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How to photograph fish in an aquarium? An amateur's experience!

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Dear friends, I’ll say right away that the article was written by an amateur for fans too. And it describes how I used to photograph fish in an aquarium. If anyone has ideas and advice, please share in the comments or social networks.

My photos in Instagram -https://www.instagram.com/amazonium_net/

Swordtail fishes at the aquarium can be seen in this image. Swordfish in the aquarium are shown in this image.
Swordtail fishes in the aquarium.

The difficulty of the process!

I think that taking pictures of fish in an aquarium is much more difficult than taking any other photos. All the most complex factors in one place have gathered here. Here they are in the list:

  1. Glare and reflections from your own body, glass, water and other objects in the aquarium when taking pictures!
  2. Insufficient lighting and impossibility to use the flash.
  3. Shooting of motion and fast moving objects.
  4. The small size of the objects to be shot.
Nikon D3100 EKEN and Samsung S6 EDGE can be seen in this image. Nikon D3100,  Eken and Samsung S 6EDGE can be seen in this picture.
Nikon D3100, Eken and Samsung with macro lenses.

To photograph fish in an aquarium, I use a reflex camera Nikon D3100, smartphone Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge and action camera EKEN. Since we all have different devices for shooting, I will not go into the settings of each of them, but just write general recommendations.

Let's remove glare and reflection!

To properly photograph the aquarium and its inhabitants, first of all you need to get rid of the main problem - reflections and glare from glass and water. Otherwise, along with a photograph of a fish, we get a picture of the room, hands and our body in a reflected form. To look at such a photo is not enough.

In order to get rid of this, I use a large piece of matte black fabric. Like a black sheet. We cover the aquarium completely and climb with the camera under the fabric. Now the room is no longer reflected in the pictures. Left their own body and arms. To hide the reflection, just put on everything black and not shiny. Black T-shirt, hood, hat, gloves. The more parts of the body you can close, the better.

The forum on the photos recommended the use of a rubber nozzle on the lens, the so-called “plunger”. It will save from the glare, but more suitable for still shooting. And with the fish it will not work, because of their active movements.

You can also use special light polarizing filters on the lens. Yes, they help, but at the same time they “steal” the precious light, which we already really lack.

Nikon D3100 and polarizing filter can be seen in this image. The SLR camera and polarizing filter are shown in this photo.
Nikon D3100 and polarizing filter.
In simple words, the polarization filter delays reflections, thereby making the glass and water transparent.


The next big problem for us is insufficient lighting. In the aquarium, the light has to make its way not only through the water column, but also through the thickets of aquarium plants. And for high-quality photography, light is the main thing.

And at the same time, we can not use the flash to photograph the aquarium. First, it is very harmful for fish. Up to retinal detachment and blindness. Secondly, the flash of a camera or smartphone, again, reflected from the glass and will be visible in the photo. Some photographers recommend using side flashes or spotlights. But, as for me, the side lighting greatly changes the color of the fish.

Therefore, I simply remove the plants floating on the surface and add a couple of lamps from another aquarium.

Shooting of motion and fast moving objects.

Scalare male can be seen in this image.
Scalare in the aquarium!

Catching a good frame with fish is not easy at all. And if you are not a professional photographer, then to facilitate this task, just put the camera or smartphone in the “sports shooting” mode. Do not forget to turn off the flash. So your technique will select less suitable settings and allow you to focus on the process itself.

Macro photography.

Ram cichlid (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi) can bee seen in this image. Ramirezi-aquarium fish is shown in this picture.
Ramirezi and macro photography.

Very often, when shooting an aquarium, I want to photograph some detail in close-up. Special macro lenses for cameras are extremely expensive. So what then to do?

And the output is like that. You can buy special lenses with the approach, but not for the camera, but for the smartphone. On the same Aliexpress There is a wide choice of both individual lenses and whole sets.

Macro lens for mobile phone (smartphone) can be seen in this image. Macro lenses for mobile phone are presented in this picture.
Macro lens for smartphone.

I myself bought a lens with an 18 magnification. Very satisfied. Here link.

Pistia and macro photo can be seen in this image. Pistia and macro are depicted in this photo.
Pistia and macro photography.

Useful advice!

If you want to take high quality pictures of fish, then a couple more tips will come in handy.

The day before the photo shoot, clean the aquarium and replace some of the water. The next day, the water in the aquarium will be crystal clear. Clean the glass, both inside and out, otherwise then you have to spend time in special programs for processing photos and remove dirt and stains. Do not feed the fish before shooting. First, the feed usually muddies the water. And secondly, you will then have to clean up in the photo editor long tapes of excrement protruding from the fish.

And further! It often happens that there was just a magical moment in the aquarium and we urgently need to take a photo. (Shrimp sat on a snail, fry or mating games appeared in the fish). Therefore, always keep your photo equipment with charged batteries and near the aquarium.

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How to make photo of your fish?
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How to make photo of your fish?
How to make photo of your fish? Personal experience and goo in advices!
Vadims Krjuckovs (amazonium)
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