An aquarium is a great photographic opportunity for many reasons. The fish are very attractive to look at, full of color, textures and underwater images, because of their rarity and the difficulty in obtaining them, they become a very interesting scenario both for those who make the images and for those who observe them.
Now, nobody said it was easy. Aquariums combine everything that a photographer fears when he looks for quality in his images: lack of light, reflections and movement. There is nothing
- Set the camera to manual
- Or in speed priority mode
- Check the values of your histogram
- Turn off the flash
- Focus AF-C or AI Servo Mode
- Choose a light optic
- Approach the glass
- Prepare your composition and wait
- Research your customs
- Shoot in burst
- Adjust white balance
- Work in RAW format
- Be patient
Let’s look at these tips one by one.
1. SET THE CAMERA TO MANUAL …
- Once in manual mode you must indicate a minimum speed to freeze the movement of the fish. Since they are constantly moving but often do slowly, with a speed shutter of 1 / 125s may have an image perfectly frozen. However, check the result on the enlarged screen and verify. If you need more speed, raise another point.
- Work with diaphragm openings wide enough so that a good portion of the scene is focused, but without giving up the low light you have. A good opening on which to base could be f / 5.6.
- Once you have defined the above parameters, set the ISO so that the exposure is correct . Remember that the higher the ISO the more noise, so try to keep the minimum possible once you get a correct exposure.
2.… OR IN SPEED PRIORITY MODE
If you just landed and the manual mode makes you look like having eaten a lemon, don’t worry. First, because learning to master it is much easier than you think. Second because, in this case, you can also operate the shutter speed priority mode (S or Tv on the mode dial). In this shooting mode , you define the shutter speed (1 / 125s) (which your camera will keep fixed), obtaining correct exposure throughout the game with aperture aperture values.
3. CHECK THE VALUES OF YOUR HISTOGRAM
It is possible that in a dark environment, you will see your images perfectly on your fantastic and bright next-generation touch screen … but that when you get home you realize that, unfortunately, all your images are dark. There you will surely try to rescue them, and you will only get a large pixel stick . Because if you are already working with a high ISO, there is nothing worse than adding to the quality of your image than an underexposed image.
So, moral, always, you should always have the histogram activated when viewing the parameters of your image. Only he will tell you effectively and truthfully if your exposure is correct.
4. TURN OFF THE FLASH
If you don’t want images with a white flash in the center and white dots everywhere, turn it off. This time it won’t do you any good, much less that of the camera. Also, you annoy the animals, so banned.
5. FOCUS AF-C OR AI SERVO MODE
This type of approach automatic characterized by being able to follow a moving subject. If you have enough light and your camera works correctly in these conditions, it can be very useful.
In case the camera loses the moving subject, you will have to focus manually .
6. CHOOSE A LIGHT OPTIC
We have already commented that aquariums are places where there is not much light, so working with optics as bright as possible, will be of great help.
Depending on the images you want to obtain, you can work with a Wide Angle , to concentrate on the image most of the scene; a Macro , for fish details; or a 50mm, the King of Objectives here would be great for you
7. APPROACH THE GLASS TO AVOID REFLECTIONS
Surely you are not alone in the aquarium, surely it is full of curious and fish lovers everywhere sticking their noses to the glass. The only way to try that all the spectators (including yourself) are not part of your compositions, is to try to get as close as possible to the glass. If you have a rubber sunshade , you can stay a few centimeters away from it (so we do not scratch anything ) and it will help you isolate the image of reflections.
8. PREPARE YOUR COMPOSITION AND WAIT
The best way to get beautiful aquarium images is to choose a good composition , regardless of the fish. If you have patience, then you just have to wait for your dear friend to look through your frame in the way you had previously planned.
9. RESEARCH YOUR CUSTOMS
You don’t have to do a master’s degree in marine sciences before going through the aquarium. With that you observe in situ for a while the different behaviors of each of the fish, you can get an idea of where they like to move, if they have any movement pattern, and so on. This will make it easier for you to prepare your compositions and wait.
10. SHOOT IN BURST
For moving elements , as in this case, the burst shot gives you a perfect chance to hunt them on the fly. So you make sure you get the image you want without staying with the bitter taste of the photos “by little”.
11. ADJUST THE WHITE BALANCE
You have several options although, for once, we will recommend the automatic mode (always under your supervision ). Automatic white balance mode usually works quite well. Also avoid forgetting to configure it every time there is a change of light and you have to throw all your photos in the trash. However, make sure that it is working correctly before you start taking pictures like crazy.
12. WORK IN RAW FORMAT
The RAW format is the one that stores more and better information of the scene, that is, your camera does not interpret anything but only collects ALL the available information. The RAW format works very well if you plan to give it a touch of processing later, because it allows you to make certain corrections (such as white balance) without losing or losing poor image quality. Now, this translates into heavier images , (sometimes very heavy), so you should keep it in mind when storing them on your memory card-computer. Also, if you shoot in a burst, working in RAW may slow down the number of frames per second (fps).
13. PATIENCE …
That is the mother of science . Do not hurry, enjoy, do tests and more tests, try different compositions and frames, play with the diaphragm, and even with speed. Photography is art and you are an artist, so you know, to create!
I hope you enjoyed the article. If so, please share it on your favorite social network so that someone else can benefit from it. Thank you and see you next time