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Photo Tips

Discussion in 'Photo Contest' started by Anthony, Sep 10, 2008.

  1. Anthony

    Anthony Thread Starter Active Member

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    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: <a class="postlink" href="http://ezinecrow.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://ezinecrow.com</a>

    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.

    The above information was provided by crazhrse.
  2. LemonDiscus

    LemonDiscus Active Member

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    Also, here are some added tips.

    ISO Control:
    If you can control the ISO (film speed) of your camera, raise it up to a higher level (ie: ISO 800) This will help make your shutter speed speed up.

    Aperture Control:
    If you can control the aperture of your camera (Iris Size) setting it to a lower number will decrease your "Depth of Field" (causing a very small area in focus with the foreground and background out of focus) This will increase your shutter speed as well. (ie: F2.5 setting) These are called your F-Stops. Stopping down increases the iris of your lens allowing more light into your sensor (or film).

    Flash Control:
    Using your flash on your tank can be very tricky. If you want to take a photo of your tank and stand using the flash will not allow you to really see inside the tank as the tanks lighting will be canceled out with the flash.

    Photographing fish inside your tank, your flash can help a lot. DO NOT aim the camera directly at the tank at a 90 degree angle. The flash WILL SHOW on the glass. Take your camera and aim it at a 30-60 degree angle to the glass. The flash with light the fish and bounce off of the tank not coming back into the lens. (no flash spot)

    Understanding Program Settings:
    This is a useful thing to use. Using something other than the automatic setting on your camera gives you more control over the picture you want to take. I use a Canon and these program settings apply to Canon, however the names for Nikon, Sony and Minolta cameras are closely named to the Canon names.

    This is your automatic setting. It adjusts everything except ISO (Shutter Speed and Aperture Stop) automatically. It usually gets things right for the best shutter speed but of course the camera is to a degree "dumb" as it does not know what YOU are trying to do.

    This is named different for other brand cameras, but this is what is called "Aperture Priority" This is a quick way to adjust the aperture value of your camera (Iris Size). You set the aperture and the camera adjusts the shutter automatically. When you use a flash under this setting it treats the flash as a "Fill Flash" and will not expose the flash how you may be used to it. The camera WILL NOT adjust the shot to compensate for the flash. This causes a fill effect which could be nice for some situations and is bad in others. It is all a personal opinion if this is what you want. I find that the AV setting works best for outdoor shots and portraits of people. Using this setting adjusts your "DOF" (Depth of Field) giving you control over what you want the viewer to see in focus and what you want to go "Soft" (Out of focus).

    Again my have a different name for other brand cameras but this is your "Shutter Priority". This setting is really nice for shooting fish as you can set the camera to the shutter speed you want. You can force the camera to shoot a fast photo and it will automatically adjust the Aperture to compensate. If you force the camera to shoot the shutter faster than the camera needs it will give you an underexposed shot. The easy fix is to throw the flash on and like the Aperture Priority setting, the flash will be used to fill. Playing with your shutter speed and your flash usage you can quickly take great photos of your fish without much thought.

    The Holy Trinity of Photography

    Shutter Speed
    Aperture Setting

    Changing one has a direct effect on the other 2. Lets look at how each affects the others.

    Turning up your ISO allows you camera to need less light allowing you to INCREASE SHUTTER SPEED and INCREASE your APERTURE (closing the Iris) to accomplish the correct exposure. Some cameras (DSLR) this setting is not controlled by the camera at all and MUST be set manually in your Camera Settings Menu. Some cameras the camera has full control of it and others you have to manually take control in the settings on the camera. It all depends on brand. The ISO is the "Graininess" of the photo. The higher the ISO the more grainy the photo will be and the lower the sharper your image will be.

    This adjusts the Cameras Iris. The higher the number the more closed the iris of the camera lens is. A small Iris makes the Shutter Speed slow down and the ISO may need to be turned up to compensate. A high value for Aperture increases the DOF (Depth of Field) allowing your background ad foreground to show more detail (ie: F 22 would be a great setting for a landscape as EVERYTHING in the photo is in focus) Of course that does require higher levels of light such as natural sunlight or a tripod in lower light settings. If you lower the Aperture (ie: F 1.8) it decreases the DOF and allows more light to flood into the lens allowing you to Increase the Shutter Speed and Decrease the ISO allowing for more detailed photos. Typically the lower setting is used for Portraits in a studio. As you are shooting 1 subject with the background meant to be kept as the background they bring down the Aperture to make the subject of the photo stand out. This is where you should be for fish as it is a single subject and the lower light makes you need a faster shutter.

    Shutter Speed:
    This is the easiest to understand. The higher the number the faster your shutter moves controlling how long the sensor/film is exposed to light. Faster shutter speeds may lead to underexposed photos making you have to increase the ISO and Decrease the Aperture to compensate. Conversely if you slow down the shutter you dont need the Iris open as much or the ISO as high, if you do set these like this you will discover overexposed photos which is worse than an underexposed.

    Many cameras have a lot of power to do thing IF you learn how to use it. I could write a book on techniques and uses of these setting, but others have done that already. I just wanted to open up the world of photography a bit more for those who do not explore the cameras settings. Changing 1 setting on your camera WILL affect everything else. The science to using the camera requires either a lot of reading or the fun way, trial and error.

    I wanted to add a few of my own thoughts to the tips section as I noticed there really is no tips on the site currently that get this deep.

    Have fun! :cool:
  3. Anthony

    Anthony Thread Starter Active Member

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    Great tips !
  4. Ryanstech

    Ryanstech New Member

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    awesome tips guys. if other people have 2 strobes like me I've found that placing one directly above the tank aiming down into the water and one behind the camera at an angle creates the best lighting situation. Also, if shooting with a macro lens I've found it's best to try and shoot the fish away from the front of the glass so the focus cancels out all the minuscule scratches and dirt that inevitably show up with that type of lens
  5. Guidoman888

    Guidoman888 New Member

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    Another tip

    Manual Focus
    Some cameras like mine have manual and auto focus. It's way better to use manual focus since autofocus can ruin a picture completely (Most smaller digital cameras dont have this) In the off topic section ''Pictures of my cat'' Created by me you can see the difference between auto and manual focus.

  6. MOD_Dawn

    MOD_Dawn Active Member

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    have kodak m883 and also found that tilting it downwards when snapping shots of the tank removes the glare.
  7. MOD_Dawn

    MOD_Dawn Active Member

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