25 July 2009

5 Steps to Easy Aquarium Photography

aquarium photography

Do you have an aquarium that you have spent countless hours to nurture? And now you wish you can have it photography.

Aquarium photography is not something very complicated to do, however due that the aquarium is made of glass, any light shining on it will give a bad reflection and this will affect your photos. Therefore direct flashing to the aquarium is a big NO.

In this post, I manage to do a aquarium photography of my marine aquarium without any flash. All I need was a bright aquarium lamp that light up every corner of the aquarium. Unfortunately this time, the aquarium was light up using a 6400K lamp. This will give a warm white color. For better lighting effect for marine aquarium, it is recommended to use light with white and blue color, ie marine lamp.

Here’s how I do it

Step 1 : Before you start
  • Make sure that the aquarium glass is clean and spotless. Remove those spot algae if there are any and clean the class with solution to remove any handprint.
  • Make sure the water does not have any floating debris. Is there’s some, check your water filter and make sure is working well. A healthy aquarium should have clear and clean water.
  • Leave the light on for a while so that the fishes can get use to the light and not hiding behind the rocks. Do some small amount of feeding to bring the out to the front.
  • Place the hood lamp toward the front of the aquarium. You want the front part to be bright so that no backlight effect on you fishes.

Step 2 : Position your camera

Using a tripod, place your camera in front, perpendicular to the aquarium. Look into your viewfinder and make sure there’s minimum lens distortion of the aquarium. This is particularly critical if you are using a zoom lens. On this picture, I’ve set the focus length to 35mm.

If you are using a prime lens, then it should be much easier. Once the camera is perfectly setup, we will proceed to step 3

Step 3 : Set your aperture, ISO and shutter speed

In order to get a good exposure of the aquarium, it is better to use higher f stop to increase depth of field and faster shutter speed to minimize movement artifact. This setting will contribute to low light intensity and most of the time you will have to compensate with higher ISO setting.

In this picture, I’m using ISO 800, F7.1, 1/80s

Now you are all ready. If you have a remote trigger device, please you it.

Step 4 : Wait for the right moment

All you need to do now is to wait for your fishes to come out and photograph it. Take as many photo as can so that you have enough option to choose the best take.

Step5 : post processing.
  1. Once you have completed the photography, do some touch up with your photo editing software. This will give your photo some punch!
  2. Check out the white light balance; adjust a little to make the photo look a bit bluish. Adjust the brightness and contrast and the curves to give a much balance exposure.
  3. Perform noise reduction as high ISO will induce certain amount of noise to your picture
  4. Perform sharpness enhancement. This make your photo look sharper
  5. Crop off those unnecessary things. Make your photo much focus to the tank then the surrounding.

By now you should have a decent looking aquarium photo. Enjoy your aquarium photography! There are many other techniques used by others but this is what I preferred most.

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