Taking Great Fish Photos (How To)

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katiekat

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not so sure about the 'pro' look i think each pic has to be judged on its merits and for what it is meant to be...
those pics are fantastic, whether you want the background sharp or blurred will depend as much on what is in the background as what you want it to look like..
another important factor to good fish photography as displayed in your pictures is clear water and clean glass :)


Hi there! Thanks for your tips regarding taking great fish photos.. It will surely help me since I'm a frustrated photographer and I think fishes are a great subject.
 

HappyGeorge

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Ok i have a kodak easyshare dx6340 its 3.1 mp and has 4x Optical Zoom but I don't know how to just focus on the fish like that and have the background out of focus like that gourami. So I would really appreciate it if you guys could give me any advise? Remeber I'm new to taking good pics so yeah... :)

THX

Just saw this and I know it's pretty old but having read through the entire thread I can't find the following information anywhere

People have asked a lot about getting shots in focus and in most cases the blur is caused by the fact that the subject matter is in an area of poor light and therefore an automatic camera will try and turn the flash on, which results in many cases in flash back from the glass.
The more experienced may try and turn the flash off, and when this happens the camera tries to slow down the shutter speed in order to let enough light in to make the picture, obviously the best way round this is to have a camera where you can manually control all aspects of the camera, and thus force it to take the picture according to your instructions, and many ways of doing this have already been discussed but I would add this.

In most situations keeping the camera still is a pre-requisite of getting a good clear, well focused, crisp image, but when shooting moving images you can throw these rules out of the window. How do you think they get those great shots of Sports cars, speedboats or racehorses crystal clear with a blurred background, the ones that show the movement of the subject and dont just freeze it in place like a statue?
The answer is that the photographer moves the camera as he presses the shutter, it is possible to get a crystal clear image of a fast moving fish by tracking its movement across the tank as you take the photo, just like tracking a target with a shotgun, or chasing your dog with a hosepipe. Try it, it works, and will allow you to tweak other settings.
Here is a quick snap of one of my Synos, he is 2.5" long and moving very quickly through the tank with the lights on, notice the amount of blur on the shell, this was in focus when camera was still, the blur comes from following the Syno as I took the picture. Its slightly soft but I'm sure you all know how fast these suckers move.

syno.jpg
 

yasinullah

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hey all,

I got my canon 500d over the weekend and being new to SLRs am still learning the basics, practiced snapping me fishies but was wondering what shutter speed and ISO setting are recommended, guessing it would vary between tanks because of different lighting used. Would adjusting the aperture also be useful? I have the std 18 - 55mm lens kit and a 50mm lens.

Thanks :hyper:
 

hensonc4098

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I shoot fish portraits at shutter speed 1/200, ISO 100 or 200 and the lowest f-number possible to blur the background.

In response to Carters post, I always use flash when doing fish portraits. I find it helps freeze the photo and reduce blur. Here are some examples of photos I've taken (I took the one in my sig too)

Crops002.jpg

Crops001.jpg

Crops003.jpg

DSC_0104.jpg


Regards,
Claire
 

yasinullah

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heya, thanks for the tips :good:

those are amazing pics. The pic in your sig is really good too!!!
 
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This is one I took at the London Aquarium, I think. Before I got a fish tank.



I have a couple of good basic tips for anyone with a DSLR, or even a compact with some advanced functions.

  1. Try to learn how to use your camera in manual mode, where you can control the shutter speed, ISO, depth of focus, etc. When set to auto, most cameras will generally give you a slow shutter speed due to the lack of light when photographing a tank indoors. Coupled with your hand movement (if you're not using a tripod, which you probably won't be if your fish aren't sitting very still), this will prevent you from getting a nice, sharp picture.
  2. Ultimately, what you want is the highest shutter speed you can obtain while keeping the exposure in the best range. This will mean compensating with a wide aperture, but luckily fish are very small subjects, and are quite well suited to this. I think this is what somebody was referring to as the 'professional look', with the background soft and blurred, but the fish's features in focus (as with my photo above). So basically what you want is high shutter speed, low F-number. If your photo is still under-exposed, you will need a high ISO setting as well, to brighten it up some more. Unfortunately, this can cause a bit of grain in the darker areas of the photo (you can also see this in my photo - I have a feeling I may have had to put it as high as ISO 1600).
  3. Canon cameras have a focus mode called AI Servo (I think it's called "Continuous" or something on Nikons). What this does is keeps the subject in focus, even if it is moving. So you focus on the fish by pushing the shutter button down halfway, then track it if it's moving around a bit, and the AI will help keep it in focus as long as you are still holding the button down halfway. It doesn't always work perfectly in all situations, but definitely helps sometimes.
  4. If your camera can, put the shooting mode on continuous. This allows you to hold down the shutter button and keep taking snaps in rapid succession. This may help increase your chances of getting a keeper.
 

drsquirrel

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I know it's picky, but not all Canon DSLRs have AI Servo (even if they show it in the hidden menu options etc), this is more common of the older models etc (300D etc).

very nice pic btw, just the right amount dof :)



It's pretty obvious to see Macro Mode mentioned, and i'm always telling people about this for many reasons.

What might be handy to point out, is that Macro Mode doesn't instantly give you the ability to focus from 1cm away, even macro on my last phone could only focus at 30cm.



To stop reflections you can use a dark sheet attached to the glass with suckers(etc) in the corners and a hole in the middle "tied" around the lens, this is brilliant for stopping reflections whilst working with natural light.


Also there is nothing wrong with panning the camera at the speed of the fish, can get some nice background blur giving the fish some motion whilst having the fish in focus.

Example: http://www.octumo.com/photography/wp-content/uploads/yapb_cache/aston.d68v827pv0zx0cwgc8k04ok8k.e5ia0heh5096w4gsgc4gsw044.th.png
 

tenantfile

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add some more pics to your post and, to stop reflections you can use a dark sheet attached to the glass with suckers(etc) in the corners and a hole in the middle "tied" around the lens, this is brilliant for stopping reflections whilst working with natural light.
 

Blubble37

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If your tank is planted like mine, you can turn off the filter with great caution for a few moments allowing the plants to stop swaying or bending in the flow. Do not forget to switch it back on immediately otherwise you will have great pics of dead fish.
Not quite true, the filter can survive about half an hour before the bacteria start to die. Nice pics though...
 
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Thanks for the advice, helpful as it will save e from buying the under water housing for my Canon G12, which i brought specifically for this tank project. Since i can't get my main Canon 1d mk iv :hey: in the tank lol
 

big_sw2000

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Ok i love taking photos of my tank, been using a Panasonic crossover camera, its ok, but not the best.
Ive now got my hands on a Canon D400 slr camera, and learning a little bit. But still i have no idea about manual mode, which i would love learn.
Had a play last night in loads of difrent modes, and really struggled to get a nice sharp photo of a fish. Plants and anything still looks great. A big improvement on the old camera.
ive been told im good at taking photos. Espiacilly motorsport, and out whilest im walking. Been told i have a nack of selecting a good looking photo. One reason why ive always wanted an SLR, to try and improve things. Although not being abe to afford one untill now, i had a cracking deal on this second hand one.
Getting a bit frustrated with not being able to get a good tank photo, or as good as i expect.

Anyone have any experiance with the D400, or can any please help me. Maybe explaine it about manual mode.
I have no instruction book, and dont really know anything about setting up the camera. ISO levels, shutter speed anything really.

Thanks Steve
 

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