Are you fascinated by the amazing underwater world with its colorful fish, textured corals, and lively algae? Do you want to capture it on a camera in all its manifestations? In this article, we’ll share with you the best tips and techniques on how to take aquarium pictures that mesmerize at first sight.

A fish tank is a great relaxation and aesthetic pleasure. After all, when you observe the beautiful underwater world as well as the grace of fish of all possible colors and patterns, you forget about stress. It’s also a great object for photographers to refresh their creative vision. But how to get masterpieces in the condition of poor lighting and fast-moving underwater inhabitants? We’ll reveal some tricks, including work with lighting and composition, that will help you with it.

Remember that post-processing can turn your picture into a real work of art. Try Luminar Neo and you won't regret it. This app is suitable for beginners and professionals, and its number of features will impress even the most sophisticated user.

Which Equipment Is Perfect for Fish Photography? 

Aquarium Photography: Capturing the Beauty of Underwater Worlds | Skylum BlogThe equipment for capturing the underwater world must be properly selected to make a photographic journey to the depths of the simulated sea successfully. So, when going to the aquarium, put in your backpack the following: 

  • Camera. Choose the mirrorless or DSLR model because it has everything you need: manual settings, good work in a low-light environment, measuring exposure with a matrix meter, and focus control. 
  • Lens. Pay attention to the fast lens. Thanks to a big maximum aperture, it transmits more light and therefore is able to capture even the darkest corner of the reef or mini cave, moreover with good depth of field and high quality. As for the macro lens, it’s a good solution to shoot whole fish with accenting its unique color overflows, texture, and patterns. If you want to keep in focus not only the animal but also the surrounding algae, take several shots from different focus points with this lens and then combine them into one sharp picture in an image stacking software
  • Lens hood. This accessory copes with reflection, which is a frequent quest during fish photography behind glass walls. 
  • Tripod. It helps hold the camera steady without the image blurring when capturing the main underwater inhabitants with longer exposure. 

Befriend with the Camera Settings for a Successful Aquarium Photoshoot

Aquarium Photography: Capturing the Beauty of Underwater Worlds | Skylum Blog(2)Shooting with the Auto mode is a definite failure because you get blurred images. The main reason is insufficient lighting, which automatically slows down the shutter speed and causes the camera to shake. That’s why, when you’re near the aquarium tank face, forget about the Auto mode. Learn how to control the camera manually. Below, we’ll share some settings you should pay attention to. 

Play with Shutter Speed

When shooting aquariums, a long shutter speed (1/125 seconds) will be useful. It allows you to capture moving objects with low noise, even in dark areas. But don’t overdo it. Too long a shutter speed leads to too sharpness and darkness. 

Increase ISO as Much as Possible 

Shooting at the aquarium isn’t the process in which you can add studio lams and make the fish not move. That’s why the right decision to achieve high quality is to increase ISO to 3200. Although there may be noise as grainy or white spots in this case, you can easily get rid of it later with an advanced photo editor Luminar Neo. 

Burst mode

This is your lifesaver when you want to capture fast-moving fish. By taking many consecutive burst shots, you can capture interesting moments and choose the best shot among them. 

Adjust White Balance 

Do you want to get vibrant colors of fishes, stones, corals, and algae with excellent detail reproduction in dark and light areas? Then use Auto White Balance along with the RAW format. To enhance the saturation and naturalness of colors, you can use an HDR photo editor at the post-processing stage. 

Work with Lighting Correctly 

Aquarium Photography: Capturing the Beauty of Underwater Worlds | Skylum Blog(3)When you are indoors in low-light conditions, you want to turn on the flash, right? But it will be your mistake. First, thus you can scare fish. And secondly, you’ll get bright highlights in the photos that you must edit later by using an online photo editor. That’s why turn off the flash and use the natural light. 

By the way, when photo shooting at the aquarium, pay attention to whether artificial lighting from different angles is used in the fish tank. You can apply it to unleash your creativity. How? Later we’ll share with you some techniques. 

Composition and Framing – the Key to Stunning Results 

Aquarium Photography: Capturing the Beauty of Underwater Worlds | Skylum Blog(4)If you want to get aesthetically pleasing photos, play around with framing and composition. Here are some effective techniques: 

  1. Use the Rule of Thirds. It means that you place the main object not in the middle but on the side, specifically at the intersection of vertical and horizontal lines of a special grid shown on the display of your camera. 
  2. Leading lines. Corals and water plants can be excellent leading lines that direct viewers' eyes to fish, turtles, or other animals from underwater fauna. 
  3. Play with different angles. This brings a fresh perspective to your photos. For example, try lowering the camera below the subject and pointing the lens up. Conversely, raise the equipment above the fish and point it down. 

Interesting Aquarium Photoshoot Ideas: Silhouettes and Stories 

Aquarium Photography: Capturing the Beauty of Underwater Worlds | Skylum Blog(5)Silhouettes are a very interesting technique that makes photos exciting. There are many tricks on how to create them when the aquarium is lit. Try the most beautiful option: point the camera so that the dramatic light is in the background and the fish swims in the foreground. 

You can also play with silhouettes in a slightly different way by adding an element of a fascinating story. Capture children or adults touching the glass of the aquarium with their hands and looking at the inhabitants of the underwater world with admiration. 

Fish Tank Photography: Make Image Harmonious During Post-processing 

Aquarium Photography: Capturing the Beauty of Underwater Worlds | Skylum Blog(6)Of course, you can take amazing photo shots. However, some post-processing is still required to enhance the results and make them look natural. With Luminar Neo, you can adjust the white balance and make other updates we mentioned above. In addition, you can experiment with the background using such a powerful tool as background removal

Aquarium Photography Tips on How to Fight with Challenges 

Aquarium Photography: Capturing the Beauty of Underwater Worlds | Skylum Blog(7)Taking pictures in an aquarium can be challenging due to the need to capture the small movements of the fish's body indoors, where lighting is usually dimmer compared to outdoor environments. However, you can easily overcome problems that occur in such conditions by using the manual setting we mentioned above. 

But how to cope with a reflection of clothes, walls, people, and other unwanted objects on the glass panels of the fish tank? A rubber lens hood is an effective solution to this situation because it creates a kind of darkness cone that prevents glare. Just attach it to the front of the camera lens and take a photography fish tank. 

Ethical Side of Such Art

Aquarium Photography: Capturing the Beauty of Underwater Worlds | Skylum Blog(8)When you are with a camera in front of the inhabitants of the aquatic world, respect them foremost. Don’t disturb animals by using excessive light and hour-long shooting, as this is a great stress for them. 

Final Words 

Aquarium shooting is an exciting journey into the beautiful underwater world. Taking the necessary equipment, setting up the camera properly, and mastering interesting techniques, you’ll discover the incredible beauty of the fish in the frame with an incredible rendering of their colors, textures, and patterns. 


What Camera Settings Are the Best for Shooting Aquariums?

A high ISO, faster shutter speed, wide aperture, and Auto White Mode are the key to perfect results. 

How to Take Aquarium Photos Without Reflections and Glare?

Use a lens hood and stand at an angle to minimize reflections and glare. 

What Are Creative Techniques for Capturing the Movement of Underwater Subjects?

In order to freeze the movement of fish that swim too fast, use a fast shutter speed. A slower shutter speed will help you to create an interesting effect of motion blur. 

How Can I Achieve Sharp Focus in Aquarium Photographs? 

Here are two options to focus on the desired object. In the first case, you can use a single autofocus point, and in another one manual focus. Also, the tripod can help in this because it prevents shaking the camera. 

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