Aquarium Photography Tips

I have done a post on aquarium photography before, but now that I have a better camera (the Canon Rebel T3i, DSLR) I wanted to share my own personal aquarium photography experience with everyone. The photo's you're about to see (you can click on the images to enlarge them) were taken at San Diego's Living Coast Discovery Center. For the most part I just used an AF setting and flash (with the exception of the jellyfish image).
Defeating outside lighting glare.

When at an indoor aquarium with natural daylight or indoor lighting reflecting off the tanks you're going to do the last thing that probably comes to mind... use a flash. Using a flash seems to alter the outside glare by changing the light glare to where the glare vanishes in most cases, which then leads me to answer a more popular question...
How to get rid of flash glare while using a flash.

The point of using a flash is to eliminate outer light glare however, this creates a flash glare instead. The point now is to not photograph the flash glare in the process. First you're going to want to avoid taking photos straight on, instead tilt your camera at a slight angle (just don't tilt your camera too much as to avoid distorting your photo). Doing this redirects the flash glare and helps keep it out of photos.
Steelhead Trout
Can I use a flash diffuser?

If you try to use something to diffuse the flash glare you may find that yourself and the aquarium will both end up in the image.

What if there is no outside glare but the aquarium is lighted inside?

This is usually when you can turn off the flash on your camera.
Other helpful advice.

Always ask the front desk what their photo policy is at an aquarium (Is flash photography allowed? Is there anything you can't photograph? Can you use a tripod? etc.). I can't stress this enough because the last thing you want to do is harm or stress a living creature or get in trouble for photographing something you don't have legal rights to (this was allowed at the Living Coast Discovery Center from what the front desk told me).
Helpful items you may want to bring when photographing at an aquarium.

Towels/rags, comes in handy if you need to wipe off the aquarium for a clear photograph, or in case water accidentally gets on your camera.

A flashlight or other portable light source, this may come in handy for tanks you can't visibly see into that well.

A protective lens filter/cover in case you decide to put your camera lens right against the glass to try and take pictures.


Carl said...

Thank you for your helpful tips.

I would like to place an aquarium directory that has been around since 2005 in your "Fish Sites" section for fee.
The website is:
Aquarium Information

Please let me know if interested and what your rate would be for a one time permanent placement (or what ever other method you prefer)

My email is carl@everything-aquatic.com,

MISO-HAPPY said...

You're very welcome Carl.