Noodles' Fish Photogaphy Tips

NCaquatics

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Many of you seem to like my photos, and while I struggle trying to teach others, I will do my best at putting together a small blog full of tips to help others with their photos.

I do photography as a hobby, I do have a DSLR camera (big fancy $$$ camera with the attachable lenses, for those not familiar with the term) but majority of my fish photos are taken with my smartphone! It's quicker and easier for me.

I did take photography class back in high school, over a decade ago. While some of the technical stuff escapes me, I can teach some of the basics that I still use today

Anyone who wants to be notified each time I update with new tips can be added to the tag list. I will tag you each time I update, unless you request I take you off the list. Just tell me you want to be tagged and I will add you!
 
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NCaquatics

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Basics!

Download a basic photo editor. If you use your phone, there is an app I like to use, it's free and has advanced features and beginner features.

I use it mostly for cropping and adjusting contrast and exposure. Face it, sometimes the camera misses out on the colours you see in person!

Look for an app thats easy for you to use. If you are on the computer, Google search GIMP free download. Its an art program, free, but a little complex to learn at first as there's little instruction with it. Youtube has some tutorials for it, however.

I personally use the photo editor in the app store, by dev.mcgyver for my phone photos. It's free and pretty versatile.

Screenshot_20200629-114243_Google Play Store.jpg


Feel free to try others out and see which you like best.
 

Colin_T

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Pfft digital cameras. You lot have it easy these days. Take a thousand pictures and check them on your pc. It costs you nothing but recharging the battery. Back when I learnt how to use a camera, we had black and white film, different size lenses, and no way of checking the images until the film was developed.

The film cost about $3.00 for b&w and $5.00 a roll for 24 colour exposures, and developing the film cost around $10-15.00 for 24 pictures. These prices were back in the 70s so it wasn't cheap.

As a comparison, we could fill the car up with fuel for $5.00 and that was a Falcon with a 66 litre fuel tank.

Digital cameras have made photography so much easier and cheaper :)
 
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NCaquatics

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Cropping and layout tips!

In photography, there is a basic layout usually applied to landscape images. I apply this to my fish photos.

It is called "The Grid of Nines". Lines are placed so there are nine boxes making up the photograph. As you get used to the idea of it, you can picture it in your head easier.

The idea is, you don't always want your subject dead center. This is often over used and often does not create a dynamic image. You want to line your subject on one of the intersecting lines in this grid!

You can see this grid with cropping in many programs. I try cropping my images to allow for the focal point (subject of focus) to line up on these spots.
Screenshot_20200628-224703_Photo Editor.jpg


I marked with an X the common spots to align your subject with

Screenshot_20200629-115113_Photo Editor.jpg


When choosing the location for your subject, you should consider the "movement" of your image. Where is the subject facing? Where is the subject moving to? You want to avoid having your subject facing the outside of your image. In my case, my betta is facing to the right, so I placed her more on the upper left intersection. This gives the image "movement". A fish looking like their swimming out of the image does not make the most effective photo.

You can also opt to place your subject in between the focal points, if they're long bodied. Again, subject is facing to the right, so I placed him on the left side.
Screenshot_20200629-113128_Photo Editor.jpg
 
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Avoiding glare!

This is a challenge with taking photos of creatures within a shiny glass box.

Be mindful of reflections. One, they can affect the image, but also we have all seen those ads on sales sites where someone stood in their underwear or worse in front of something reflective and potential buyers got quite a laugh.

Glare is even worse with bowfront tanks. Change the angle instead of keeping your camera straight. But, be aware glass distorts at different angles, so play around with how you hold your camera. Tilt it in different ways to see which way reduces the reflections on the glass.

Avoid using flash with your smartphone. Most smartphone flash aren't meant to take naturally nice photos. HOWEVER, flash is handy if you need a photo for health diagnostic reasons (looking for velvet, etc). But just for everyday "pretty" photos, flash with smartphones will invite terrible lighting. A DSLR is a different story. I will cover this shortly.

Flash catches bad reflection and darkens the overall photo. It is not a pleasant thing when you just want to take a "nice" photo.

Without flash.
20200629_121628.jpg


With flash.
20200629_121645.jpg



DSLR can use flash, but you may need to crop out the flash reflection. You can limit the flash reflection by, again, angling or tilting your camera to find the best angle that does not distort your image.

"But, Noodles, my fish keeps moving! How do I take a clear photo of my fish?"

That will come in the next post.
 
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Moving subjects!

Fish don't just magically sit still. Not usually. It is best to know the species you are trying to photograph. Are they a slow mover? Do they swim in short bursts with a still second in between? Are they nonstop never moving (good luck with this one!)? Know your subject!

A great feature of smartphones, if you hold the focus circle on the touch screen until it turns yellow, it locks your focus in place. This is an invaluable tool with photographing moving fish.

However, this has a trick.

Do not focus this circle ON THE FISH. This will not allow an easy focus. They move and will mess up your focus circle. Instead, focus on something near the fish instead that is not moving. If I take a close up of a bottom dweller, I will focus on a spot on the substrate and use that to lock my focus. Higher up, perhaps a leaf or branch. Locking your focus, you can move your phone with your subject so you can follow them and wait for the best moment to snap the photo. Wait for the fish to enter that locked focus zone.

Lock your focus. A yellow circle will usually indicate your focus is locked.
20200628_203025.jpg


Focus on the non moving object.
20200628_203025yes.jpg


Focusing on the moving fish will result in a difficult focus and you will usually end up with a blurry image.
20200628_203025no.jpg



Practice a lot. Take a LOT of photos and after review them and pick the best one. Discard the rest. This may result in hundreds of photos to sort through, and perhaps only one or two come out the way you want. That's okay. You succeed if you get one you like, even among hundreds.
 

PheonixKingZ

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Very helpful so far. I use the Photo editor in the photos app on my iPad.

When I take pictures with my "Good camera". I use the one on my PC.

Do you recommended using burst when photographing fast moving fish? I do from time to time, but not sure what your opinion is.
 
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NCaquatics

NCaquatics

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Very helpful so far. I use the Photo editor in the photos app on my iPad.

When I take pictures with my "Good camera". I use the one on my PC.

Do you recommended using burst when photographing fast moving fish? I do from time to time, but not sure what your opinion is.
If it works for you, go for it. Burst mode can snag you good photos if you prefer that method
 

Salty&Onion

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Tag me too. Really interested in doing better picture of my lil Bluetooth, since he stopped posing lol. What do you do when the photo is blurred or you see too many of these pixels?
 

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