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One Hand or Two Hands

By Rodney Hsu, Fishing with Rod | Published in March 2012

This beautiful rainbow trout is not too big, so one hand is used to bring out its best features

Different sizes of fish are required to be held differently to bring out their best features in the photograph. Do you use one or two hands? That really depends on how long and broad the fish is.

If the fish is no longer than 20 inches, then one hand is sufficient enough when holding it. This is a general guideline of course, because it really depends on how big your hand is. If you have a big hand, then you can certainly hold bigger fish with one hand. Usually the holding is done at the mid section of the fish, not only so it provides the best support, but it also exposes the tail, which is an important feature that needs to be included in the photograph.

If two hands are used on a small fish, then many features such as the head, back and tail are either completely or partially covered. When these features can no longer be seen, the fish starts losing its identity and the focus in the photograph is no longer on it.

This coho salmon cannot be handled with one hand so two hands are used to hold it for the photograph

For larger fish, two hands should be used to support it so you can position it in the best angle for the photograph. Because the fish is longer and broader, most of its key features will not be covered by your hands. You should use one hand to grip onto the caudal peduncle (the region just in front of the tail) and use the other hand to cradle the fish's abdomen. Try to avoid putting your hands on the side of the fish where the photograph is being taken.

Whether one or two hands are used, the key point is to make your fish standing out as much as possible by not covering it up.