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How Do You Take Such Wonderful Pictures?


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  • Regular Member

Many of the members here take such excellent photos of their fish. My pictures are always terrible, especially when I try to do anything in macro. If I get a decent shot, it's by sheer luck. Can any of you experts share some tips? What kind of camera do you use? Do you use manual settings, a tripod, a flash? Anything you could share would be sure to help!

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I am certainly no "expert", but I discovered a trick last week.

First, turn off your flash. If you have the ability to manually adjust your shutter speed, turn it up high enough so that you can catch your fish in action without a blur but not so high that the photo is extremely dark. Then import your photos into your computer and adjust the image using software. I use Photoshop Elements and apply the Smart Fix tool. This works very well for indoor aquarium photography. I don't know if it applies for pond photography. Perhaps someone else can give you advice that is specific to that setting.

I have a digital SLR camera (Nikon D50). A conventional digital camera would be hard to use for goldfish photography because of the lag between pressing the button and taking the picture.

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  • Regular Member

It has taken me over a year working with the setting and expermenting with lighting and such to get good pictures. I use the zoom lens a lot now. Don't be afraid to try out stuff.

I take 100 pictutes or more at a time and only 5 or 10 are any good. I just point and shoot, shoot, and shoot untill I get bored. lol

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1. Get good lighting, enough so you don't need a flash.

2. Learn to use the Macro setting if you have one.

3. Learn to shoot without jamming the shutter button. A gentle squeeze reduces camera shake.

4. Watch the pattern of your fish's movement, so you can anticipate where they will be.

5. Pick a good spot where they pass often, pre-focus (push the shutter down halfway and hold it) when they pass the spot. Don't take the shot now.

6. Wait till they head for the spot again, and gently squeeze the shutter all the way just before they get there.

When the pic is taken they will hopefully be in the right spot. Don't expect decent results on more than one in 10 tries.

Be patient, laugh at the "bad" shots, keep the decent shots, learn to use PhotoShop or something like it.

And we really should have a "worst fishy photos" thread so we can enjoy the bloopers. Maybe I'll start one tonight.

Have fun!

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Worst fish photos - I'd be a contender in that category for sure! :lol1

Thanks for the great advice, folks! I'm going to study each one in detail, and try things out.

I have found that the lag time on pushing the button is quite long - but my husband thinks there is a "fast" mode of some sort. I had thought that "no flash" would be the rule, and would bother the fish. I will have to try the "push the button down half way" trick. That migth help a lot! It takes so much time for the auto focus to kick in, that I miss the fish and/or it is too blurry.

I will definitely have to work on lighting, and setting shutter speed.

On my camera (Canon Powershot S3IS) the manual focus is not turning the lens like I am used to, but there is a little rocker-button in an awkward place that is really hard to control.

I found a small trick a while back - to feed the fish so they hover and chew - otherwise they fly around the tank too much. At least I could get them in range of the camera, but the pictures were still terrible. :( I also think that when they were in the aqarium, they saw the round, black lens of the camera and thought it was the maw of a predatory fish, and would avoid it.

I don't think Photoshop Elements would fix my terrible pictures, but I will have to look into that "Smart Fix" feature. I'm so used to my old image tools that I haven't migrated to Photoshop, but I will check it out.

I have to say again that I wouldn't have thought mere mortals could take such excellent pictures of fish if I hadn't seen them here. :)

Thanks again, and any more suggestions, do pass them on!

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I just have a point and shoot camera, a canon powershot s410, but I've had some luck with the macro mode. It does help to pre-focus the camera by pressing the shutter half way down, then waiting for the fish to swim by.

I also have really bad lighting, so I do use the flash sometimes. When I do, I make sure that I angle the camera down so that I don't get a reflection of the flash off the glass. Instead of pointing the camera straight at the tank, I angle it down at about a 45 degree angle from the front of the tank. Does that make sense?

I have to say, one of the joys of digital cameras is their ability to take lots and lots of photos and then delete all the bad ones before you ever develop any. :)

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • Regular Member

my cousin's husband is a professional photographer, and i actually asked him if he had any tips on taking pictures of fish in aquariums. he gave me a few pointers.

1. get as much light as you can to shine into the tank from above. Take whatever lamps and sources of light that are available and if you can, shine them into the tank. if possible, natural sunlight is the best.

2. turn off all outside lights that may glare off the glass. TURN OFF the flash.

3.set your camera to the highest shutter speed to avoid blur from the fish's movements.

hope this helps :D

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And we really should have a "worst fishy photos" thread so we can enjoy the bloopers. Maybe I'll start one tonight.

We already do! It's hilarious! So, Lantern, don't feel bad. Not all great photos are on purpose!

Worst Fishy Photos, Bloopers or just plain bad

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  • 1 year later...
  • Regular Member

i learned from a web where people said turn on the function of "continuous shooting". I tried. It did work, much better than before. Most cameras own the option that you could select 3pics in one second or 5pics in one second, something like that, named "continuous shooting". Turning that function on, at least one pic is much better than others. And the other factors that have influences on your pic are the light, quality of camera, hand shiver and so on

Edited by from china
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  • 4 months later...
  • Regular Member

i learned from a web where people said turn on the function of "continuous shooting". I tried. It did work, much better than before. Most cameras own the option that you could select 3pics in one second or 5pics in one second, something like that, named "continuous shooting". Turning that function on, at least one pic is much better than others. And the other factors that have influences on your pic are the light, quality of camera, hand shiver and so on

The continuous shot, plus macro seems to work pretty decent. Thanks!

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  • 1 year later...
  • Regular Member

I used to take pictures of my marine fish all the time with my DSLR.

In this album there are about 4 fish in there ( not really a marine fish person )

My link

I never use a point and shoot on fish so I can't really help there. With my DSLR ( canon 20D) I use tripod all the time. IMO this is a must. I also do not use flash. I turn ISO up quite a bit and make sure Aperture is higher than 5.6 I also make sure lens glass paralleled to tank glass.

I use a marco lens which is a Sigma 2.8 105mm.

Once I get my goldfish tank up I hope to post some pictures on this forum.

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  • Regular Member

Try to position your over-the-tank lights to the front of the tank. This will keep the shadows off the side of the fish you are trying to take a picture of. I used to show fish and this is how a tank should be set up. This is really important if you only have one bulb.

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  • 1 year later...
  • Regular Member

It has taken me over a year working with the setting and expermenting with lighting and such to get good pictures. I use the zoom lens a lot now. Don't be afraid to try out stuff.

I take 100 pictutes or more at a time and only 5 or 10 are any good. I just point and shoot, shoot, and shoot untill I get bored. lol

LOL! I do the same thing! I think the sight of the camera/phone freak out my fish a little though so I try to keep our session to a minimum. ~Flipper

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  • 1 month later...
  • Regular Member

I actually just took my background off of my tank and boy did it make a difference. I have a nice white wall to work with now, and photos turn out so much better. One thing I make sure I do is clean the glass before every photoshoot! Natural lighting is a plus, and I have an amazing selection of modes on my Canon EOS Rebel T3 that I can do just about anything and work with any kind of lighting. Being able to manually change shutter speed is one of your biggest helpers.

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