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Old 06-24-2003, 11:24 AM   #1
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How to take a good digital photo

I've tried and tried with my digital camera, I've played with setting after setting, adjusting exposure time, flash/no flash, spot focus and I just can't find the right settings to give me a good picture. It's seems like the toughest part to get is the focus and exposure.

Could someone share their techniques for taking good photos of their tanks/fish with a digital camera? Especialy good Macro shots as I love all the tiny little things but they are the hardest to get a shot of.

Thanks all!!
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Old 06-24-2003, 11:44 AM   #2
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Hmmm, first thing I do is take LOTS of pics. For example, yesterday, I took 163 pics, from those there were about 10 that I felt were of the quality to share. Taking pictures is about capturing a moment, the more moments you capture, the more likely your going to capture the moment

Next, Tripod. Buy a tripod (they're cheap at Walmart, although a more expensive on will last longer), a tripod will steady the camera and help prevent blurriness from camera shake.

Use the auto time, again this prevents camera shake (this is, of course, only good for sessile critters).

When taking pics of moving objects, there is no way around it, you gotta be using a faster shutter speed, this means you either use the lash, or you fiddle with the exposure. For the pics of the clown I took (in the new aquisitions forum), I had the exposure bumped up to +2.0 EV, I had the camera stopped down to an aperture of about 3.6-4.0 (lose some depth of field, but it allows more light in) and an ISO equivelant of 200 and a shutter speed of 1/60sec. It's about capturing the light, slower shutter speeds allow you to have a larger aperture, which increases your DOF, but it makes it pretty hard to prevent motion blur.

Use manual fous whenever possible, I can't tell you how many times I've had the perfect pic ruined by not using manual focus, something (other than the intended subject) was a better target for the cam and it stole the focus.

If your cam has it, use the macro mode. I sue it for all my aquarium shots, no matter what the distance, the button is usually marked with a flower or a bug and on my display, when the camera is in that macro sweet spot, the flower on the display turns yellow, if at all possible, take your pics in that range.

Know your cams limitations and work within them. If your cam has a macro focal distance of 5", don't try to take one at 3", just stands to reason, the cam will take better pics if your working within it's limitation.

Did I mention take lots of pics? While your trying to figure out what settings take the best pics....keep a log of the pic number and what the cam was set on, that way you can review it later (if you have photoshop, this info is stored in the file in the cam, and you can pull it up easily and there is no need to keep a log, some editing software doesn't access this info, but it is stored in the jpeg file).

Other than that, I'm not to sure what I can tell you. There is definitely a benefit to having a higher quality cam, but I have seen some lower end cams take great shots, cause the person using it knew what they were doing. What cam do you have? How about posting a pic, so maybe we can see where there might be a problem...
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Old 06-24-2003, 12:33 PM   #3
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Great tips Kevin, thanks much!

I've played with just about all of those settings I just haven't, mastered it yet I don't think. I do know that my camera's macro focal length is I belive 8 inches.. I will double check the manual on that as well. It does have manual controls for all of the items you specified though, it's one of the reasons I went with that camera (and for the life of me, the brand has completely escaped me! LOL starts with a P.. i think heh) I don't have a tripod but I do use chairs/boxes to steady the camera with... I know a tripod would be much simpler and deffinitly better... it's just a nother $30 i have to justify spending

I'm at work so I don't have any pictures with me but I'll take a few test shots tonight when I get home. (I have a few things of which I would like to confirm their identity) and I do actualy have photoshop... I'll have to dig around and find that camera info you mentioned... is that in the image properties?
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Old 06-24-2003, 01:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
I'll have to dig around and find that camera info you mentioned... is that in the image properties

I want to say it is under the file command under file info. You should be able to right click the pic in photo shop and, yes it would be under properties, in photoshop 7, the file info is listed in the browse function when you select a photo.
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Old 06-24-2003, 02:09 PM   #5
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yay! I like this thread. Kevin, what kind of camera do you have?

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Old 06-24-2003, 02:18 PM   #6
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I use a Nikon CoolPix 995.
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Old 06-24-2003, 02:19 PM   #7
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Eeek...even the lowest price on google is too much for me.

I need to find some good side gigs...

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Old 06-24-2003, 02:32 PM   #8
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Look on Ebay, the 995 is discontinued, but you might find someone trying to get rid of one, another option would be the Cannon powershot G2, the G3 is out so prices should be down on Ebay and elsewhere. IMO, I don't see putting the money into a reef that I have and not spending a few bucks on a good cam. Doesn't hurt that I enjoy taking pics, either.
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Old 06-24-2003, 03:03 PM   #9
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you can also use a magnifying glass to shorten any lense's focal length ... hold the magnifier as close to the lense as you can ... you need to use manual focus, since the AI focuser doesn't understand that you've changed the optics by adding another lense
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Old 06-24-2003, 03:49 PM   #10
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very interesting tip glmclell! I'll be sure to play around with that. will any magnifying glass suffice?
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