How did you become a photographer?
I come from a long line of commercial fishermen, so I learned to respect marine wildlife at an early age. I spent my formative years as a professional surfer. After I graduated from the Art Institute with a degree in commercial photography, I went to work for some of the most well-known sports and celebrity photographers.
I started out shooting professional sports for big-name magazines. In addition to action photos, I specialize in portraits of famous athletes. I’ve shot Tiger, Lebron, Shaq and Michael Phelps.
I love sport photography, but I’ve always heard the call of the sea. I started shooting outdoor commercial photography as a side gig. Now I am able to focus my photography on fishing and watersports.
Why kayak fishing?
I stumbled into the kayak industry. Once I had established myself as an outdoor marine photographer, a kayak manufacturer asked me to shoot their boats.
Now paddlesports companies are some of my biggest clients. After working with all types of boats, I’m attracted to the simplicity and quiet of the kayak. It’s nice to film without the rumble of motors.
What was your toughest shoot?
My toughest shoot was last week. I had three projects scheduled. A few days before the shoot, I cut my left hand while slicing bread.
I duct-taped the cast and went to work. Taking photos with one hand in a cast is the toughest challenge I’ve had to overcome.
What’s your favorite location?
We traveled to Panama’s Tuna Coast and spent a week camping on the beach and fishing. It was some of the best fishing I’ve ever experienced with dozens of yellowfin tuna, cubera snapper and rooster fish. Most caught close to the beach. Best of all, I got six magazine covers out of the trip.
Share your best photography hack.
I couldn’t live without my Ikelite camera housing. To keep the lens clear, spread spit on the housing. Saliva keeps water drops from forming on the glass.
What’s your favorite camera gear?
Nik Color Effects is a plug-in for Photoshop. I dial in the Detail Extractor to give my photos pop.
Give advice to amateur photogs.
Don’t overdo it on Photoshop. Less is more. I see a lot of oversaturation to the point the photo looks completely unrealistic.
Salt water runs through Jason Arnold’s veins. | Photo: Jason Arnold