How do you take good pictures of your fish/aquariums?
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How do you take good pictures of your fish/aquariums?

This is a discussion on How do you take good pictures of your fish/aquariums? within the Freshwater and Tropical Fish forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> I've tried everything to get good pics of my tanks and they are always horrible. With a flash they are always blasted and the ...

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How do you take good pictures of your fish/aquariums?
Old 02-24-2011, 10:01 AM   #1
 
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How do you take good pictures of your fish/aquariums?

I've tried everything to get good pics of my tanks and they are always horrible. With a flash they are always blasted and the fish have glowing eyes, without a flah it's way too dark and you can't see the colors! I know it depends on the camera (I've tried three different cameras including my husbands big fancy Nikon D70 something-something), but are there any general tips I can try? Thanks!
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Old 02-24-2011, 10:39 AM   #2
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaLB24 View Post
I've tried everything to get good pics of my tanks and they are always horrible. With a flash they are always blasted and the fish have glowing eyes, without a flah it's way too dark and you can't see the colors! I know it depends on the camera (I've tried three different cameras including my husbands big fancy Nikon D70 something-something), but are there any general tips I can try? Thanks!
I figured out a way to take pictures of the tank inside the water! just get a clear glass(ALLclear) and put your camera in the glass, preferably a nice long glass not too long so that you cant reach your button to take the picture but long enough to submerge the glass in the water and take the picture. I did this with a clear jar in the beginning when the tank was new and I think its one of the best ways to capture the aquascape.

check it out.

6.jpg

7.jpg

2.jpg

this is a picture of it from the outside. I took these when I was cycling the tank so I didnt have any fish. I have danios so its almost impossible for me to get a good picture of one. Taking good pictures of the fish I hear you have to be very patient. they way I described above is just to get a good angle. I used a clamp on light thingy so thats why it looks bright. The jar was kind of big so I had to remove the hood and stuff.

good luck I hope you get good pictures!

Last edited by leogtr; 02-24-2011 at 10:45 AM..
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Old 02-24-2011, 12:03 PM   #3
 
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Lisa it is always a struggle for me to get decent pictures as well. What I have done so far is...

1.) If using a flash have the lens very very close to the glass and shoot at a slight angle. This prevents the big glass/flash flare



Unfortunately what seems to happen is the color will be off a little. This particular fish is a stunning blue and on here looks a dull Grey/blue. On here, she looks kind of dirty or something. Some fish are easier to photograph then others.


the snail was with a flash while I was in a dark room shooting into a well lit tank. Also, this is a slightly longer exposure as one can do with a slower moving snail vs. a fast fish.


Longer exposure, faster ISO No flash

2.) Change the ISO setting on your camera to 1600 so you don't need the flash. Also get close to the tank again. Shoot toward the lighter part of the tank. I do this in a dark room so you are shooting at the light source.





I have seen professional pictures taken and they use a flash that is hooked up to the top of the tank and aimed down into the water. IT is synced with the camera so it flashes as the shutter opens. I think this is the best way but... who has the time or money to invest in that? Not me, sadly.

Last edited by Inga; 02-24-2011 at 12:07 PM..
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Old 02-24-2011, 12:07 PM   #4
 
I seem to have trouble taking good pics as well. I'll try a few tips from this thread and see if I can't improve :)
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Old 02-24-2011, 12:09 PM   #5
 
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post some before and after pics. Maybe you will learn something new to share with the rest of us. :)
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Old 02-24-2011, 01:10 PM   #6
 
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Oooo. Great pics and great tips everyone. I can't wait to try these out at home! For now, I'll post some of my attempts and tomorrow I'll post all my glorious and gorgeous new pics!

This red betta has these bright bluish lines and scales that are just gorgeuos but here he just looks like a dull red blob...



I think this one is my best and favorite pic. I love these little guys



I love how bright he is in this one but the glowing eyes really bug me.




This is the same fish as above but he looks almost black here. I love the "Gimme a kiss" face though



Another bright blue (which I like) but you can see the flash and again the eyes are shining.



I like this one, and as some of you mentioned, it was taken at an angle down the glass.



Here you can see some of the blue scales I mentioned before, but the flash is in the corner. It seems like if I want to get the color, I have to deal with the flash and the bright eyes, if I want a clean picture, it's going to be dark and dull... humph.
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Old 02-24-2011, 01:16 PM   #7
 
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One more tip that I thought of. If your camera allow it. Use the manuel focus. You can go as far as to foucs on an area that is light enough and wait for the fish to move there. Taking good pictures of fish is a lesson in patience for sure. I still have not captured a really nice one of my Blue Gourami or my rainbow shark. Practice makes perfect, as they say. :)

I LOVE your Blue Betta. Wow! Love the coloring.
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Old 02-24-2011, 10:41 PM   #8
 
I would not recommend the glass method at all. That is a very good way to risk losing a camera. If you are willing to take the risk go for it then, I know a few of us have cameras that are not easy to replace.

Here are my tips:

1. Room MUST be dark, you need to minimize non-fish tank light sources as best as you can. Otherwise you will have reflections on the glass. Reflection + auto focus = no good.

2. Stay still. Don't chase the fish. #1 reason fish come out blurry is because they are moving too fast. Track them with the camera steadily and take a pic the second the fish slows down.

3. I don't suggest flash, it distorts colors anyway. But if you need to use flash I honestly suggest the opposite of what was suggested before. If you use flash stand way back from your tank and zoom in. If your camera doesn't have zoom then your on your own with flash.

4. Fish tanks are poorly lit which makes photography hard. Especially since fish are uncooperative fast moving targets. Best I can say here is try to use the "action" or "macro" setting. For those that are familiar with manual controls, use a low ISO and a shutter speed of 1/20sec. or faster if you can. Inga I'm confuse why you suggest high ISO... sure gives you lower light abilities, but it shows a lot in pictures =/. I almost always shoot with ISO at 100, Aperture wide open, and then slow down the shutter as much as I can before things go underexposed. If I still need it faster then I will let off the ISO tiny bit...

5. If there is some way to increase the overhead lighting on the tank with a desk lamp or something temporarily this should help a lot.

6. IMO use auto or manual focus, what ever one works best for you. Some cameras have very bad auto focus and work best manually focused. I barely know how to use manual focus on my camera. The auto focus works of me or I can easily trick it.

In the end though, the camera and user can make all the difference. It does take awhile to learn the basics of photography, and I don't even think I have mastered them yet. Anyone can do it though and once you know what you are doing quite a few cheap point and shoots can be pushed to their limit.
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Old 02-25-2011, 07:59 AM   #9
 
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I'm not even going to post my attempts from last night. I was just using my camera phone because my husband has his camera with him. I tried the macro setting and that helped a lot with the clarity but I still can't get the colors! Especially of my red betta. I need some sort of extra lighting source inside the aquarium. I'm thinking about just pulling him out next time I change water and trying to get oics of him in a smaller cup...
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Old 02-25-2011, 08:12 AM   #10
 
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An inexpensive tripod will definitely help steady your photos!
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