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Mike Stevens – KNEE DEEP

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Friday, April 20, 2018
The Rapala hopper bite?
Thursday, October 25, 2018
On the water with Strike King and Lew’s


So you want to appear on the cover of Western Outdoor News
“Want to see my picture on the cover,

Wanna buy five copies for my mother!

Wanna see my smilin’ face

on the cover of the Rollin’ Stone”


We hear it a lot. People who have “always wanted a photo in Western Outdoor News.” That’s actually pretty easy to accomplish.


Then there are those with a loftier goal: appearing on the cover.


That’s hard.


There are certainly ways to maximize your chances and plenty of things NOT to do if you are hoping for WON-cover glory. A lot of it’s just a numbers game. There’s only one cover, granted, there are also “inset cover” (the smaller photo on the top right) photos, and sometimes other small ones along the bottom. But oh no, those spots aren’t good enough for you people. It’s full-cover fame or nothing!


cover372a

cover372b
THE COVER OF WON is vertical in orientation, so guess how you want to shoot photos to best fit a cover


Here’s how you take your best shot at the cover:


QUALITY: While going on newsprint allows for some wiggle room in this department, the images need to be relatively high resolution. Most digital cameras are going to produce a large-enough image, but where it varies is in the cell phone department. I’m not sure how it happens, since I can’t make even an older phone take this small a photo if I tried, but we still get file sizes below 100k sent in that at best can be a one-column photo on a black-and-white page elsewhere in the paper. It’s usually an easy fix. Go to your phone’s photo settings and look for something about size and bump it up a couple notches. If you are concerned about burning memory (big photos take more of it) just shoot for the middle of the road, which is usually good enough.


Oh, and we still get prints mailed to us (as in, postal mail with stamps and stuff) which is perfectly fine as we can scan them in-house.


TIMING: This has a lot to do with it. If you catch a 20-pound yellowtail in mid-winter, that’s going to be a nice change of pace at a time we are getting mainly rockfish photos sent in. Fire off the same yellowtail shot in July, well, chances are we are getting a ton of similar ones while bluefin tuna or a wide variety of exotics are the bigger story. If you want to make your photo stand out in the pack, make sure as many of the following elements and considerations are part of it.

PHOTO ELEMENTS: I used to edit professional sports photos and we used to look for a “heroic presentation of the athlete.” Just swap out athlete with angler, and that’s your starting point. If possible, shoot with the sun/light in the subject’s face, or at the very least, anything but the sun in the background. Just gaffed or landed are better than pulling dead fish out of the sack and taking photos hours later. If the fish is still wet and alive, that’s half the battle.


Also, keep your background in mind: it’s always better to have the water, trees, mountains, other boats, an island, anything that gives an idea of the setting.


It also never hurts to start shooting before the fish is landed: bent rods, angler looking at a fish at color, deckhands reaching out with the gaff for a circling fish, you might even catch a fish jumping if you shoot at the right time. If you are the photographer, just keep firing away, it’s not like you’re burning film.


OTHER THINGS TO THINK ABOUT: The cover of WON is vertical in orientation, so guess how you want to shoot photos to best fit a cover. Horizontal photos can and do make the cover, but there needs to be room to work with around the subject, so don’t zoom in too tight, we can do that on our end.


WHAT NOT TO DO: Don’t tell us “this is a cover shot,” because it probably isn’t. Don’t get me wrong, while I will make a “pssshhhh!” sound followed by a sarcastic “Okay, dude” when I read that, it doesn’t mean it automatically gets bounced from consideration, but the attached file had better be pretty damn good after such a claim.


Also, lose the sun mask. I get that they have a real function, and I use them myself, but leaving it over your face for the photo not only does not give you “fish ninja” effect you’re going for, but it’s a one-way ticket to Delete-ville. That is also the final destination for posed shots of dead if not gutted fish in your driveway, front yard or kitchen.


Don’t send bribes. Seriously. I was once offered $500 cash and free chiropractic work to put a guy’s photo on the cover. As a matter of fact, never mind, those are pretty entertaining so, bribe away!


Sending ANY photos to WON:


This was in no way intended to discourage you from sending photos. Send them all. If it doesn’t appear on the cover, page 1, or anywhere in the next paper, many are banked for future use in things like supplements or special sections, so you might see yourself in there months from now. Include all relevant info for the caption including the first and last names of everyone in the photo, hometowns, the boat you’re on, where you were fishing (hunting photos are welcome, too) gear, bait, lures used and fish weight. That’s not all required, but the more of those present, the better.


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