Back in November, I started really thinking about the icon and splash screen of The Fisher. My early idea was to find a freelance illustrator to design illustrations for both. As the whole idea of the app crystallized -- focus on pictures of the catches instead of the details -- it became obvious that both the icon and splash screen needed to be photographs. As I'm somewhat of a hobbyist photographer, I thought I could take the photos myself.
So one fine Saturday, I took the bus to the Hakaniemi market hall to buy a fish. The plan was to buy a big perch since that is my favorite fish; they are fierce fighters and taste delicious. I guess it was a good day for perch since they didn't have any for sale. Instead, I bought one pike-perch (aka zander). At 23 euros, it wasn't cheap. Besides the fish, I bought some smoked slices of ham and baloney. Both delicious :D
Anyway, back to the fish. Once I came home, I immediately started a photoshoot with my "catch". After all, the light hours in Finland in the winter are pretty scarce. The equipment and my setup was quite simple with only my camera on a tripod and the fish on the table. I took around a hundred photos of the fish from different angles and distances. While doing so, I realized why the zander isn't the most photogenic a catch: by nature, it keeps its mouth shut. To overcome this and to make it look more fierce, I had to put a toothpick inside its mouth to keep it open :)
With 100 photos, getting to the editing took some time and I only got to it yesterday, over three months after taking the photos. Now the app is close enough to v1.0 to concentrate on the icon and splash screen. I tried many of the pictures both for the icon and the splash screen. In this process, the Photoshop script by Josh Jones saved me a ton of time by allowing easy creation of the icon in different sizes. As for the splash screen, those I made by hand. The final splash screen image is on the right, the icon on the top of the post.
I'm not completely satisfied with either photo, but I do think they are different from the typical illustrations on App Store icons. The resolution of the icon is good nowadays. That makes me wonder what potential problems I'm missing, since most apps do use illustrations. By using a photo as the icon, The Fisher will be different from most of the apps it competes with. These are the icon and splash screen I'm going to ship version 1.0 with, but you can be sure I'll go and catch (or -- while there's still ice in Finland -- buy) other fish to update both photos for future version.
To summarize: For a few euros, I got the photos I needed, plus a delicious dinner (I cooked the fish in cream with pepper and horseradish). I'm close enough to submitting the app to focus on the icon, so it shouldn't be too long until I submit The Fisher to the App Store.