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http://indianaquariumhobbyist.com/community/ :: View topic - Fish Photography Tips
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Fish Photography Tips

 
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ClownyGirl
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2006 10:39 am Post subject: Fish Photography Tips Reply with quote

 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.  
 
 Good  luck  and  Happy  Photographing    Thumb Up    Thumbs Up
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Atanu
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Joined: Feb 17, 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2006 4:26 pm Post subject:  Reply with quote

 Great  Tips  Clownygirl.  Made  my  job  hell  lot  easier  for  aquatica.
 
 Well  people  do  notice  the  tip  no  11.  Well  thats  the  very  basic  rule  for  any  kind  of  Nature  photography..  Take  lots  and  select  the  best,  throw  away  the  rest.
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ajaikumarr
Regular Poster on IAH
Regular Poster on IAH



Joined: Jul 22, 2005
Posts: 629
Location: Coimbatore

Status: Offline
PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2006 5:08 pm Post subject:  Reply with quote

 Thanks  for  the  tips  Clowny    Thumb Up
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aquascapes
Committed Member of IAH
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Joined: Dec 19, 2005
Posts: 2753
Location: Surat, Gujarat

Status: Offline
PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2006 9:57 pm Post subject:  Reply with quote

 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  45°  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  45°  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    Chuckle  
 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!
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ClownyGirl
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 23, 2006 10:19 am Post subject:  Reply with quote

 Aquascapes,  I  must  say,  you  have  provided  some  great  practical  inputs  with  regard  to  fish  photography  and  the  effort  is  much  appreciated.  
 
 Now  I  only  wish  to  see  more  entries  in  the  competition,  guys,  I  thought  we  were  all  nuts  about  our  fish,  where  are  the  photos????
 
   Sad
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Sibesh
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 23, 2006 10:42 am Post subject:  Reply with quote

 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.
 Sibesh
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iggy
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2006 5:02 am Post subject: Minimum Focusing Distance Reply with quote

 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.    
 
 Hope  this  helps.
 
 Best  wishes,
 Iggy
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aquascapes
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2006 8:17 pm Post subject:  Reply with quote

                                                   
Quote:                
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:                  

 This  is  what  I  was  waiting  for!  Very Happy  
 Thanks  for  sharing  your  secrets
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iggy
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2006 11:06 pm Post subject:  Reply with quote

 Hi  Aquascapes,
 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.
 
 Kind  regards,
 Iggy
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samit
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 2:51 pm Post subject: Re: Fish Photography Tips Reply with quote

 Nice  thread!  Any  suggestions  about  lightings  for  the  shoot?
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Madan
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 6:36 pm Post subject: Re: Fish Photography Tips Reply with quote

 Hi  Samit,
 
 Good  bunch  of  plant  setups  there.  Looks  like  you  are  having  fun.
 
                Here's  a  thread  on  Photography  from  a  short  while  ago
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samit
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 3:40 pm Post subject: Re: Fish Photography Tips Reply with quote

 hi  madan,
 
 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!   Very Happy  
 
 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!  
 
 thanks  and  regards
 
 samit
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 4:54 pm Post subject: Re: Fish Photography Tips Reply with quote

 Which  tweezer???  So  that  was  the  magic  was  it?
 
 No  wonder  my  tanks  are  doing  so  bad!  Very Happy
 
 Enjoy!  Good  to  see  you  active  again  here.
 What  about  your  friends?  I  remember  there  were  3-4  of  you  who  got  into  planted  tanks  at  around  the  same  time.  Any  news  of  them/whereabouts?
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