Posted: Tue Jun 20, 2006 10:39 am Post subject: Fish Photography Tips
With only a few days to go until the Cichlid Competition closes to submissions, we all need a few tips on how to photograph our very skittish and sometimes shy wet pets.
Since this is a fish photo competition and not a tank layout photo competition, there are some things to keep in mind when photographing fish. These tips should help you take better pictures and if you have some wisdom to add, please feel free to do so:
1. Perform a 20 â€“ 50% water change a few hours before the photo session, preferably in the morning and shoot in the evening when any suspended particles from the water change have settled down.
2. Clean the glass with a lint free cloth on the outside and with a sponge or a magnetic cleaner for algae and water lines on the inside before you perform the water change. If you have algae that you have scrubbed from the glass, this can then be siphoned out during the water change.
3. Make sure that you hide all visible equipment from the tank, or temporarily remove them before clicking the picture.
4. Use a plain dark background for your tank, preferably a blue or black. A dark background minimizes reflections and creates the illusion of depth. It also does not take focus away from the subject. A background with too many colours or a 'poster' background on the other hand can be distracting.
5. If your tank is positioned in the room in such a way that outside lighting causes objects to reflect on the glass, switch off the room lights and take your shots from close to the tank with overhead lighting. Preferably, take your pictures after sunset so that minimal lighting enters the room. Also, wear dark clothing while photographing to prevent reflections and cover light coloured furnishings with a dark cloth or shift them so that reflections are not visible in the picture.
6. You may want to use a flash if you do not have a tank that's adequately lit, or good background lighting. If you are using the flash to avoid the flash bulb effect you can do one or more of the following:
a. Position the camera at an angle in such a way that the flash does not fall within the frame of your photograph. This way, even if the flash is visible, it will be to one of the extreme sides of the picture and can be easily cropped.
b. Stick your lens to the glass. This way, there will not be a reflection of you or your camera in the picture. The flash will be in the distance and can be cropped out in most cases.
7. Set your resolution to the highest possible your camera will allow. This way, even if you photograph a fish in the distance, you can crop the photo around the fish and then resize your image to make it look like a close up of the fish.
8. For best results, focus your shot on one or two fish centred in the picture at a side facing angle, or at an angle where the fish is not directly looking at the camera.
9. If you have a curious fish that likes to stare at the lens while you are shooting it, then angle the camera in such a way that the fish is diagonally a few degrees to the left or right when clicking the shot. Most fish have better side profiles than front profiles because of their body shape.
10. Additionally, you can use a photography tank if possible. This is a small tank where your fish have less room to move about and turn. This may however, not be possible for larger fish.
11. Take lots of pictures. Fish are not predictable and you may have to take hundreds of shots before you find one that is worth keeping. Also, the more shots you take, the better you get at photography.
12. When editing your picture, if you do not have access to sophisticated editing software, Microsoft Office Picture Manager does a fairly good job. You can crop, adjust brightness, colour and a few other basic features and even autocorrect your photos. Autocorrect may not always work wonders, but its worth checking out. It usually does a good job of brightening your photograph.
13. If you use the Auto mode for photographing or do not know your picture settings, use a website like http://www.photobucket.com to store your images. These websites capture information about your photographs automatically (under a link/section called exif data), and you can then copy this into your thread.
Joined: Dec 19, 2005 Posts: 2753 Location: Surat, Gujarat
Posted: Thu Jun 22, 2006 9:57 pm Post subject:
I would like to add my humble two penny to all the gyan bestowed by clowny - Good work!
To start with, Photography is an art which combined with science will give you the best possible results! (same is true for even aquarium keeping).
It is quite possible that many photographers might be aquarists as the two hobbies are amongst the top five most popular hobbies of the world!
Shooting a picture for a photo-competition is a challenging job - so is shooting a picture for an article or a write-up - remember 'A picture speaks a thousand words'. IMO, every picture should have a particular subject line or caption - this is something which inspires (rather forces) the on-looker to think upon 'your' concept of the picture! And once you are successful in the carry-forward of your thought in the mind of the on-looker - "well begun is half done!"
To start clicking the basic requirement is a camera - when I say a camera - it sounds so very simple and tension free! But, the amount of gadgetary available now-a-days is something enough to baffle even the most professional photographers so let us say - sky is the limit!
The camera is on an average for a lay-man like me is classified into two = digital and non-digital
the non-digital camera which has to be fed a roll is something which is now becomming a rare possession due to many dis-advantages. But, the results can be amazingly clear compared to the digital cameras. Care should be taken to see that the shutter speed is set to the roll's specification to get the best results. Moreover the mount on flash is not desirable and the light should be adjusted at an angle of about 45Â° from the front glass and another as a top light of the aquarium! However, the best light to shoot with with is 'sunlight' (though you should avoid the dawn & dusk sunlight)
Digital Cameras on the other side are very easy to use and less cheaper to click as there is no tension of a roll and no processing exps. Moreover, the digital images can be immediately previewed and discarded if not desirable and another clicked right away! They are amazingly easy to use and give good results esp. with shooting fish for a lay-man like me!
It is a very vast subject and someone like atanu or clowny might be more appropriate to speak on this...............
The second point is the subject to be photographed - Fish!
As suggested earlier fish like nature photography is not a still subject to photograph and it is really a nightmare for the photographer to picture the fish in an established aquarium or a large aquarium. If the fish is to be photographed for it's anatomy or physical features than the use of a photography tank or a restraining glass is more desirable.
Moreover, care should be taken to see that the fish's eye is not out of focus. other parts like the fin rays and the tail should also not be blurred by the sudden movement of the fish (due to the flash or some other reason) the colour and the pigmentation of the fish should not be edited or the picture will start looking artificial and 'edited'. I as a judge of the last competition was particular with the edited details of the fish and many a good entries scored less because of the made-up look - I'm a strong beliver in presenting original work and if editing has to be done - it should however not be to the limit that the picture starts to look like wearing a 'make-up'. Submitting over-exposed/under-exposed/blurred/out of focus pictures should be avoided (no problems if you can submit only a couple of pictures for the competition - but, make sure you submit your very best clicks!). Again, care should be taken that the fish that you are clicking is not 'sick' or 'stressed' unless of-course you are photographing such fish for a specific purpose.
Now the subject's surroundings, take utmost care to prevent any light from reflecting from the background - the plastic poster is not desirable for it's reflective properties. Use a dull background which does not reflect light a paper is the best choice! - if however you have to use a reflective background for the picture care should be taken that the background be stuck to a hard-board and is than put at an angle of 45Â° so that it does not reflect light from the flash or strobe light. the fish should be the prime focus of the picture and should be the 'centre-of-attraction' - The ambiance of the picture should not be very bright compared to the fish or the fish will look dull and darb. A solid blue of black colour is more desirable as it best highlights the fish! Care should be taken to see that the front glass is not scrached or does not have any calcerous deposits on it or it will very prominantly 'show' in the picture. Don't shoot the fish at an angle if you are not a professional or the fish will appear as if suffering from a bloat!
One more thing I marked in the last competition is that the camera lens was very distinctly showing/reflecting on the front glass of the tank in some pictures - this happens when the surrounding un-wanted room lights are not switched off!
I think I've said enough
Wish to see some stunning pictures in the contest..........so far only more than a couple have actually appealed to me so come on guys..........get going!
Let me put few of my suggestions on this topic. Although I have not much experience in fish photography, but I burned hundred of flims( yes, I still like film cameras) on nature.
1. Dept of field: This is an important concept in any photography especially in microphotography. It's nothing but focusing zone or the sharpest area w r t distance. And it's directly proportional to apperture values( f values). So to photograph a fish we need 1st know what is area we need to have in focus and we can set the apperture accordingly. Generally all modern cameras set the apperture accrording to the mode you selected. For landscape it will have arrounf f8-f16 depending upon light, for micro around f3.5. I feel for planted tank one should set it to landscape and take the picture. With Digicam , you always have the freedom to experience thousand of snaps and select the best one.
2.Shutter speed: Since fishes are not going pose still for you to be photographed, shutter speed plays a great role capture it still. Try to set higher speed and check. For eg, if you try photograph a race car, around 750 (i e 1/750) is ideal, it will capture the car still,but wheels will be little blur to give you a moving effect.
But apperture and shutter speed are not independent. High shutter speed required less f values ( if light is constant) and vice versa. So striking the right balance in a given light condition is the trick of the trade and honestly speaking it comes with experience only.
IMO best way to learn it to try replicating a good photograph again again.
Joined: Jan 04, 2006 Posts: 124 Location: London UK
Posted: Wed Jun 28, 2006 5:02 am Post subject: Minimum Focusing Distance
Most of the important points regarding taking good photos that are sharply in focus have been well covered above by Clownygirl, Aquascapes, Sibesh and others.
One thing still to consider is:
Minimum Focusing Distance
To take fish photographs that are in sharp focus, the photographer needs to know what the minimum focusing distance of their camera lens is.
For example, the minimum focusing distance for the 18 - 55mm Lens for the Canon 350D is 28 cm. For the Fuji S7000 in macro mode it is 10 cm. For other cameras and other lenses, you need to check the manufacturers specification to find out what the minimum focusing distance is. This can be done by looking at camera booklet or looking on the internet.
What this means, is that the distance between the lens and the fish has to be greater than 28 cm when using the Canon 350D with 18 - 55mm Lens for the photo of the fish to be sharply in focus. If that distance is less than 28 cm then the photo will always be out of focus and one needs to step back to increase that distance between lens and fish to bring the photo into focus.
Hence it might not always be possible to place your camera lens on the aquarium glass to take a photo that is in focus, unless you have a very good macro lens that has a very short minimum focusing distance or a wide aquarium and the fish are at the back of the tank when taking photos. Moreover, whenever I have tried placing the camera lens on the aquarium glass, the fish usually swim away and hide.
I always shoot at a slight angle to avoid flashback.
My best photos with a digital camera seem to be when I shoot slightly downwards.
Shooting upwards have always resulted in bad photos usually with flashback.
Taking lots of photos with the digital camera is an excellent idea, especially as they cost nothing. This is what I always do. I could easily shoot 200 shots in an hour when I visit a fish show or even my LFS.
However, I only keep the very best photos and delete all photos where the eye of the fish is not sharply in focus.
I tend to use my Fuji S7000 camera in manual mode at F8, 1/100 sec, in macro mode and with flash turned down to minimum.
Joined: Jan 04, 2006 Posts: 124 Location: London UK
Posted: Mon Jul 03, 2006 11:06 pm Post subject:
I am always willing to share my photographic secrets.
It is amazing how even with expensive cameras that have auto focus, it is easy to get poor quality, out focus images because one is too close to the fish and the camera is unable to perform its autofocus function.
Looking forward to seeing many more nice cichlids in the competition.
Posted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 3:40 pm Post subject: Re: Fish Photography Tips
thanks for your comments! now i can say i have good set ups! it all started after visited your place and mesmerized by the beuty of your amazing tank! it's been quite a long. thanks a lot for your tips and suggestions. they proved to be very helpful in every steps of my hobby.
well .. i still use the tweezer that you have presented me. i believe it brings luck to my tanks!
and thanks for the link to the wonderful thred!
thanks again for everything, we, the aqurists from bangalore will alwqays consider you as our guru!
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