Heeere, fishy fishy fishy!

Today I had the pleasure of seeing a wonderful live coral reef aquarium in Oakville – a world class aquarium, one with live coral reef flown in from Indonesia that sort of thing. You will be able to, I think, see more pictures soon on its owner’s web site, but I thought I might say a few words about shooting aquariums here.


A Fish.

Hence, my ten tips.

The following things immediately occurred to me. In no particular order:

  1. Use existing light – avoid flash if you can (reflections, loss of contrast).
  2. Shoot perpendicular to the glass. Glass distorts.
  3. Look for contrasty subjects first of all – make life easy for yourself.
  4. Ensure your shutter speed is rapid enough to freeze motion.
  5. Use a higher ISO if you must, but try to keep it down if you can.
  6. Look for opposing colours, as in the shot I made above.
  7. Be ready to enhance contrast in Lightroom. Sea water and glass will reduce your contrast, and there is little you can do, so be ready to fix afterward if you have to.
  8. Shoot lots of detail before trying the bigger shots.
  9. Avoid wide angle lenses as these will not shoot perpendicular to the glass. Use longer lenses (macro lenses, even).
  10. Use Manual mode: once you sort out the light, it will stay constant.

The above shot was made as follows:

  • 24-70 lens set to 70mm on a full frame camera (so a 50mm would do if you had a crop camera).
  • I was in manual mode
  • I used f/5.6 and 1/60th second
  • My ISO was 200. Fast enough to freeze the fish motion (if not the fish); slow enough for great quality.

In a later post, more on the overview/large/wide shots, but for now this ought to get you started.

I would love to spend a week shooting that particular aquarium, by the way.  Exciting. And the photographic opportunities. Wow!

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