how to take pictures of your corals (camera settings tutorial)

Discussion in 'Photography Forum' started by surfn, Nov 21, 2007.

  1. surfn

    surfn I bleed orange and maroon

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    Whether you have a point and shoot camera, or a digital SLR w/ or without a macro lens.......here are some tips to figure out how to shoot pictures of your corals.

    Keep in mind, I am mostly familiar with Canon camera's.......if you have a Nikon.....and know these settings should be the same......although they may be labelled or marked differently.

    setting up the equipment:

    -set the camera up on a tri-pod
    -turn off ALL pumps providing any kind of water circulation
    -make sure the lens is perpendicular to the glass....if its at an angle...this will distort the picture and make it look blurry
    -set the lens zoom and focus to manual, and adjust by hand by looking through the eye piece.

    camera settings:

    -
    shoot at the highest/finest/largest setting possible (RAW if possible)
    -Auto White Balance should be fine to shoot in (if you get advanced enough you can mess around with this setting)
    -set ISO to 0 for now, but if shots are coming out too dark or blurry, you can adjust up to 200. any higher than 400 and pictures will start to look grainy.

    -set the shooting mode into APERATURE PRIORITY (Av mode on Canon camera's located on a dial on the top of the camera, by setting the f/stop manually, the camera will automatically adjust the shutter spead based on the available light)
    -set the f/stop of the camera to b/w f/9 and f/13. (the higher the f/stop, the smaller the aperature....and the greater the depth of field....however....as the depth of field gets larger, the sharpness will degrade........thus f/9-13 seems to be a good sweet spot for coral shooting)
    -use the self timer function....so when you press the button the camera will count down before taking the picture
    -MAKE SURE TO TURN THE FLASH OFF

    Post-picture Processing:

    -if you took the picture at a higher setting, you will need to shrink the picture to 800x600 pixels in order for proper web page viewing. this will also make the file size smaller.
    -adjust brightness, contrast, expsure, white balance, tone, color saturation etc. (takes some trial and error before you know what you are doing)
    -make sure to convert any RAW images to JPEGS, after making your adjustments.

    Advanced Settings:

    -exposure settings......normally this should be set to 0 Ev/Av. but you can play around with this if certain parts of your picture look too over exposed or under exposed.
    - (for canon dSLR's) - set "long exposure noise reduction" to ON, set "mirror lock up" to ON


    this is a wonderful website that explains everything in detail.
    http://www.ximinasphotography.com/lessons/index.html


    if you have anything to add, feel free to post. i will sticky this thread.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2007
    Simonsen, mpjones, siggy and 8 others like this.
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  2. REEF2REEF

    REEF2REEF Valuable Member

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    Nice tips.... The only thing I would add is that

    "set ISO to 0 for now, but if shots are coming out too dark or blurry, you can adjust up to 200. any higher than 400 and pictures will start to look grainy."

    Can't set it to 0, will most likely start out at 100 iso and go up by multipliers of 2. Some cameras have an 80 ISO setting though.

    This is great advice for people with SLR's, but not really for p&s models.

    "-set the lens zoom and focus to manual, and adjust by hand by looking through the eye piece."

    LCD viewfinders are extremely hard to use to manually focus on small things, and any non-slr camera will only have a LCD viewfinder, better off using the AF.

    Also, if you have higher K bulbs (14K, 20K, actinics, etc) I would recommend setting the white balance to custom and using some white PVC or your sand if it's white as a reference point to set it. IMO, nothing ruins a nice coral shot more than the blue sand. Granted you can adjust RAW pics before converting to JPEG, but only so much. And jpegs you can adjust a little bit as well, but might as well shoot it accurate in the first place. I guess it's really a personal choice depending on the look you like.
     
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  3. surfn

    surfn I bleed orange and maroon

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    you can't set your ISO to zero? i can on my camera, and on my g/f's point-and-shoot camera.

    i can also set her focus to manual on her canon point-and-shoot.....but you have to go into full manual mode if i remember correctly.

    you are correct about the white ballance, i never liked how my custom white balance looked on this camera though.....so i just do it in the program in RAW format......however it only lets me go up to 10k.....but thats makes it pretty good for my purposes since my bulb is around 14k.
     
  4. REEF2REEF

    REEF2REEF Valuable Member

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    I think your misreading your ISO setting... If you have a rebel, it's 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600... I've never seen any camara you can go below ISO 80.

    You can set a p&s into manual focus mode, what I'm saying is that looking down the veiwfinder of an SLR your looking down your lense and seeing real live image. When you look down the viewfinder of a p&s your looking at a little lcd screen inside the viewfinder which would be very low resolution. So the camera is going to most of the time pick a better focus than you can considering the level of detail you can see on a tiny lcd screen.
     
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  5. surfn

    surfn I bleed orange and maroon

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    your right about the ISO, i must have been thinking about something else, possibly the exposure setting.

    good to know about the point and shoot......didnt realize that was a tiny LCD inside the viewfinder.
     
  6. gflat65

    gflat65 Valuable Member R2R Supporter

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    Good info. My P&S HP camera didn't allow any manual focus (other than the wide angle/telescoping function) and liked to grab the most obscure items to focus on. I never knew what I had until I put it on the computer.

    One thing I'd add is to use a remote switch over using the timer. It just seems more fluid to me. I can make a quick adjustment and still snap the shot quickly afterwards.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2016
  7. surfn

    surfn I bleed orange and maroon

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    do you have a link to the remote shutter switch you bought? i've been thinking about getting one.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2016
  8. zoanthidsrock

    zoanthidsrock Member

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    Very Usefull Thread
     
  9. gnoles

    gnoles Equipment Junkie

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    Depends on your camera... My first Canon P&S had an infrared remote. I bought a manual shutter release for my DSLR.
     
  10. Blackhawk Fan

    Blackhawk Fan Jedi Reefer R2R Supporter

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    Kudos to this thread, thanks!
     
  11. TANKSALOT

    TANKSALOT Well-Known Member

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    Nice read.......
    I am just getting into shooting coral PIC's and I learned a lot reading this thread.

    TANKSALOT
     
  12. MrPhatstacks

    MrPhatstacks Member

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    :bigsmile:thanks
     
  13. TonyT

    TonyT Active Member

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    This is an awesome thread.I have been struggling to get some good shots. I have a Canon XSI and was thinking it was the camera, now I see it was the operator. LOL Will definately be trying some of these tips.
     
  14. jbrown11352

    jbrown11352 Member

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    Thanks for the tips!
     
  15. DarkSephiroth

    DarkSephiroth Member

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    I got a Nikon CoolPix S200 and i can't make the setting RAW, any way to go around it?
     
  16. gparr

    gparr Waterbox Keeper R2R Supporter Photo of the Month Award

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    The CoolPix S200 is not capable of capturing images in the RAW format. You'll have to set a custom white balance to get shots of coral that show their true colors. The steps for setting a custom white balance should be described in the manual.
    Gary
     
  17. thanhreef

    thanhreef Active Member

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    I love this thread. Thanks for the tips!
     
  18. likemike99

    likemike99 Member

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    never realized about being perpendicular. thanks.
     
  19. hokey1499

    hokey1499 Member

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    nice write up. you've confirmed that I'm doing things right :)
     
  20. itsmel

    itsmel Member

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    Great information, and thank you for all the tips. I will be taking more pics of my tank in the near future, and this thread will be a great help!
     
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