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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-13-2010, 08:02 AM Thread Starter
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taking photos

What are some tricks or tips in taking good quality pictures of your tank? Every photo that I take seem horrible, either too bright or too dim. I have a sony cybershot dsc-w300 with 13.6 megapixel and I can't get it to take pictures like it's suppose to. My iphone takes better pictures than my camera. =(
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-13-2010, 08:14 AM
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I'm still learning how to take them myself but I identify with what you are going through. I also have a Sony cybershot but I'm pretty sure mine is 10.1 megapixels.

My particular camera has a setting that allows you to take low light shots with a tripod. This may not work for you but it allowed me to go from something like this...



to something like this...



Its not a huge improvement but at least its not as blurry and the color is more true to life than the old ones.


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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-13-2010, 08:24 AM Thread Starter
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thats kind of what i was talking about. I can't seem to get photos like that no matter how hard i try.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-13-2010, 01:17 PM
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try to light your tank better and turn the flash off on your camera.

here is a link to uncle neds fish factory. there is a guy who works there named sam who takes awesome pics of fish. in this link he took some pics of caterpillers and his pics made it into discover magazine. if you look around the site you'll see some pics of fish that he's taken also.

his work is awesome!

http://unclenedsfishfactory.com/Bull...pic.php?t=4629
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-13-2010, 02:39 PM
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Keep ambient light at a minimum. If you can brace yourself against something to prevent sway do so. Hold the camera nice and steady, breathe out, and take the shot before you inhale again.

Movement at low shutter speeds causes blur so your goal is to reduce those factors as much as possible. Even by pressing the shutter button you're causing the camera to move, but you can become more steady over time with practice. It's digital so all you're really wasting is a little time and battery life.

Much much easier to work with a tripod and a cable/electronic release because neither of those things will produce camera shake, but not everyone has those. I only have the option for cable release on my film SLR, and I haven't really had much desire to waste silver lately. XD
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-13-2010, 02:50 PM
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I have a Sony Cybershot DSC-P72... which has a measly 3.2MP

I find I can take decent pictures by making the room dark and having the tank lights on. I use a tripod. I have it set to program mode with -1.0 EV, multi-AF, flourecent white balance, auto iso.

In the end, the picture doesn't look good huge, so I use photoshop to clean it up a little by cropping and/or reducing image size.

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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-13-2010, 03:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boon View Post
What are some tricks or tips in taking good quality pictures of your tank? Every photo that I take seem horrible, either too bright or too dim. I have a sony cybershot dsc-w300 with 13.6 megapixel and I can't get it to take pictures like it's suppose to. My iphone takes better pictures than my camera. =(
Have you tried reading the manual for your camera? This usually helps me a bit to figure out and take advantage of all the possible settings and adjustments.

If your photos come out too bright or too dim, easy solution is to adjust the exposure. Most cameras allow to over or underexpose several stops.

A while ago we had to bring our films to the store to get them developed, and two weeks later we would see whether they were too bright or too dim. Nowadays you see the results immediately, and there is nothing keeping you from taking another shot making it brighter or dimmer, as applicable. Pictures are very cheap these days, go ahead and waste some!

If you post some of your "horrible" images here, we should be able to pinpoint the problem and help improving them.


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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-13-2010, 03:21 PM
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If you are a little more advanced in the camera's settings, You can adjust the exposure settings to let more/less light in. My wife's point and shoot digi is too bright at the normal 0 setting. Also, try adjusting the white balance a little.

Play with settings a bit take a bunch of pictures and decide what works best.


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Is it that boring?
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-13-2010, 06:17 PM
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Quote:
Play with settings a bit take a bunch of pictures and decide what works best.
This pretty much what I did. I would take 3 photos with each setting I changed so I could get a good idea what each change did to the final product.

In my experience, I found that turning off all light around the tank and making the tank itself as bright as you could was a good start. Then, on my cybershot, there is a setting for "taking low light photos without flash using a tripod" that finally got me what I wanted.

If your camera has that setting or something like it, that may be a good place to start. This increases the exposure time though, so you will indeed need a tripod because any hand shake will blur the picture quite badly.

Good luck! You can always post some of your pictures here and the experts can take a shot at diagnosing the problem.


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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-14-2010, 01:08 AM Thread Starter
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I bought the camera over a year ago so I've lost the manual. I've always use it to take standard pictures only, not close up on tanks and fishes. I'm looking through the website to see if I can find a PDF manual somewhere. I've tried taking lots of photos under different settings but I can't find one that I like.

Here's a photo that I took last week, this is the closest I got to actually capturing how the tank look in person.



Is it because there's too much light spillage from the top?
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-14-2010, 02:07 AM
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can you get your light closer to the tank?

beautifull tank. i'm very jealous.

off topic:
have you looked into getting lily pipes for your tank? that would really clean up the look of your tank
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-14-2010, 02:53 AM Thread Starter
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I could bring the lights in closer by lowering it, I had 2 27watt 10000k over it in this shot. I now have a 150w 5500k metal halide about 25inches high. I'm currently trying out three different lightings to see which one is the best for photo.

Now for real bright light set-up, do you guys use a a piece of cardboard to kind of block some lights from the lens (sort of like shooting in the shadow)?

Thanks for the compliment on the tank. I re-scape it last week so it looks nothing like it is now in that picture. Same concept but different placement. As for the lily, I had a do aqua outflow on it before I accidently snapped it in half. I'm waiting for GLA to get some nano lily set in but the wait is killing me. To ADA or to not ADA (lily) lol. Here's the thread to this tank journal if you're interested.

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/pl...e-ada-60f.html
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-14-2010, 02:22 PM
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a tripod will help you probably the most imho, heck with a tripod and using the timer setting i can get good photos with my 6+year old 5mp cannon point and shoot


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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-14-2010, 03:14 PM
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Very nice tank boon, and the exposure is just right for it.

A couple of things that might get you started on the road to better tank images...

Cropping
Using a simple image editor like IrfanView, or even MS Paint, you can remove the space around your subject, which removes the ugly parts and focuses the view. See attachment.

Resolution
The size of the picture is measured in pixels. Years ago, 640 wide by 480 high was preferred, nowadays folks have larger monitors and 800x600 is more appropriate. The larger the resolution, the larger the image size. That said, you should TAKE the image with the largest resolution (detail), and then downsample it to something like 800x600 before posting using one of the image editors mentioned.

Focus
Looks like in your image you focused on the back wall of the tank, the Sags towards the right are a good indicator. The front parts on the other hand lack focus, check the fuzzy white gravel and Marsilea up front. Ideally you would focus on something between the front glass and the center of the tank.

Aperture
While most folks with "automatic" P&S cameras have no clue, it might be worth to learn the basics of aperture (f-stop) and shutter speed and their effects on exposure. Years ago we ran around with light meters, and the invention of TTL prisms was the greatest thing. Nowadays everyone just clicks away... anyway. Closing the aperture (larger f-stop) a bit increases depth of field, so everything from the front to the back of your tank is in focus. This leads to slower shutter speeds and the need for a tripod (or table) to fix the camera position.

Some cameras don't have a "manual" mode that allows selecting f-stops, but you can work around that by using one of the pre-programmed modes. A face (portrait mode) might indicate larger apertures to reduce depth of field and blur the background, while a butterfly or such (macro mode) will do the opposite and should be chosen for tank shots.

Reflections/Contrast
Try to turn off all the ambient lights except for the tank lights. Adding a cardboard/towel to block the glare will help too. This prevents reflections of your arms, camera and room in the front glass of your tank, and increases the contrast of the image without the need for post processing.
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-14-2010, 04:16 PM
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A bit of time in the digital darkroom (Photoshop, GIMP, etc) can help a bit too...
(haven't done this in a while, so forgive the not to hot job...)
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