
What fishing and hunting photos should you post online?
Whether on your website or on social networks, “put your best foot forward’ is the golden rule. If you want to be known for someone who puts their clients on big fish or large game, post only pictures of quality fish and game. Just because you went and caught several 10” trout, doesn’t mean you should post those photos anywhere online. Not that you should be ashamed of doing the best you could on a tough day, it’s just not something that will make a great impression on potential clients. Make a great impression with every picture you post. If you want to make a great impression on potential clients, only post and promote pictures of great catches and great kills.
How do you maximize the potential of every photo of your catch or kill?
- Clean backgrounds (no extra people, equipment, or uninteresting objects behind the angler and fish).
- No tools hanging out of the mouths of your catch (no Boga Grips or other fish handling tools).
- Make the fish the central focal point (hold fish horizontal, up under angler’s chin and out towards the camera).
- Hide Your Hands (try as best as possible to keep most of the angler’s hands between the angler and the fish and not visible to the camera).
- Keep the sun in the face or to the side of the angler. Not directly behind the angler (unless you are an extremely skilled photographer).
- Wet fish look better than dry fish.
- Fresh fish look WAY better than dead and/or frozen fish.
- The less blood on the fish the better.
For Other Game:
- Hold the heads of deer, hogs, elk, and other large game up.
- Position the animal between the camera and the hunter.
- Keep the sun in the face or to the side of the hunter.
- Minimize gore (remove blood) .
- Consider including the weapon in the photo if possible.
What photos should you post or promote online?
Here’s the simple rule. if you look at the photo and think, “Man… that’s a great pic and a nice fish (or other game)”, that’s a picture you want to post online and promote. If you look at it and think, “Well, that’s all we caught today so it’s better than nothing so I might as well post it and show we caught something”, you’d be better off keeping that picture to yourself and only sharing it with your client.
Perception is reality. If you only show your best, you’ll be perceived as a guide who is known for putting your clients on great fish or game. If you show everything, even the unimpressive catches or kills, you’ll be “just another guide”.
Of course, the more great pics of great catches and kills the better! And, if you are able to post more of those quality pics of great catches and kills than the next guide, the way people perceive you will not only be great, but accurate too.