Carolina Fish Talk Forums banner
1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,769 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm creating this thread to assist those that may be looking for ideas on how to get the perfect shot. Catfish posted the following in the show off gallery so I'm simply going to quote it here. I'd also like members to chime in and add their suggestions and tell others what has worked well for them.

Photographing pets can often be a difficult proposition. Add water, glass reflections and the low lighting of an aquarium environment, and you've got the recipe for one extremely difficult photo shoot.

But it doesn't have to be that hard. Armed with the following tips, you can get great photos of your fish in just about any situation.

1: Get a tripod.

Tripods are usually used for non-moving subjects. But they can be immensely helpful when photographing fish, even ones that are constantly moving. Low light levels lead to slow shutter speeds. So anything you can do to stabilize the camera will be of tremendous help. The best way to photograph moving fish with your camera on a tripod is to loosen the levers on the tripod so you can move the camera freely left, right, up and down but the camera will remain in position if left alone.

2: Get your fish acquainted with the camera.

Now that you have a tripod (since you faithfully followed the first tip), set it up in front of your aquarium with the camera mounted on the tripod. Now leave it. For as long as possible... several days would be ideal. The purpose of this exercise is to get the fish used to seeing the "thing" you're constantly moving around, pointing it at them and making noises. When they're comfortable with the sight of the camera, they'll be more relaxed and less prone to dart around the tank or hide.

3: Use a digital camera.

Digital cameras allow us to "just take the picture" without worrying about whether we're wasting the film and processing money on a shot that won't be good. When you can focus on getting the best shot possible, no matter how many tries it takes, you're on the right track to get the shot you want.

4: Turn off the lights in the room.

Ambient light causes reflections on the tank glass that may ruin a perfectly good fish photograph. Eliminate all sources of ambient light that you can, and be very aware of any reflections as you shoot. If there are some reflections you can't get rid of, try putting your body between the light source and the glass to shield the tank from the light.

5: Clean the glass, cut the pumps.

Turning off the aquarium pumps before you shoot is an excellent way to clean up your shots of particles and bubbles in the water column. and if you happen to have a planted freshwater tank or reef aquarium, this will also prevent the plants or corals from swaying in your picture, turning into a blurry mess.

Cleaning the glass is probably the most overlooked step to aquarium photography, and quite possible is responsible for more ruined photos than any other issue. Remember, just because you don't see it now, doesn't mean you won't see it in the picture. Amazing how that happens. So clean the glass well, every time, before you pick up the camera.

6: A Bonus!

Have fun. Aquarium photography can become an interesting and challenging hobby all its own. Have fun with it, experiment freely, and be sure to share your pictures online!

Article Source: http://ezinecrow.com

Travis Staut has worked as a photographer for an online live coral retailer and has had several of his photographs published on the cover of Freshwater and Marine Aquarium Magazine. You can see his work and more articles at his aquarium photography site.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,769 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
IME cropping and angles have a lot to do with getting the perfect shot. (Composure) Here's an example of what I mean. IMO, both pics are interesting (obviously going to say that because I took them) but the picture completely changes based on something as simple as cropping. If you're like me and not willing to shell out $500+ for Photoshop you can download Google's Picasa for free and it has some basic photo editing tools that are really easy to use.

So here is a full frame shot of my Haddoni Carpet Anemone and the male Saddleback Clown. Notice how one clown's tail is barely in the shot and the other clown is a little blurred because the SOBs wouldn't hold still for my picture. Oh, and there is some hair algae on the left of the anemone? (which is all gone now, thank you...)


This is the same picture but simply cropped to my liking. Maybe it's just me but the picture takes on a whole new meaning by simply cutting out some of the surroundings. (Algae and the blurred clown)


So just because you think a photo you took is a wasted shot or doesn't really look the way you want it to, just think about cropping it before you move it to the trash can.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,962 Posts
Here are some things I've learned from taking pictures of my tank. Some of this may have already been covered so sorry if its a repeat.

1. Clean the tank at least 30 minutes prior to taking pictures and leave the pumps on. When you clean the tank you may end up stirring some things up and you don't want that crap floating around the tank when you're trying to take pictures. I leave the pumps on for 30 minutes to get any floating debris through the overflow.

2. Turn off the pumps and wait about five minutes. This gives everything time to settle down and any corals that were "surprised" by the change in flow to relax and come back out.

3. Learn your camera settings. I have a piece of crap Fuji FinPIx E510 5.2 megapixle camera that is like 5 years old. It has some great settings and it takes time to know how to use them. The easiest setting is usually going to be the automatic setting but I personally think you're not using your camera for what it was intended for if you don't experiment with other settings.

4. Don't try to put the camera too close. With modern day camreas you don't have to get too close in order to get a quality close up picture. Like FoxFace said, cropping is your friend here.

5. Try and take some top down photos. You'd be shocked at how much your glass alters the colors of your corals.

6. If you don't have a tripod use other things to rest the camera on. Its a lot like shooting a rifle/pistol, you need good bone support to keep the camera still so that you're not relying on your muscles to hold the camera still...since even the slightest movement (like your pulse) can alter the photo's clarity.

7. I've learned that most of the time the flash is not your friend.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,462 Posts
I got a cannon Powershot A560. Good camera for far away pics but NO good for macros. Or at least I just don't know what I'm doing. Any one have any experience with this camera????
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,769 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I got a cannon Powershot A560. Good camera for far away pics but NO good for macros. Or at least I just don't know what I'm doing. Any one have any experience with this camera????
I don't have any experience with it but my suggestion would be to take pics a little further away and then crop and slightly enlarge them to get the item you were focused on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,376 Posts
I got a cannon Powershot A560. Good camera for far away pics but NO good for macros. Or at least I just don't know what I'm doing. Any one have any experience with this camera????

I have the PowerShot SD1200 IS and it is a little hard to good macro pics with a point and shoot. I really wish it had a manual focus. I think what foxface said is the best for point and shoot type cameras.

I need to bribe someone to come over and take some pics with a good camera. ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,730 Posts
One thing that I think helps a lot to bring out the true color of what you are seeing is the white balance. Any digital camera that allows any kind of manual control will usually have a white balance feature. Learn how to use it. Our eyes automatically adjust the colors based on the available light. But, the lights on the tank will make the color spectrum look different in your photos. If you can manually set the white balance, put something in the tank to take a reading from. A piece of white plastic plate (the pic-nic variety) or other type of plastic is fine. Or, if you have nice white sand, you can use that. The idea is to tell the camera what is supposed to be white in the photo, and it will adjust the other colors to get the white to be as white as possible. That allows the other colors to come up a bit. Makes things look nice.

BTW, white balance won't overcome the heavy blue shift of actinic lighting. There is a limit to how much white balance will help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,943 Posts
My lights are always reflecting in the way for top-downs. Which really sucks because there is something growing on all sides of the rock stack. Any ideas?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,730 Posts
Two things will help. A diffuser over the lights. But that messes up the lighting.

A polarizing filter for your camera will help, if you have a threaded lens ring. If there is harsh light glare, though, the only way to get past it is with a water box for your camera. A clear plastic dish that you can put in the surface of the water to shoot photos through.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,769 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Two things will help. A diffuser over the lights. But that messes up the lighting.

A polarizing filter for your camera will help, if you have a threaded lens ring. If there is harsh light glare, though, the only way to get past it is with a water box for your camera. A clear plastic dish that you can put in the surface of the water to shoot photos through.
Marineduud made one a while back and I've asked him to make me one. :D

I can never get the top down shots to come out right.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top