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Old 05-03-2005, 07:26 PM   #1
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Default Information on taking good Pictures.

Due to the type of lighting that we all use in our aquaria hobby cameras are not quite able to take those gorgeous pictures without a little help from us. This tread here is being designed as a Q/A seesion regarding taking good pictures of our beloved pets.

First off.... It's not the camera that takes the good picture. It's the person. Though most of us don't know how too. Well this is the trick in being able to take pictures like this:
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Old 05-03-2005, 07:28 PM   #2
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Here's how you can achieve picture that really catches your eyes.

Well most of us know how our animals behave in the tank. Maybe they have a favorite spot to hang out at. USE this to your advantage. More than likely when you go take pictures of you subject they'll be more willing if they are hanging out where they like. If you scare your subject off relax they'll come around when they feel comfortable with the change in the scenery, i.e. you with the camera. PATIENCE is key here.

Ok now you have found the perfect angle to take the picture from. Now comes the technical part of taking the picture. Though it's not rocket science it does take a little persistance in getting that right shot. The best way to get that perfect shot constantly is to take it with the aid of a tripod (or monopod once you start getting more consistant photos).

Most of the cameras have a macro selection... Unless you are shooting full tank shots then the camera should be in this setting as it will allow you to get a focus on your subject that will fill up the majority if not all of your screen/viewfinder. If you have the option of remotely firing you camera via a cable or if you have a remote and are taking pictures of a sessile subject. Then I strongly recommend that you use it. As the action of pressing the shutter button will cause you to move the camera and cause a blur in the picture. If you don't then use the timer delay function to take the picture. This will allow the sharpest pictures to come out of your camera.
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Old 05-03-2005, 07:34 PM   #3
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The following pictures are taken with 2 different cameras. One is an Olympus point and shoot camera 3.3 megapixel camera. The other one is with a Canon Powershot Pro1 8.0 megapixel camera. There are posted in no particular order. Try and find out which one's which.
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Old 05-03-2005, 07:44 PM   #4
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Contrary to popular belief, the megapixel rating doesn't really mean much. except that you can print picture out at a much larger scale without the picture showing it's grain, also know as pixelization. For the size of picture normally taken and posted on forums like these you could actually use a simple 1.1 megapixel camera and still produce gorgeous pictures. 1.1 megapixel cameras will allow approximate maximum size of 4" x 6" pictures without showing signs of grain. Versus an 8.0 mega pixel camera that'll approximate a picture of an 11" x 17" print without getting anywhere near the possibility of showing it's grain.
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Old 05-03-2005, 07:47 PM   #5
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Please feel free to ask questions pertaining how to take pictures and I'll attempt to provide you with an answer.
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Old 05-03-2005, 08:42 PM   #6
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Excellent thread! It looks like you've done some homework.


Quote:
Originally Posted by D12monkey
Well most of us know how out animals behave in the tank. Maybe they have a favorite spot to hang out at. USE this to your advantage. More than likely when you go take pictures of you subject they'll be more willing if they are hanging out where they like. If you scare your subject off relax they'll come around when they feel comfortable with the change in the scenery, i.e. you with the camera. PATIENCE is key here.

Many times I have found myself perched in front of the tank with camera in hand waiting for a fish to stop paying attention to me and resume normal activity. I have noticed that my fish are much more startled when I have a camera in front of my face. Everytime my jawfish sees the camera he hides in his burrow making it very difficult to get a decent pic.

Another tip is to turn the flash off. Using a flash will drown out the aquarium lighting. Use your aquarium lighting to your advantage. Using a flash could also cause the photo to pick up reflections from the flash off of the aquarium glass.
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Old 05-03-2005, 08:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D12monkey
The following pictures are taken with 2 different cameras. One is an Olympus point and shoot camera 3.3 megapixel camera. The other one is with a Canon Powershot Pro1 8.0 megapixel camera. There are posted in no particular order. Try and find out which one's which.
Great side by side comparison shot from your two cameras. I guess that the first is the canon 8.0.
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Old 05-03-2005, 08:47 PM   #8
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Another tip - Most cameras tend to focus the most on the very center of the image. Always try to center your object in the viewfinder.
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Old 05-03-2005, 08:57 PM   #9
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LOL Frag... you beat me too it. I was actually going to post the flash info right now. All the photos taken with flash will have a flat feel to them. Without using the flash you will have more of a three dimensional feel providing a more appeasing feel to the picture. Also the color will be shifted like Frag has mentioned. Most flashes will be of a 5500K temperature on the digital cameras. Which is going to provide with a very yellow look to the picture and drown out the colors that we want to capture and show off. Most of our lighting is at a minimum of 10000K temperature range, yet this is more of a whitish-blue hue as you go higher up the Kelvin range then the color becomes bluer. We want to catch these colors as it is more appealing to our vision. Hence the use of actinics with metal halides and/or daylight bulbs.
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Old 05-03-2005, 09:05 PM   #10
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Below are two pictures taken of the same subject. The first one is with a flash. The second without a flash.
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Old 05-03-2005, 09:07 PM   #11
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Color balance also plays an important role in getting that perfect picture. as you can see by this picture taken of the same subject as the two previous but using a different color balance.
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Old 05-03-2005, 09:11 PM   #12
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Excellent example on using (or not using) the flash and on using color balance.

By the way, Nice acro too!
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Old 05-03-2005, 09:13 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FragOutpost
By the way, Nice acro too!

Another $20 piece courtesy of my LFS
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Old 05-04-2005, 10:32 AM   #14
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If you absolutely need to use flash due to your subject moving around too much, I strongly recommend using a diffuser on the flash to soften the light and make it more appealing to the eyes, by making the lighting less harsh both on the color balancing and the subject.

Diffusers can range anywhere from $20 to over $200 depending on how it fancy you get one. But a good tip is to take a 2 ply tissue paper (whether it's toilet tissue or not is up to you as long as it's completely white). You can fold it several times and place it over the flash. This way is more of a trial and error way of trying to figure out how much light you want to soften and still be able to see the subject you are trying to photograph. I have found that 2 folds so that there is 4 layers of tissue on toilet paper usually works fairly well. This is the whole purpose of a diffuser, to block out some of the light and make it a softer illumination.

But of course the best way to take macro photograph is with the use of a ring light, a.k.a. Macro flash. It combines the features of a flash with a diffuser but is place in line with the lens allowing the subject to be illuminated correctly without the appearances of a shadow. But this is the more expensive way to go as a ring light usually start around $185 and can surpass the $1000 price.
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Old 05-04-2005, 08:37 PM   #15
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Great tip for diffusing the flash.
I'm not sure about other cameras but when I disable the flash on mine it causes the shutter to stay open for a split second longer when taking pictures. This results in a higher frequency of blurred photos when not using a tripod. I think I might try your trick of diffusing the flash. Thanks! Great thread by the way.
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Old 05-04-2005, 09:09 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FragOutpost
Great tip for diffusing the flash.
I'm not sure about other cameras but when I disable the flash on mine it causes the shutter to stay open for a split second longer when taking pictures. This results in a higher frequency of blurred photos when not using a tripod. I think I might try your trick of diffusing the flash. Thanks! Great thread by the way.

All cameras have to keep the shutter open longer without the use of flash. Other wise you would get an extremely under-exposed photo. And your not tricking the camera your just minimizing the amount of intensity of the flash. lighting will still be the same but just softer.
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Old 05-17-2005, 11:39 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FragOutpost
I think I might try your trick of diffusing the flash. Thanks! Great thread by the way.

So has the trick worked out for you?
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Old 05-17-2005, 09:55 PM   #18
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Great trick. I've been experimenting with different levels of diffusion.
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Old 05-19-2005, 10:15 PM   #19
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Here's a better example of what color balancing will allow you to do with your pictures. These pictures as all of the other ones taken in this tread are not photoshoped in any way other than resizing.

They are taken with a variety of different settings with the same camera to show you what's the true potential of the machines in your hand. The first would be a picture taken with a white balance using the sun as a gauge. The picture was then taken under PC lighting. This is what most cameras will take a picture like under the sunny setting for the WB.
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Old 05-19-2005, 10:18 PM   #20
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Now if you are lucky enough to have purchased a camera that allows you to evaluate the white balance under a variety of lighting then you would turn the same picture as above into what we really would see if we were looking at it directly.

This picture was color balanced for PC lighting before taking. This is the true colors our eyes would see that same picture above.
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