How to Go About a fish photo shoot - an amateur version

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jibran_shariff
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How to Go About a fish photo shoot - an amateur version

Unread postby jibran_shariff » Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:30 am

Fish photography can be real fun, but requires some amount of preparation
some of the things i do before i go about are

- clean the tank a day before the photo shoot
- clean the glass inside and outside so, that there are no smudges or water trails on the outside of the glass, and there is no algal growth or a layer of detritus on the inside of the glass
- the best time to photograph would be during the evening so that there isn't any stray light when shooting fish, I usually shoot after 7pm, and switch of the room lights and keep only the tank lights on.
- the placement of lights in the tank is best when u keep the lights in such a way that the light falss on the subject and reflects back on the camera, as shown in the figure below.

Image

once the lights are setup, you are ready to shoot, but need to get the camera in the right setting, which can be ascertained by firing a few test shots.

heres my toy list i use for a photoshoot
* camera mounted with a lens, that suits the kind of fish i am photographing.
* a remote trigger with receivers that can trigger off camera flash units. (these are quite cheap, i got mine from ebay, yongnuo RF301)
* a flash unit mounted on a receiver, so that it can be triggered off camera.(yongnuo ones are quite cheap, and perform quite well)
* a home made diffuser, to keep the lighting even.

Note: Shooting with an off camera flash helps get the best contrast, when the flash is kept over head of the subject, for detail its best to keep the light facing the subject.

Image
a pic of the flash with the diffuser mounted on.


the flash unit along with the receiver is then mounted onto the tripod, as most of of my tanks have hoods which are opaque, i have to keep the flash over an open tank and hence the tripod
heres a pic of how i place the flash unit over the tank
Image

and heres a shot of how the tank illuminates with the flash fired from above
Image

once the above is done,
then comes the part to wait for the fish and shoot with the right settings.

the best pics come when the fish is the closest to the front of the glass, as the media inbetween the fish and the glass is as less as possible and hence keeping the pics crystal clear

many photographers usually shoot in a selected region of the tank and don't deviate much from the region, and wait for the fish to come into the selected region

heres a depiction of the three regions
Image

in the above pic we can see three regions
bright area - this area is usually overexposed and hence affect in pictures wither coming too bright or clipped(data loss due to over exposed subject)
darkly lit area - this area is underexposed and hence the subject is usually underexposed and hence the pictures are dark
preferred area - this area will have the best lighted subjects and will not be too bright nor too dark.

these area will vary depending on many different factors, some of them are
- tank size
- color of the substrate
- color of the water
- if a diffuser is used or not
- type of decor in the tank, of which the light may bounce

tank size - if the tank is too small, then most of the area in the tank will be bright and the best method to overcome this is to reduce the intensity of the light and then shoot a few test shots before ascertaining the best region, which usually is much lower.

color of the substrate - if the substrate is dark then there usually is no issues, but if is a bright color like white, u may have to move towards the top of the tank to get the best results

color of water - if the water is tea colored the upper region of the tank is the best place to shoot. as the water tends to diffuse most of the light.

with a diffuser - the best region would be the top of the tank rather than the mid level or the lower levels.

some times the decor also helps, example a driftwood kept at the bottom gives a nice diffused light when a subject is closer to it.


now comes the settings to be kept on a camera

most of the cameras whether a digital camera or a digital slr, have something known as PSAM, where i use M (manual), here the camera lets u decide the shutter speed as well as the aperture that u would like to use.

the shutter speed is best kept at the highest ur flash can sync with, mine syncs at 200th of a second.
once this is done u may start at F8 as ur aperture size and change based on the results u get with test shots, if the shots are bright then increase the Fnumber and if the shots are underexposed reduce the Fnumber

heres a test shot with the above setup

Image



DISCLAIMER: the flash units and trigger brand is just something i use for my photography, neither I nor does the site hold any responsibility for any loss incurred while buying or using these items.

Enjoy Fishkeeping and Photography.



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Abhishek
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Re: How to Go About a fish photo shoot - an amateur version

Unread postby Abhishek » Wed Nov 16, 2011 12:21 pm

Hey Jib,

Awesome post :)

Now I felt and now got strong belief from your post that external flash is one of the most important thing for aquarium photography... becoz the inbuilt flash wont work to such an effect :(

And about increasing the aperture to F8, is it to achieve more depth of field or some other reasons are there?

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Re: How to Go About a fish photo shoot - an amateur version

Unread postby SCORPIO » Wed Nov 16, 2011 3:04 pm

Nice article. It will be helpful for novice photographers like as me. Great effort.
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Re: How to Go About a fish photo shoot - an amateur version

Unread postby ishaan » Wed Nov 16, 2011 3:27 pm

thanks it will help hobbyist like me to get some great shots of the fishes :D
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Re: How to Go About a fish photo shoot - an amateur version

Unread postby jack » Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:24 pm

good article, will help amateur like me to knew what photography is.... but this needs a good camera though.... i have Nikon Digital camera
Finally i am Broke but Happy :D

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Re: How to Go About a fish photo shoot - an amateur version

Unread postby maaz » Wed Nov 16, 2011 8:44 pm

hey Jibs ....Awesome post buddy ;)

your post is about very good camera and expensive too..

Jibs i have Kodak C143..I like photography too..But i dont have SLR..

I have one question..How I click these kind of pic with my camera..

Any Suggestions are welcome..
Regards,

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maazahmad84@gmail.com

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Re: How to Go About a fish photo shoot - an amateur version

Unread postby jibran_shariff » Wed Nov 16, 2011 10:00 pm

Abhishek wrote:Hey Jib,

Awesome post :)

Now I felt and now got strong belief from your post that external flash is one of the most important thing for aquarium photography... becoz the inbuilt flash wont work to such an effect :(

And about increasing the aperture to F8, is it to achieve more depth of field or some other reasons are there?

external flash are important

aperture kept at f8 does help u get a good DOF, provided u are at a good distance, and most lenses give the sharpest and bets Images at F8

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jibran_shariff
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Re: How to Go About a fish photo shoot - an amateur version

Unread postby jibran_shariff » Wed Nov 16, 2011 10:14 pm

SCORPIO wrote:Nice article. It will be helpful for novice photographers like as me. Great effort.

glad that it helps you

ishaan wrote:thanks it will help hobbyist like me to get some great shots of the fishes :D

glad that it helps you

jack wrote:good article, will help amateur like me to knew what photography is.... but this needs a good camera though.... i have Nikon Digital camera

not necessarily a basic digicam that has the bare minimum functionality
most of the new age digicams have a niice sensor and lot of features

maaz wrote:hey Jibs ....Awesome post buddy ;)

your post is about very good camera and expensive too..

Jibs i have Kodak C143..I like photography too..But i dont have SLR..

I have one question..How I click these kind of pic with my camera..

Any Suggestions are welcome..

not necessarily an expensive one, most of the cameras such as the new nikons, canons and panasonic which are whithin the price range of 10-15K, have the features discussed above

photography is all about good lighting, if u have a good light over the tank which is placed correctly, even in auto mode u can get great pictures

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Re: How to Go About a fish photo shoot - an amateur version

Unread postby maaz » Thu Nov 17, 2011 12:01 am

ok Thanks Jibs...you click good..suggest me some..
Regards,

Maaz Ahmad
09827235851
maazahmad84@gmail.com

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Re: How to Go About a fish photo shoot - an amateur version

Unread postby rocky2 » Thu Nov 17, 2011 3:38 am

thaks jib your post relly helps