A basic guide to Fish Photography...
A basic guide to fish photography.
This is a basic guide to fish photography. I have kept it as simple as I possibly could. I hope some of you get a little help from it.
Step 1 ... Preparing for the session ...
a) First things first. Clean the tank inside and outside as nothing will mess with your pics more than water streaks or algae spots. Your camera will focus on these instead of your subject and your pictures will be distorted.
b) After cleaning the aquarium, let things settle for a few hours until your filter clears any debris that you have disturbed. Floating particles don't look good in your fish pictures.
c) Before taking any pics, turn off any other light sources in the room like lights, tv's etc. Draw the drapes or pull the blinds to exclude any outside light as well. Turn of your filter, this will let things settle in the tank and insure there are little or no unwanted particles floating in the tank.
Step 2 ... Setting the camera ...
Photographing fish is not easy, especially photographing small, fast moving fish. So, it's best to start with basic settings and then get more adventurous once you have mastered those.
The basic settings for fish photography ...
* Flash on
* ISO set to 100/200
* Macro on
* Set on auto
* Image size large
a) If your camera has a flash setting you can reduce it to half power or so. Alternatively, you can diffuse the flash if it is too bright by taping some tissue paper over it loosely as you don't want it over heating. Using the flash enables you to obtain that faster shutter speed to freeze the movement of a fast swimming fish.
b) Using a low ISO will help you get more light on the subject, a higher ISO will make the pictures sharper, but the higher you go the more noise you will get in your pics (your pictures will be grainy). I find the ISO of 100 to be good for fish pics.
c) Switch your macro on, this is usually a small flower symbol on the shooting menu, it will enable you to get close up pics of your fish.
d) Set the camera to auto and let it do the work. When incorporated with the macro feature, your camera will automatically focus on the subject. It's a good idea to set your image size to large, this way you can take a picture from further back, crop the image to get the bit you want and not lose any of the image quality.
Step 3 ... Taking the picture ...
a) Study your fish and get to know their movements and anticipate when they are going to make that turn for the action shot you are after.
b) Focus on a spot in the tank, a rock, plant or a bit of driftwood, half depress the shutter button to auto focus, wait on a fish to swim by and click, you have the shot.
c) Using a tripod ... I don't as a rule use a tripod, except for full tank pics. I find it makes it difficult to track a fish's swimming pattern. Instead find your self a steady base like a table or the back of a chair to rest your arms on and help keep your camera steady.
d) Eliminate flash bounce back ... Never aim you camera straight at the tank as the flash will bounce straight back at you. Instead, hold your camera at a slight angle away from you, this will eliminate the problem.
e) Using the zoom ... Instead of using the zoom on your camera (using the zoom loses some image quality) stand back a little, take the pic, then crop to size required.
f) Remember those settings ... Most fish you'll find will appear better at different settings, so if you hit on a good setting for your favourite fish, write it down for future reference. It's also not a good idea to try to many different settings in one session. Try different settings one at a time and see what works best for you.
g) Finally ... Don't be afraid to take lots of pics--Remember the more you take, the better chance you have of getting those one or two great pics.
h) Using a dark background, blue/black works well, will help your fish stand out more resulting in better pics.
I hope you have got a tip or two from this basic guide to fish photography. Happy snapping and we'll look forward to your fish pics.
Last edited by fins_n_fur; 11-29-2008 at 02:55 PM.
Hey thanks for the tips! Ive been trying to get better at fish pictures, and this will help me get there.
Great sticky!!! When I get something other than my camera phone and disposables,(lol) this will come in handy.
excellent tips on shooting the fish. I find though with a tripod you can get better light though I know hard to get a moving fish with the tripod. Sports setting is good. Incandescent is good as well it makes things bluish. Did mike say the ISO was 100/200 why was that? I will remember that tip about the flash. Covering it... well that might be good. So turn off all lights. IT is hard to get clowns in the morning. Pics are coming out better in the nightime.
oh how do i get into a sticky to read it?
Good write-up for a picture noob like my self. Explained some things that were unclear before.
Great sticky. Thanks. I really need this info, to help get better fish pics. Cheers,
Be a responsible fish keeper! Study before buying!
Never give in to impulse buying of Aquatic Fish.
That is a very informative write up.
I havn't used my macro settings yet.
I may have a go soon and see what happens.