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Aquarium Photography
A guide to photography fish and other marine subjects in an aquarium.

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Aquarium Photography: Equipment List

To do aquarium photography, you don't really need an extensive list of equipment; in fact, most serious amateur photographers should already own all that is required.

  • Camera: A standard film or digital SLR, or a high-end digital point-and-shoot camera.
  • Flash: A dedicated flash unit with an off-camera extension cord.
  • Tripod: A compact table-top tripod.

A standard film or digital SLR is ideal, thought a high-end digital point-and-shoot camera can also be used. It is important that the camera of choice should have a hot shoe so that a dedicated flash can be attached. For close-ups, a macro lens can be used or alternatively, a close-up diopter filter can be added to a zoom lens to increase magnification. A diopter or close-up lens is a relatively inexpensive accessory that is available for high-end digital point and shoot cameras or SLR lens. The diopter screws into the filter thread of the lens it attaches too and gives greater magnification for small subjects.

A dedicated flash will be necessary as will an off-camera flash extension cord to allow flexible flash placement. The flash will light your subjects evenly and prevent unnatural color casts which could be caused by the aquariums fluorescent lighting. A flash will also allow the use of faster shutter speeds, since your subjects may not be willing to cooperate by remaining motionless.

A small table-top tripod can be quite helpful. It can be used to mount either the camera or the flash unit thus freeing up one of your hands.

That is really about all the equipment you need. You may want to use a colored cloth or paper background, but this is optional. You do not even really need your own aquarium. I usually photograph the aquariums of my friends.

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All text and images © Copyright Alex Leveson. All rights reserved.
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