These easy steps will help you capture the majesty of your aquarium the way it was meant to be seen!
Have you ever spent a long evening staring into the depths of your aquarium and all of a sudden you see something that just needs to be shared with the world? But unfortunately, capturing that perfect moment was a real challenge.
Blur, glare, deep shadows, lack of focus, and reflections are just a few of the issues that plague every aquarium photographer. Overcoming these challenges takes practice, but these simple tips are a great way to start improving your tank photography.
1. Identify Your Subject
Are you trying to capture the entire tank? Are you targeting a specific organism? Are you trying to get yourself in the shot?
This may seem like a no-brainer, but consider what you are trying to capture before setting up your shot. This should influence your decisions in each of the following steps to achieve the perfect shot of your beautiful aquarium.
A picture of your full tank is great for putting your entire set up on display or to update us on your nualgi case study. But a close-up of fish, plants, or corals is more likely to win the love of our monthly aquarium photography contest voters. The choice is up to you, but either way take a lot of pictures. (you won’t regret it)
2. Minimize Camera Motion
Do your shots come out blurry? Do you have trouble focusing the camera on your subject?
The easiest way to prevent blur and improve the focus of your shots is using a tripod (like this tripod that works for both phones and cameras). The tripod will really improve your image quality and consistency. If you want to take it one step further, set a 2 second self-timer so that pressing the button doesn’t move the camera during the shot.
If you don’t have a tripod handy, set the camera up on a desk or chair. If holding the camera in hand is the only option, brace your elbows against your torso and keep the camera as still as possible.
3. Frame Your Shot
Do your fish, coral, or plants tend to appear dead center? Is there a better angle from which to capture your subject?
Set up your camera so that the subject takes up most of the frame and is slightly off-center if possible. Centering the subject works in some situations, but goes against photography best practices.
Take your shots to the next level by applying the Rule of Thirds. Place important elements of your subject or background along the lines and intersections of a tic-tac-toe style grid.
Most cameras have guidelines as a built-in setting, like Instagram’s camera app!
4. Perfect the Lighting
Is the subject bright enough? Is there a glare off the tank?
Adjust or add lighting to avoid glare while illuminating your subject. You’ll nearly always want to turn the camera flash off to prevent glares off the glass and avoid “washing out” your subject with too much light. Usually a combination of room lighting, tank lighting, and the occasional desk lamp can come together for a well-lit photo. Diffused photography lighting works best if your willing to make a small investment, or you can make your own.
Considering new lights for your tank? Our Aquarium Lighting 101 Guide is a great place to start.
5. Prevent Reflection and Refraction
Is a reflection of you or the camera visible in the glass? Is the inside of the tank blurry or distorted?
Adjust the position of the camera so that you are shooting perpendicular to the glass to prevent refraction. Step outside the reflection while shooting or use a black sheet with a hole for the camera to eliminate reflections. A rubber lens hood pressed against the glass works best if you are using a DSLR.
6. Remove Background Distractions
Is the rest of the room (couch, kitchen, etc.) visible through the glass in your shot?
Unless you’re showing off the way your interior decor matches the aquarium, you probably want to eliminate distracting objects in the background. Using poster board or foam core behind your aquarium is an easy way to hide these distractions while brightening the shot!
You’ve now learned a step-by-step process to take high quality photographs of your aquarium.
Take pictures often and don’t hesitate to take hundreds at a time, repetition and practice are the secrets of a great photographer. With more pictures you’ll have more chances to get it right and more opportunities to look back upon past iterations of your tank. With all these new beautiful aquarium pictures we recommend you submit them to one of our ongoing monthly contests where you can win some free Nualgi.
Send Us Updates On Your Tank
Now get out there, take some photos, and WIN free Nualgi Aquarium!
With these tips you’ll be well on your way to becoming a tank photography expert and ready to enter your photos into one of our weekly contests! Use #nualgifresh on Friday or #nualgisalt on Sunday to enter your tank in the contests.
Each month we give away free bottles to the most popular entries for both salt and freshwater tanks! If you miss the weekly contests you can still enter in the Wildcard round during the voting period at the end of every month.