How-To Take Great Photos at the Aquarium

Looking to reorder the souvenir photo taken at the entrance to the aquarium?
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Probably THE BIGGEST challenge when photographing an aquarium is dealing with reflections in the glass. If you are able to, turn off other lights and the television in the room. That may sound like blasphemy, but don’t worry, the TV is a forgiving deity. Don’t wear bright, reflective colors, if you can help it (unless you WANT to see your reflection in the aquarium glass). Position the camera as close to the aquarium glass as you can.
Here are Zoo and Aquarium Visitor’s top ten tips to help you become a great aquarium photographer.
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Aquarium images aren’t as easy as I had initially thought. Trying to keep moving subjects in focus that are being lit by low-level artificial lighting is just the tip of the photographic iceberg. And although it took me a while to come up with the ideal exposure, I've got a pretty solid starting point. Shoot on Manual + Auto ISO + 1/125 sec. + f/5.6 = nice photos of fish shot in a barrel …err, I mean… aquarium. That's it, five tips for better aquarium photography, happy shooting.
Photo provided by FlickrFor Aquarium Photography we rarely need to raise our ƒ-stop above its lowest setting.
Photo provided by FlickrGallery: Camden's Adventure Aquarium (PHOTOS)
Photo provided by Flickr
With a quick internet search or visit to your favorite aquatic website you can quickly find pictures from Terry Seigel, Bob Fenner, Corey Kruitbosch, Shane Silcox, Skip Attix, Greg Rothschild, Jake Pehrson, and Lorenzo Gonzales. And aren’t those pictures amazing? Have you ever wondered how some people take those amazing photographs of their aquariums? Do you see many aquatic pictures on the internet and in magazines and wish they were pictures of your tank? Well, hopefully with a little help and a lot of practice you can.
When working with aquarium photography there are some etiquette rules or guidelines worth mentioning. The first guideline was already mentioned. That is, the photographs you take and share should be as close to portraying the actual item. In other words, it would be deceitful to take a picture and alter it to look different from the real image. This is a growing trend which needs to be curbed. The good news? Ford, a fine-art shooter and photography professor at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY, has catalogued a set of techniques that makes shooting in large aquariums doable. Here we offer a handful of his best.
A third guideline for taking aquarium photographs is adjusting the file size. It is always best to take pictures in the highest setting/best quality possible. After such pictures are taken they can be manipulated for color and cropped for subject matter. Then remember what you are doing with these pictures. If they are to be printed in a large size than it is certainly best to keep them in their large format. If the pictures are to be emailed or used for online posting, then it is best to shrink them down. Wet Web Media and many other websites prefer photographs sent with approximately 150 pixels in width.A second guideline for taking aquarium pictures deals specifically with taking pictures of fishes. When displaying a picture of a fish it is proper to take a picture of the left side of the fish. In other words, the fish is facing left. This isn’t always possible, and in general a picture of a fish facing right can be flipped and mirror image is used. There are of course exceptions to this rule including: never flip a picture that has a human in the photo, never flip a picture of a non-bilaterally symmetric fish (i.e. flounders), and internal dissection pictures are taken on the right sides of the fishes.Editing photos is a very popular method of color correction and enhancement. It is particularly important with aquarium photos due to unusual coloration and lighting that can be picked up from the camera sensor. DSLR Raw photos also need to be processed before they can be used. There are a number of free and paid programs that enable the user to change contrast, brightness, shadows, saturation and color balances. Editing your photos can make a huge difference in what the end result looks like, it is nice to have the photos replicate what we see with our own eyes and not what the camera perceives. It is also helpful improving the color and definition making for spectacular photographs that can be entered in competitions.