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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought the camera almost a year ago but so far am not happy with my skills.
If any of you have time, can you please have a look at my Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/ account and suggest some tips? I need info about shutter speed, f-stops, etc.
I have looked at all the articles in the Photography section but am still having issues :(

Thanks in advance!
 

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I can think of 3 things that may help you out:

1. Better glass. Lenses are SUPER important. The higher quality glass, the better optics and more light you're going to get. And light is everything with a digital camera.
2. More light. Flashes, external, on the side/top/wherever. Experiment with them. This will allow you to close your aperture (higher f-spot number) which will give you greater depth of field, while simultaneously increasing shutter speed to remove any motion blur. Check out the "Today in the Fishroom" series of threads in this forum and read how that poster does his shots. They're really, really impressive.
3. Some post production. You could easily take a number of those shots to the next level with some light Photoshop work.

That said, I don't think you have much to worry about with your skills. Your photos are already very good, and it looks like you've got the basic skills down. Good luck!
 

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I think you're being too self-critical. Your images are very good. Although I agree that other equipment (such as better lenses and flashes) can make a difference you can improve just by practicing with what you have. Play with the ISO number to see how high you can take the ASA before "noise" becomes a problem. The higher ISO will allow you to open up your aperture a little more (to get more depth of field if you want it) while still being able to use a shutter speed that you don't get blurring with. If you're not going to enlarge your images too big a little bit of noise will make no difference.

Also, play with the aperture and shutter speed. Sometimes you can get dramatic effects by having a very shallow depth of field (as you have in some of your shots).

Photoshop is a great post production tool but most people don't use even a quarter of what it's capable of. Something like Lightroom costs a lot less and has all the basic features even many professional photographers will ever use. Some of your images could be improved just with a little bit of cropping.

Knowing what your equipment can do will take you much further than buying more of it.

As dielikemoviestars has mentioned looking at other people's photos can also be helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks very much Dielikemoviestars and Zimmy :) I know I'm being overly critical, can't help it :p

@NorthShore. The things that bug me the most are over and under exposure, visible flash, noise and blur. The most recent shots (from today) were mostly taken on a 1/125, 5 f stop, 3600 iso or thereabouts. I think I might be having issues figuring out what works with the more natural LED lighting.

Anyway, I make sure to look over and work on all your suggestions, thanks!
 

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If you were shooting larger, slower moving fish, you'd do fine with the settings you used today, and you could have probably reduced the ISO as well in order to reduce the amount of noise. Unfortunately, you are trying to shoot some little speedsters and a shutter speed of 1/125 is just a tad slow. Your aperture is fine for shooting profile pics but you would benefit from a smaller aperture in order to get more of the fish in focus in anything other than a profile pose.

As you can see, using onboard flash directly produces shadows and glare and other problems. How to get around that? You can take a piece of tin foil, and create a small three sided fitting to go directly under the flash with the idea that the foil will direct your flash upwards and into the tank, but not on the fish. No glue is required, tape will help but foil is stiff enough to work on it's own.

You could continue to fiddle with ISO but it's my honest opinion that you've reached the full potential of your particular camera with the amount of light you have on your tank. Solution to address that issue? Add more light to the tank.

Actually the solution to most aquatic photography problems is increasing light. You can do that through adding or borrowing a fixture from another tank. Or you can do that by using remote flashes above the tank. Using a flash above the tank will allow you to increase your shutter speed, narrow your depth of field so you can get good depth in your images, drop your ISO down to 100 or 200 in order to get noiseless photos and will allow you to get away from flashing the sides of the fish and blowing out the colours. Fish also do not react badly to overhead flash for the most part.

I'm not sure if your particular camera body allows you to trigger flashes wirelessly, but I do know there are cables and flash triggers out there that work for any system. I went with Nikon because it has a commander mode that allowed me to use the onboard flash to trigger a remote flash wirelessly.

Regardless of camera body and lens, as soon as you can flash from above the tank, the quality of your images will jump substantially. Some people aren't prepared to spend that kind of money but overall flashes are a good investment. If you see yourself getting into photography, the money spent on a flash system is well worth it. It will transform all your photography. Pics of kids, pets family gatherings will improve tremendously.
 

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I forgot to add that experimenting with a digital camera is easy to do. Just remember to make your camera setting adjustments in small increments and pay attention to the subtle changes you will see.

You could shoot your pics with a lower ISO setting, and then brighten up the images with post processing, but it will show that you've done that. ;)

You can do a google search on flash triggers to get a better idea for what I'm tlaing about. What you will see first is the expensive pocketwizards. Keep going down the page and you will find more affordable solutions. I have seen 10 dollar devices that attach to a flash that can be triggered by the onboard flash. It works pretty well. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
NorthShore,
Wowza! That all makes very good sense, thanks for taking the time :)
I don't have any extra tank lights but I do have an OTT light that I can try and place above (with the lid open of course. I will also try that idea with the foil.

I do hope to get more into photography so I will certainly look into flash systems.

Thanks again!
 

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I don't have any expert advice to add here, but just wanted to say you are well on your way toward awesome fish photography. Those are some great pics. I look forward to seeing any improvements!
 
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