5 Keys for Better Custom Fishing Rod Photos

Whether you build for business or pleasure, use this blog as advice to improve the pictures you take of your custom fishing rods.

How to Take Pictures of Custom Built Fishing Rods

The rod building community is as large as it is diverse.

From the different ways anglers get into rod building to the various fishing applications around the world, we all have our reasons for rod building. But regardless of these reasons, we can all agree that the pride of a custom built rod plays a huge part in the craft.

Part of this pride comes from just showing off all the hard work that goes into a custom build, and that is where photos become an important factor.

Pictures are an easy way to immediately capture the immense pride of a finished custom rod and share it with your friends, family, and especially, your customers. A great photo of your custom rod will not only last a lifetime, but it will also work to showcase your rod building talents.

1. Plan the Right Lighting for the Rod

For a quick and easy fix for most fishing rod photos, just add more lighting!

Most builders have a work space dedicated to rod building, but this is often in the garage, shed, or at least a part of the house where epoxy is still allowed.

Ideally, these locations should be well lit to see in detail as you build, yet many of us know this isn’t always the case. Better lighting is certainly helpful for rod building alone, but then again, it will also give you the exposure necessary to improve the photos of your finished rod.

Light is an essential aspect of rod building and photography alike, so why not put a little more consideration into the setup of your workshop?

Whether changing the direction of the light or just adding more lights, you will be surprised at the difference it will make and the results it will bring.

Just Go Towards the Light

Look at the difference in these two pictures:

On the left, you have the finished wrap in normal room lighting, whereas on the right, is the same finished wrap with improved lighting. Shining some light on the contrast between this pictures helps show the easy improvements that more light will make in your workshop.

The difference is bright and clear, more light will benefit your rod builds and make each rod look even better on camera too.

2. Use Camera Focus to Showcase the Rod

It’s tough to talk about taking better pictures without addressing the focus of the camera.

The camera focus can make or break a picture at just the click of a button. But seriously, the difference between a custom rod in focus and one out of focus is remarkable.

You put so much work into every aspect of a custom rod, why not showcase each part the right way?

From custom thread wraps and grips to decals, guides, and glamour shots in general, put the focus on the parts of the rod you want to showcase and let others eyes appreciate the same parts you do.

Put the Focus Where it Counts

Maybe it’s not a lesson in humility, but if you put a lot of work into a rod, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to show it off. Plus, in an age where even phone cameras have a focus, you might as well use it.

Use your camera’s focus to draw attention to what warrants it to reap the benefits and praise that custom rod builders deserve.

3. Get Up Close and Personal with the Rod

Like the focus, it’s also crucial to accentuate the intricate parts of the custom rod by getting up close to it.

We’ve all seen the immaculate work of an experienced rod builder up close and you simply can’t beat that kind of detail. But what good is a butt wrap that took hours, if all you take is a wide shot that barely shows it.

Think about how much planning and work goes into something like shaping grips, doing butt wraps, and wrapping guides. Now add a fraction of that time to stage better, more detailed photographs of these accomplishments.

Don’t be afraid use the camera focus and then get up close and personal with the rod to take pictures that truly showcase the detail in your work!

4. Take Fishing Rod Photos from Different Angles

After a custom rod is built, it is difficult to single out just one favorite part on a rod complete with components you chose from start to finish.

Since it is hard to show all your components in one wide shot picture, the best solution is to take multiple shots close up shots. With each additional shot, you can better depict each custom detail of the entire rod.

There’s nothing wrong with a photo shoot for your custom fishing rods. In fact, it is better to take a lot of pictures and add more dynamic angles to liven up each shot.

Then you can have more options to choose from and each will stand out as a unique view of the finished rod. Also consider making a shot list of specific components and angles you want to see because chances are these will be the same shots that impress other builders and customers alike.

With all the different pictures together, you can portray the entire rod while also showing the craftsmanship of the individual components that sell both its quality and its customization.

5. Avoid Busy Backgrounds Behind the Rod

Don’t underestimate the picture’s background while you photograph the custom rod.

For instance, if you have a satin black blank with dark handle components, it won’t stand out much over a dark background. This is the same for pictures taken of white or lighter custom rod in a location like the kitchen, where sure lighting is better, but there isn’t enough contrast to really make your rod stand out.

This seems basic, but this concept goes beyond just color and contrast.

You also want to avoid a background that is too busy because it will distract the attention of your audience and draw it to the background rather than the rod. When the custom rod is lost in the background, there is essentially no reason to take the picture in the first place.

In that sense, pay attention to not only the color or contrast in the background, but also what objects make up that background. You don’t want an awesome picture of your fishing rod photo where you can also see what’s for dinner in the background.

Unless you used the rod to catch that dinner… then that might actually be pretty cool!

Here are some quick tips to help choose the rod’s background:

  • Pick a background color that contrasts the rod
  • Stage a few practice shots to see what works
  • Get good lighting without showing the kitchen sink
  • Find a background that makes sense

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