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Photo tips for the beginner

This is a discussion on Photo tips for the beginner within the Freshwater Journals forums, part of the Aquarium Photography category; --> Originally Posted by kitten_penang sport settings need bright lights.i tried using the sport mode and most of the pics came out dark.the camera settings ...

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Photo tips for the beginner
Old 07-07-2010, 07:36 AM   #11
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kitten_penang View Post
sport settings need bright lights.i tried using the sport mode and most of the pics came out dark.the camera settings were built in so there's no changing anything.i find in macro shots croping is the fastest and easiest way to make the pic look good =)
exactly the way you did.

Yes, sports mode uses a fast shutter speed to try to reduce blur. If you want to use sports mode, you need to add more light. Try using a desk lamp or work light like I suggested above. If you look at the details of a photo taken in sports mode, the shutter speed could be open for as little as 1/1000th of a second. So it only opens the shutter a split second, which allows very little light in. Sports mode works best outside in bright conditions, but by adding more ambient light indoors, you can get it to work.
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Old 07-07-2010, 07:38 AM   #12
 
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Thanks so much both of you! I have a Canon Eos 30D and I am sure I would do better if I would just slow down enough to read the directions. ha ha

All of the photo tips are great. I think I definitely need to change the focus on my camera so it is centered. You are right about it trying to focus on the wrong thing. Also, as it turns out I am not as fast as I was when I was younger so chasing the fish around with the camera is proving difficult. I will look into changing the settings to rapid fire, like you suggest. All good hints and all appreciated, Thanks.

You know what is sad? I took a photography class back in college and still feel like I know nothing. Granted that was 100 years ago and 35 millimeter. I just have to get back into the thought process. I had thought about using a clamp light with a daylight bulb. Like I am not freaking my fish out enough. ha ha

Last edited by Inga; 07-07-2010 at 07:41 AM..
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Old 07-07-2010, 07:44 AM   #13
 
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yup but at fish competitions we are not allowed to carry lamps or flash lights with us.so sports mode is totally out of the question.any suggestions ? sorry for hijacking the post =)
mines a 550D rebel
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Old 07-07-2010, 07:51 AM   #14
 
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Originally Posted by squilky View Post
I know a lot more about photography than I do fish keeping, so hopefully I can help out...

A lot also has to do with the type of camera you have. With most point and shoot cameras, there is something called shutter lag. There is a slight delay from the time you press the button to take the photo till when the shutter actually releases and takes the photo. Plus, most point and shoot cameras have very small lenses. Especially in the Canon elph line. This small opening only allows a small amount of light in. So often times, it "darkish" conditions your camera will have trouble focusing. On a lot of cameras you can set the focal point. Most cameras by default have a number of focus points and it will automatically select what it thinks you are trying to focus on. Check your manual and see if there is a way to manually specify the center focus point. If you leave it up the camera to try to guess what you are trying to focus on, it will often focus on a rock, plant or something larger in the tank. Especially with smaller fish like barbs.

Here are a few tips I can share. See if you can find a desk lamp or even a small work light to light the area. Try to angle it in such a way that it lights the tank you are trying to shoot, but doesn't reflect off the glass or cast hard shadows. You may need to use a piece of paper over the light to "soften" the light and shadows. The extra light will help the camera focus a little quicker and provide enough light that you can use a faster shutter speed, which should reduce the likelihood of having blur caused by the fish movement. Also try setting your camera on macro mode if possible. This changes the way the camera focuses and it will be able to focus on smaller objects like a fish.

Most cameras also have a "burst mode" which takes a series of photos in rapid succession. Try turning this on. It's usually located in the same menu where you turn on the self time. It's usually indicated by an icon that looks like three photos placed one on top of the other. Normally when you press the shutter it only takes one photo. When you turn on burst mode, it will keep firing photo after photo. It will stop eventually when the buffer to write to the memory card fills up.

Hope these tips help. I think overall it will be frustrating with a point and shoot camera because of the shutter lag and difficulty focusing that I mentioned earlier. But as you pointed out, it's digital, so shoot away. No harm done. If you get one good shot out of 50, it's all worth it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kitten_penang View Post
yup but at fish competitions we are not allowed to carry lamps or flash lights with us.so sports mode is totally out of the question.any suggestions ? sorry for hijacking the post =)
mines a 550D rebel
Not even a little problem. I wish there was more back and forth commentary on this forum. People bringing different thoughts to the threads help a lot. I find out more about a subject then I might have thought to ask. Go for it!
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Old 07-07-2010, 07:52 AM   #15
 
Oh you have a 30D? Very nice camera. I have a 20D.

To get the most out of a digital SLR camera, you really need to understand the relationship between shutter speed, aperture and ISO and how they impact one another. In a nutshell aperture is how wide the opening on the lens opens. Think of it like your eye, when you are in a dimly lit room, the pupils of your eyes open really wide to let in a lot of light. When you go out in the sun, the pupils contract and shrink down to control the amount of light coming in. Shutter speed is how fast the shutter opens and closes. Here is a link to an article about shutter speed, aperture and ISO. Hopefully it will help you remember some of the stuff you learned in your photography class .

http://digital-photography-school.co...al-photography
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Old 07-07-2010, 08:04 AM   #16
 
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Originally Posted by kitten_penang View Post
yup but at fish competitions we are not allowed to carry lamps or flash lights with us.so sports mode is totally out of the question.any suggestions ? sorry for hijacking the post =)
mines a 550D rebel

Kitten,

There are a few things you can do. First I would try to raise the ISO speed. Your camera probably goes up to 1600 iso, but you will get a lot of "noise" if you set it on 1600. So I suggest trying 400 or 800. A lot also has to do with the aperture of your lens. A lot of the Rebel cameras come with a kit lens which doesn't work really well in low light. Usually when you buy a lens, it will give you a few pieces of information. The focal length of the lens (it will look like 50mm for a prime lens, or something like 18-55mm for a zoom lens). There there will be a second value which refers to aperture. It will look like f3.5-5.6. What this means is if it's a zoom lens, the widest aperture when shooting wide angle at 18mm is f3.5, but as soon as you zoom, the f-stop goes up to f5.6. At f5.6 the lens doesn't let a whole lot of light in.

Also try experimenting at home. To really control the camera, you should learn to shoot in full manual mode. In order to do this, you really need to understand how shutter speed, aperture and ISO come into play. After a while, you will be able to walk into a room and look at the light and say, ok I need to shoot at 1/50th of a second with an aperture of f4 @ ISO 800 and get pretty close. Then you can just make small adjustments to fine tune the look you want.

You mentioned not being able to use lights or flashlights in competition. So this wont help there, but it would help at home. A lot of field photographers carry small LED flashlights with them. Especially nature photographers. Sometimes they will come across a small bug or even an interesting looking mushroom, but it's too dark to get a good shot in the thick tree cover of a forest. So they light the subject they are taking pictures of with a small flashlight. The trick is again to adjust the flashlight so that you dont cast any harsh shadows or glare off the glass.

Here's a link to understanding iso, shutter speed and aperture:

http://digital-photography-school.co...al-photography
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Old 07-07-2010, 08:10 AM   #17
 
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burst mode is quite useless with fast moving fish as most of the shots are blurry.it's best used for panoramic photography but like squilky said 1 perfect shot out of 50 is worth it.
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Old 07-07-2010, 08:16 AM   #18
 
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can you see the differece in the 4 pics??
pic 1 has a shutter speed of 1/125 and aperature of 11 (landscape mode)
pic2 shutter speed1/125 and aperature8.0 (tv mode)
pic 3 shutter speed 1/250 and aperature 5.6 (av mode)
pic 4 shutter speed 1/640 and aperature 8.0 (M mode)
i keep this as a reference in my camera.it helps me a lot when it comes to ouside lighting as im a newbie =)
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Old 07-07-2010, 08:16 AM   #19
 
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I do remember that stuff, I just have to quit being lazy and put it into practice. ha ha White Balance is a newer term, and one I must find out about. It is sad to have a nice camera and not use it. I don't have kids so pretty much my dogs and now my fish are my photo subjects. It took me a long time to change over to digital because I thought the quality was so bad. It has come a long way

Could you use portable reflectors in your competition? I used to use reflectors a lot in lower light conditions. Sometimes you could direct the light where you needed it. not much help if it is over cast but if the sun is shining but not bright it was helpful.

Yes Kitty, I see the difference and that is a good idea. :)
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Old 07-07-2010, 08:18 AM   #20
 
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burst mode is quite useless with fast moving fish as most of the shots are blurry.it's best used for panoramic photography but like squilky said 1 perfect shot out of 50 is worth it.
Not at all. Burst mode is meant for capturing fast moving action like sports events or fast moving animals. However, if you have the settings on your camera wrong (aperture, shutter speed) then the photos will be blurry. Your shutter speed needs to be fast enough to prevent the blur. Read that article I referenced above and it will make more sense.
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