Aquarium Photography Questions for FAQ and Article

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Linxie, Dec 4, 2015.

  1. Linxie

    Linxie

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    Hi everyone,

    I'd like to start an article, with the help of fellow photographers, on photographing aquarium life. In the article I'm going to include a FAQ section and would like some questions posed here for that section.

    You're welcome to post things which you'd like to see included in the article as well :)

    Kind regards,
    Lindy
     
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  3. Ortaega

    Ortaega

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    Hi,

    Will definitely follow this thread.

    One question i have:

    Do you take pictures using your flashes or just use the lighting of the tank?

    Currently I am only using my Huawei P8 mobile, would love to one day when I can afford it to maybe invest in a DSLR camera.
     
  4. Reedfish

    Reedfish Moderator

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    2 problems I find with aquarium photography is

    1) The flash reflecting on the glass

    2) Shadows (usually of the photographer) on the glass
     
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  5. OP
    Linxie

    Linxie

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    Good question :)
    I don't use a flash although I would like to start using my flash off camera above the tank.
    Using a flash on camera causes terrible reflections on the glass, tends to cast shadows behind the fish which looks unnatural and it affects the fish's colour.
    It is better to photograph your fish without using the flash. If your tank's lights are not bright enough you can always use an extra light source at the top and sides of the tank :)
     
  6. Ortaega

    Ortaega

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    Great, Thanks for clearing that up :bigsmile:
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2015
  7. Vis

    Vis Gerhard

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    To get no reflection on the glass take pictures at night and turn off all the room lights.

    Q: How do you take clear bright pics of fish without a flash.
     
  8. OP
    Linxie

    Linxie

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    Good point, however I find even with all lights off I still get reflections due to light spill from the tanks lights if I'm standing too close to the tank. A way around this would be to stand further away from the tank and zoom in or to ensure there is no light spill.

    Another great question. You could build a light box around the tank (basically white reflective material) to ensure more light stays in the tank, and you could make use of extra lights placed above and to the sides of the tank :) Cool white desk lamps work well for this.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2015
  9. Vis

    Vis Gerhard

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    I build a light box but just can't seem to capture true color under fluorescence.

    Should maybe get a remote flash.
     
  10. Vis

    Vis Gerhard

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    Only other issue I have is getting fish to pose right, because if the see me they beg for food.

    Maybe a black cloack in the dark.

    Now where is my Batman suite.....
     
  11. DerikPelser

    DerikPelser

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    Best time to take pic is night time.
    And also make sure the lights in the house is off...

    Also Trypod, low iso, 11+ fStop and long shutter time. 0.5 seconds to 1 second can also give you some nice full tank shots. Fish may just be blurred a bit.
    And the filers must be off so the plants don't sway in the flow. Also pearling may cause a problem with white showing as white stripes on your pictures... So if you know you want to take pics that night. keep the C02 off.

    Flash on full tanks shots are a no no. However I do use my flash when I'm getting up close and personal with my fish.


    As for off camera flash with remote tiger. you could get some interesting effects. place it above the tank, Turn off the lights on the tank and place it in the sides or back corners with a pilot light just to get focus.
    I'm going to play around with this.

    Borrow my boets studio lights. He He, Overkill.
     
  12. DerikPelser

    DerikPelser

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    I think what we can also do is for the semi pro/armatures to take some pics and share there camera settings they used for that specific pic.
    The same sort of Idea you see in the photographic magazines.
     
  13. Reedfish

    Reedfish Moderator

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    Yup, this is also an issue
    My fish see my coming and swim to the top thinking it is feeding time
     
  14. OP
    Linxie

    Linxie

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    Great idea Derik! Go for it, there's not a lot of activity in this section so this would be fantastic to get some more input as well as learn from others :)

    LOL Vis and Reedfish, I've found it helps if you sit infront of the tank for a while, they'll eventuallly realise there will be no food and will proceed with their usual business.
     
  15. Chris_H

    Chris_H Discus for Life

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    You need to get the fish used to you, spend more time in front of the tank (not just feeding) and they will go about their business, it will take a while for them to get used to the camera but once they get comfortable they will give you the pose you want :) I pull up a chair often and just sit and watch my fish, they know when I get up and stand on it then it's feeding time.

    My tips for taking good photos of aquarium fish:

    • Take photos the day after a water change and scrub down of glass. Wash the glass on the outside too. This will give you the best picture with the least amount of debris.
    • Always take the photo at 90 degree angle to the glass, the image quality will go down the more you move away from 90 degrees (90 degree is when you put the camera lens flush to the glass and move backwards only, not sideways or up/down)
    • If you want to get the blue light effect of the lights in your tank, make sure you set the white balance to around 4000 kelvin, this will take more of the blue light into consideration (typically the white fluorescent setting on DLSRs)
    • The faster your shutter speed the darker the image (taking aperture into consideration). So you can play with this at 4000kelvin to get a deeper or lighter blue on the image.
    • It is better to take photos during day time which will give you more light to work with, you can always increase shutter speed or aperture to decrease the amount of light you need, but in an aquarium it is more difficult adding enough light.
    • I never use a tripod for aquarium photography, a tripod is to get stability for long exposures and you can't do this with fish that are constantly moving, drop the tripod and use fast shutter speeds.
    • The last thing you should ever touch is the ISO, if you don't have enough light to capture the scene correctly then I would advise you use a flash. The best flash would be off-camera as you won't get the reflection from the glass. But you can also use an adjustable on-camera flash and point it upwards to give that extra light.
    • For now, the last tip is to be patient. Get your fish used to you and the camera around them, this can take a while but is worth it - even if it takes a couple of days of you just messing around near the tank.
     
  16. DerikPelser

    DerikPelser

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    Hi @Chris_H.

    Mostly agree with you.
    No tripod needed and fast shutter for the fish and random shots. Day or night time is fine for this. you can also get a nice depth of field doing it this way.
    However I found for full tank shots, a slower shutter and tripod is better at night time.
    Because the only light source is your fish tank and the camera don't take other light sources into consideration.
    Slower shutter speeds allow more light in, resulting in a brighter picture.
    Slower shutter speeds also require a tripod,
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 2, 2016
  17. Chris_H

    Chris_H Discus for Life

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    @DerikPelser,

    If you read my post again you will see this part: "you can't do this with fish that are constantly moving, drop the tripod and use fast shutter speeds." which implies that I am talking about capturing photographs of fish, not the tank ;) - I agree 100% with using a tripod to take photos of still objects, like the entire tank at night which will have the side affect of causing motion blur on the fish (which you have said previously).

    A small explanation (or correction :p ) to your statement though (for the noobies) - a camera does not perform better at night because it does not have to consider other light sources. You organize your scene to produce a certain effect, in this case a dark room for the background made even darker with a slow shutter speed and the only light source being the tank. This will produce an image focused on the tank, and because of the long exposure enough light will be let in to give a clear image.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 2, 2016
  18. Reedfish

    Reedfish Moderator

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    I wish I could!
    I leave for work just after lights come on in the morning. A quick feed is all I have time for.
    And similar in the evening. Feed just before lights go off.
    I do have a bit more time on the weekends.
    But the fish prob just associate me with food. :eating:
     
  19. DerikPelser

    DerikPelser

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    @Chris_H - Oops. Miss read.
    So we agree.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 2, 2016
  20. Chris_H

    Chris_H Discus for Life

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    Indeed xD
     
  21. <<Nemo>>

    <<Nemo>>

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    I have a malawi show tank, so taking decent pics aren't very easy, but this is how I do it and it seems to work pretty well:

    -Close all the blinds in the room, put the room's light off and it must be dark outside.
    -Keep the fishtank's light on, I think it is important to have a decent light though.
    -Yes, going to disagree with @Chris_H here, don't take the pics head on with the flash

    Two of my pics:
    IMG_2216.jpg
    IMG_2589.jpg

    IMG_2216.jpg

    IMG_2589.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 2, 2016

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