New Camera!! What are your Tips for taking great fish photos?

Dierks

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I got me a new toy!! Super excited to have a really nice camera so I can finally take some good pictures of all the fish that come through The FisHotel! If you have a camera setup what is the tip you would give to a newbie just getting into taking pictures with their new camera?!

IMG_20201014_215402.jpg
 

r0m30

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I got me a new toy!! Super excited to have a really nice camera so I can finally take some good pictures of all the fish that come through The FisHotel! If you have a camera setup what is the tip you would give to a newbie just getting into taking pictures with their new camera?!

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Custom white balance can help a lot getting correct colors when you are shooting under the heavy blue lights of a reef tank.
 

Dierks

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Custom white balance can help a lot getting correct colors when you are shooting under the heavy blue lights of a reef tank.
I was thinking of getting a white piece of Plastic so I could set my Custom white Balance in the water. Is that a silly idea or something that would work?
 
I'm in same boat. It's all lens. My girl has a canon eos m6. Which from what I understand isn't all that. I dont think. But I don't wanna buy my own camera so I'm gonna use it. I ordered a lens adapter for it. And I plan on getting canon macro 100mm F2.8L. But I know absolutely nothing about photography. Or specs or how to take pics. .aperture or anything. I don't even know what that means. Ahhaa
 

KenB

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Start here:

Now, learn how to use the camera. Take it out of Auto mode and play. Understand the cornerstones of basic camera control and how each one effects the image. Below are links to some info. But these links are not the one and only source for information. Research each topic till you have a full understanding of each. There are great videos on Youtube that explain these things as well. Once you understand these items I promise you will see your pictures improve. Experiment with them to see how your changes effect the final photo.

Focus

Aperture

Shutter Speed

ISO

White Balance

Now that you know how to use your camera learn what makes a good photo.


Lastly, post processing software is just as important as the camera and lens you choose.
I use Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. Both of these are high end and expensive to subscribe to over time. They offer everything a photographer needs. However they have a learning curve just like the camera. You need to invest time to learn them.

There are alternatives to the Adobe products that are cheaper. Also your cameras came with free software that will likely do fine for you till you decide you want more. Just make sure you get the latest versions off the manufactures web site.

Don't worry about taking pictures of anything in your tank till you have played around with your camera and software. Once you have reached a level of confidence and understanding of the gear.. Then start to narrow in on the aquarium and it's inhabitants.
 
especially since i have no interest in learning for anything in real life... just strictly for aquarium
 

Lightspeed

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LOL, i bought myself a Nikon D90 10 years ago or something like that. I cant say i love it as the manual is far too bloody complex and i can't really be bothered either, it's like a bloody bible.

But here's the rub, my employment position has me taking photos most every day..........go figure, lol, i don't even own a macro lens, tech has gotten so advanced my Samsung Note 9 has a camera with better resolution than my D90 without the bible.

Someone start a thread on the best phone macro kits for reef photography.........pleeeeeeez, i was gonna buy one of those fangled mobile macro lens thingy's and filter set. I Hate 📸🤬but it pays for my reef👮‍♂️:ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:
 

Rascal

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Lol, it's a whole new hobby in itself :)!
It’s a new money pit....I have as much in my dive camera gear as I do in my 150 gallon in its current configuration. My profile picture is one of mine that took honorable mention in a photo contest that ran few years ago. Getting the perfect amazing photo straight out of the camera is extremely difficult.....like ken said post processing is where it’s at BUT that’s a whole different skill set. The only upside to camera gear is it doesn’t eat or get ich........🤣🤣🤣
 

Dierks

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Thanks Guys!!

I will look into all the above, the good news is that I already have experience with the post processing. I also took a class way back in the day so I know a small amount on how to take the photos themselves but of course need a lot more work as it has been 100 years since then. This has been extremely helpful and I will be playing around with everything in the next few days. You all are right, this is a whole new hobby, and I am also with @mggray87 when he says I dont have much interest outside the aquarium for pictures.

You guys are awesome, keep the tips coming!!
 

phatduckk

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Its not as complicated as it sounds once you start digging in. I'm by no means an expert - but you can go from "I know nothing" to "I understand stuff but still KNOW what I need to work on" in a decent amount of time.

I recently got a Nikon Z6 and spent a couple weeks taking really dumb pictures just to understand various things. The things that helped me the most were
  • watch a ton of videos on how to use your exact camera. You might not know what aperture is but you can learn where the dial is, how to customize things (depending on camera settings) etc. Do you want "focus on press" or does the camera do back button auto-focus, how to quickly change "x" etc.
  • A part 2 of the above: learn your camera's auto focus system. This tees off of the above as you don't want "i'm lost in menus and dials" to be the thing that stops you from getting in focus. Lack of photography skill is fine (that will grow) but not knowing how operate the camera as an electronic device shouldn't be a barrier to enjoy the photography part (analogy: Don't dislike the movie because you couldn't figure out how to turn the VCR on).
  • Exposure: aperture, shutter speed and ISO. I read and watched a ton of stuff - actually doing this myself was a key step vs just getting lectured at. For this I would set up really stupid scenes and take the same picture over and over with one of the variables changed. I'd generally setup a box with 1 item set on top of it in the foreground and one in the background: snap a photo with aperture wide open, leave everything the same and take another with it closed up etc (tripod helps a ton!). Look at the pics and examine what a change in aperture or ISO did to the exact same scene Then get a feel for how they interplay.... how can I brighten things w/ shutter speed? Now, how can I brighten it with aperture... with ISO. Then - study up on "ok if I can brighten/darken the pic w/ all those settings, when do I want to use ISO to do it, vs aperture vs shutter speed". what other "things" are impacted by shutter speed other than "brightness" (ie motion blur etc)
  • Bring in the focussing lessons to the same scenario: set goals like: foreground item in focus, "everything" in focus, background in focus, play with bokeh (blur)
  • Mess with room lighting and repeat the above
  • then go outside =)
Now, again, im not an expert at all but my goal was to get to understand what I need to learn and structured "messing around" worked for me.

I think my first weekend out to "take pictures" yielded about 5 - 10 pics I'd be proud to share out of 200 (the rest 50:50 split of trash & "ok").
 

Rascal

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@phatduckk that Z6 is a very nice camera....I almost bought a Z7 last year. When Nikon starts releasing new lenses for their new mount that will be a game changer. They were smart enough to release an adapter for the old lenses but they forgot to make it work with 3rd party lenses.....that’s the only reason I didn’t buy the camera because we shoot wide angle with the Tokina 10-17. I’m currently running a D7100 so I run F mount lenses and their 105mm is the cream of the crop for macro and super macro. The 60mm is a good lens to learn macro with (not as twitch and easier focus) but for above the waves it probably will be even as good if you are decent with post production software.
‘Below the waves lighting is huge but honestly in a reef tank I don’t see that as much of a problem. Learning to set custom white balance will pay of way more in tanks.

One item that will make your life easier is a good tripod........shooting macro even they slightest movement will blur your focus and drive you crazy. A blurred image can’t be fixed in post production.....or i could add a couple thousand more pictures to my library 🤣🤣🤣
 

phatduckk

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@phatduckk that Z6 is a very nice camera....I almost bought a Z7 last year. When Nikon starts releasing new lenses for their new mount that will be a game changer. They were smart enough to release an adapter for the old lenses but they forgot to make it work with 3rd party lenses.....that’s the only reason I didn’t buy the camera because we shoot wide angle with the Tokina 10-17. I’m currently running a D7100 so I run F mount lenses and their 105mm is the cream of the crop for macro and super macro. The 60mm is a good lens to learn macro with (not as twitch and easier focus) but for above the waves it probably will be even as good if you are decent with post production software.
‘Below the waves lighting is huge but honestly in a reef tank I don’t see that as much of a problem. Learning to set custom white balance will pay of way more in tanks.

One item that will make your life easier is a good tripod........shooting macro even they slightest movement will blur your focus and drive you crazy. A blurred image can’t be fixed in post production.....or i could add a couple thousand more pictures to my library 🤣🤣🤣
100% agree on the lenses. I bought the 50mm prime which is pretty great and got it with the 24-70mm kit lens which is pretty good... tho I like the prime a lot more. Currently looking for a good "telephoto" and have been coming up short both due to their lineup and the lack of stock on the "affordable" 24-200mm (can't justify the price of the 70-200mm).

I do have the FTZ adapter so if you have any long range F mount recommendations let me know.

On other side the 14-30mm distorts more than I'd like so I've held off on anything on the wide side. A bunch of 3rd parties have non AF macros available so perhaps ill look into that once I reboot my frag tank & have some non-dead coral to take pics of =)
 
Is it possible to take a photo of something and make it look 4x bigger than it actually is? Asking for a friend....
 

Rascal

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Most everyone uses 3rd party lenses for telephoto due to price But since they don’t support 3rd party AF I don’t even know what to advise. There was talk about a software update to fix that but I haven’t seen anything on it. Might be worth some digging to find out if they have released one. Manual focus is kinda difficult to master for distance shots since it looks good in camera but when you try to blow it up or crop you find it’s just not sharp. I personally won’t buy one for that reason but I guess if you find one cheap enough it might be an option. There are adapters that increase magnification that go between camera and lens but cut your Fstop in half......so it’s only good on very bright subjects/days. i have one and without going and digging it out I can’t recall the name. I used it to take some wildlife pictures on several hunts but again it’s not really sharp and crisp on cloudy days.

The last time I was on Nikon website they had a chart showing the new lenses and when they expect to release them. Best I recall they had a 5 year plan so being a year or more into production I’m sure several have released.

I have a dive buddy that bought a Z6 right after Nauticam came out with housing for the camera and he shoots some amazing macro stuff. To be honest he is a wiz in post production but you have to have quality pictures to start with. I meet him 2 years ago on a dive trip and he was playing with a GoPro shooting macro video. I thought they were great videos but he was struggling with lighting. I gave him a 30 minute lesson on operating my camera and sent him off on a dive.....year later (and $10K plus) he shoots magazine quality pictures.
 
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