Here's what I do. I get the clients to put their right thumb in the fish's mouth and support the fish with the left hand. I have my client hold the fish out away from them with arms extended and elbows slightly bent. I try to fit only the fish and my clients' face in the picture. The result is a picture of a fish that looks at least as big (and usually much bigger) than it really is.
I often get a lot of criticism on how I take pictures. I wish I could say that I don't care what people think and say, but the truth is that I do care what people say. I have had people tell me that they would never hire me as a guide just because of my "deceptive" picture taking. I have read posts from guys on the fishing forums criticizing my picture taking and several others have nodded in agreement.
Well, here is my defense:
There are several reasons why I think it is better to take close ups than to take pictures from afar. First of all, the fish look bigger. If you have a person holding a 10 pound bass at the back of the boat and take a picture from the front of the boat, you will be lucky to convince your fishing buddies who weren't there that the fish was much more than 5 pounds. A 10 pound fish is a huge fish and you never know if it will be your last. Why not make it look like a 10 pounder?
Another reason to take them close is because it is the fish you are taking the picture of, isn't it? Why does it matter what shoes a person is wearing when he catches it? Chances are he didn't even take a bath, much less wear his picture taking clothes. Isn't it more important to catch the beauty of the fish and the distinctive markings of each of God's creatures?
Along the same lines, if you take the picture from afar, you can't really tell one bass from another. I'm sure I would probably be accused of taking pictures of the same fish with multiple clients if that were the case. The way I take them, you can tell that no two bass are identical.
Another reason I like close-ups is so that the public doesn't see more than I want them to. I don't want to give away my spots and I don't want people to see how bad I am about cleaning my boat.
Another main reason is that my clients (who actually do pay) like them that way. Back in the day, I would take 2 Polaroids of a fish (one for me and one for the client). Guess which one always gets picked? That's right! The client always gets the close-up that looks big and I am left with the picture that looks smaller.
In the past, the thing to do with your trophy fish was to take a picture from afar, then kill the fish and mount it on the wall. You didn't need the picture to prove your catch. You had the actual fish. Nowadays, catch and release is the norm and replicas are becoming more and more popular. If you take the picture of the fish far away, the taxidermist won't be able to see the detail in the fish to make your replica look like the fish you caught. However, if you have a good close up photo, he can see the details.
My plea to you is that rather than criticize my picture taking, you will see the good in taking close ups and see the value of doing it for yourself.
When I have a monster bass in the boat, the biggest thing on my mind is her safe release. It is very rare that I am totally satisfied with any pictures I take. It would be nice if I could leisurely take a dozen shots of each trophy bass. But it is not worth taking a chance of killing a fish.