Picture Critique - Comments Appreciated

acesfull44

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Ok guy and gals, I am literally what would be called a novice at anything technology much less pictures. I have been working on using my Orphek Mobile Lens kit and taking photos of my new additions as they come in (I just started stocking the tank) and I would like some honest feedback here.

At first, I watched a few videos and read a bit here but was basically frustrated that I had no idea what I was doing and I was terrible at this. My competitive nature has me working on actually getting better, so I would appreciate anything you could provide me with guidance, ideas, thoughts, etc (take it easy on me)

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Jay Hemdal

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I find aquarium photos really tough! Some of your images have depth of field issues - where only a thin slice of the image is in sharp focus. Some people use a limited DOF for artistic advantage, but I prefer to have more of the subject in focus for aquarium shots. For my dSLR, I control that through reducing the aperture, I'm not sure how you would do that with your lens kit. Another thing is post-production editing. I hate it when people enhance/tweak the contrast and color too much, but you could try some sharpening and haze reduction. Here is one of your images run through Photoshop's preselects (took about 30 seconds).
test.png


Jay
 
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acesfull44

acesfull44

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I find aquarium photos really tough! Some of your images have depth of field issues - where only a thin slice of the image is in sharp focus. Some people use a limited DOF for artistic advantage, but I prefer to have more of the subject in focus for aquarium shots. For my dSLR, I control that through reducing the aperture, I'm not sure how you would do that with your lens kit. Another thing is post-production editing. I hate it when people enhance/tweak the contrast and color too much, but you could try some sharpening and haze reduction. Here is one of your images run through Photoshop's preselects (took about 30 seconds).
test.png


Jay
THANK YOU VERY MUCH. Man how did you do that? lol. That's exactly what it looks like in my tank. I am not interested in stretching the truth on how good a coral looks, but simply to show to people what it appears to look like to me in person. I am using Snapseed for the post picture editing and I could see right away this could get out of control with saturation. If there is any one thing I would like to focus on right now is the actual quality of the image/blurry effect as that really annoys me but I do not know how to fix it. I truly appreciate your feedback.
 
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acesfull44

acesfull44

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I suck at pics,,, just using iPhone with clip-on filter, but will say this:
I get clearer pics shooting top-down through a cheapie "coral viewer" (from Amazon) than through the front glass.
Ahh, nice point! I will try that. Thx.
 

Jay Hemdal

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THANK YOU VERY MUCH. Man how did you do that? lol. That's exactly what it looks like in my tank. I am not interested in stretching the truth on how good a coral looks, but simply to show to people what it appears to look like to me in person. I am using Snapseed for the post picture editing and I could see right away this could get out of control with saturation. If there is any one thing I would like to focus on right now is the actual quality of the image/blurry effect as that really annoys me but I do not know how to fix it. I truly appreciate your feedback.

Here is an article I posted here on R2R on basic aquarium photography (but bear in mind that this was written without being a very good photographer myself!).


(You need to click on the PDF link at the right side of the post to read the article)


Jay
 

TheBear78

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I dont know what you have already learned so please excuse any egg sucking comments... in no particular order;
Shooting through the glass requires clean glass (obviously) but also, you need to be perpendicular to the pane. Ie, shoot square to the sheet of glass otherwise diffraction will cause blurring that cannot be corrected.
Often, phone cameras struggle to focus on really close subjects (designed for selfies...) so it may be sharper if you just pull back slightly. Either way, you may be able to tap on the screen to highlight what you want to take a picture of and this "should" focus and expose for the part of the image that you have selected. If it doesn't, try moving back slightly (it's nice to hold the phone against the glass for stability but this may be too close).
As bright as aquariums are they can be quite dark from a photographic perspective. Typically an automated camera may select a longer shutter time than is ideal which could create blurring as fish and/or corals move during the exposure. The camera needs a certain amount of light and if it isn't bright enough it will just stay open longer and smudge the image.
Try playing around with basic post processing techniques on your phone. A little sharpening, contrast and saturation will usually give a little more pop. As always it's a matter of taste how far you go with this...
All cameras base their exposure and white balance (colour) on a standard "middle grey". This is a also called 18% grey and represents a grey that reflects 18% of the light that hits it. The camera will adjust the settings so that the resulting colour and brightness of the image averages this tone/colour.
When the camera sees extremes of colour it often cannot cope or just over reacts which is why typical aquarium photos are just a blue blur. There will be algorithms within the software to recognise typical scenes such as sunshine, indoor fluorescent lighting, candle light etc. but bright blue aquariums don't seem to be included... This can be corrected with lenses to fool the sensor or just be manually adjusted in more advanced setting on your phone.
I have a Samsung S21 and I am able to select Pro Photo mode which allows me adjust the white balance to correct for the blue lighting. I am sure that most modern phones will be similar.
I have a reasonable understanding of photography from several years shooting with DSLR's so I am often tinkering with my phone if i know an image can be improved upon. To that end, If you are able to manually adjust some settings on your camera you will be able to improve on what you have managed so far.
White balance will help correct the blue tint. Increasing shutter speed can help reduce motion blur but at the detriment of outright quality as the sensor will have to work harder (more gain/higher ISO) which ultimately degrades quality. Aperture adjustments will affect depth of field (how much is in focus) but this is rarely adjustable on a phone and the effects are minimal if it is.
Read some articles on photography. Most basic points will be relevant to aquarium photos and most modern phones will have as much functionality as a basic DSLR, albeit with less authority.
 
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acesfull44

acesfull44

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I dont know what you have already learned so please excuse any egg sucking comments... in no particular order;
Shooting through the glass requires clean glass (obviously) but also, you need to be perpendicular to the pane. Ie, shoot square to the sheet of glass otherwise diffraction will cause blurring that cannot be corrected.
Often, phone cameras struggle to focus on really close subjects (designed for selfies...) so it may be sharper if you just pull back slightly. Either way, you may be able to tap on the screen to highlight what you want to take a picture of and this "should" focus and expose for the part of the image that you have selected. If it doesn't, try moving back slightly (it's nice to hold the phone against the glass for stability but this may be too close).
As bright as aquariums are they can be quite dark from a photographic perspective. Typically an automated camera may select a longer shutter time than is ideal which could create blurring as fish and/or corals move during the exposure. The camera needs a certain amount of light and if it isn't bright enough it will just stay open longer and smudge the image.
Try playing around with basic post processing techniques on your phone. A little sharpening, contrast and saturation will usually give a little more pop. As always it's a matter of taste how far you go with this...
All cameras base their exposure and white balance (colour) on a standard "middle grey". This is a also called 18% grey and represents a grey that reflects 18% of the light that hits it. The camera will adjust the settings so that the resulting colour and brightness of the image averages this tone/colour.
When the camera sees extremes of colour it often cannot cope or just over reacts which is why typical aquarium photos are just a blue blur. There will be algorithms within the software to recognise typical scenes such as sunshine, indoor fluorescent lighting, candle light etc. but bright blue aquariums don't seem to be included... This can be corrected with lenses to fool the sensor or just be manually adjusted in more advanced setting on your phone.
I have a Samsung S21 and I am able to select Pro Photo mode which allows me adjust the white balance to correct for the blue lighting. I am sure that most modern phones will be similar.
I have a reasonable understanding of photography from several years shooting with DSLR's so I am often tinkering with my phone if i know an image can be improved upon. To that end, If you are able to manually adjust some settings on your camera you will be able to improve on what you have managed so far.
White balance will help correct the blue tint. Increasing shutter speed can help reduce motion blur but at the detriment of outright quality as the sensor will have to work harder (more gain/higher ISO) which ultimately degrades quality. Aperture adjustments will affect depth of field (how much is in focus) but this is rarely adjustable on a phone and the effects are minimal if it is.
Read some articles on photography. Most basic points will be relevant to aquarium photos and most modern phones will have as much functionality as a basic DSLR, albeit with less authority.
THANK YOU!
 

TheBear78

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A quick example of WB adjustment.
Phone in normal (automatic) photo mode:
Camera settings:
Aperture f1.8
shutter 1/30 sec
ISO 250
WB Auto (my guess would be about 4500K)
20221120_175828.jpg

The same scene in "Pro" mode with the following settings:
f1.8 (not adjustable)
1/90 sec (faster to reduce blur)
ISO 640
WB 8800K
20221120_175805.jpg

The ISO (sensitivity) was increased to balance out the reduction in light transmission from the faster shutter speed. I did play around with this a little to adjust the brightness and decided this was the best for the scene. Much of the blue background blur was removed simply by tweaking the WB.
No coloured lenses...
 
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acesfull44

acesfull44

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A quick example of WB adjustment.
Phone in normal (automatic) photo mode:
Camera settings:
Aperture f1.8
shutter 1/30 sec
ISO 250
WB Auto (my guess would be about 4500K)
20221120_175828.jpg

The same scene in "Pro" mode with the following settings:
f1.8 (not adjustable)
1/90 sec (faster to reduce blur)
ISO 640
WB 8800K
20221120_175805.jpg

The ISO (sensitivity) was increased to balance out the reduction in light transmission from the faster shutter speed. I did play around with this a little to adjust the brightness and decided this was the best for the scene. Much of the blue background blur was removed simply by tweaking the WB.
No coloured lenses...
Thanks for your feedback here.
 
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Jeeperz

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A quick example of WB adjustment.
Phone in normal (automatic) photo mode:
Camera settings:
Aperture f1.8
shutter 1/30 sec
ISO 250
WB Auto (my guess would be about 4500K)
20221120_175828.jpg

The same scene in "Pro" mode with the following settings:
f1.8 (not adjustable)
1/90 sec (faster to reduce blur)
ISO 640
WB 8800K
20221120_175805.jpg

The ISO (sensitivity) was increased to balance out the reduction in light transmission from the faster shutter speed. I did play around with this a little to adjust the brightness and decided this was the best for the scene. Much of the blue background blur was removed simply by tweaking the WB.
No coloured lenses...
This. Even phones are different. My Motorola whateveritis is horrible compared to my girlfriend's Samsung, even though my Motorola takes better quality normal people pics(not tanks), also, try to never zoom. Phone zoom degrades pic quality 100x faster than even cheaper digital cameras, in my non professional mind
 
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Kristopher Conlin

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1670210338275.png


No Lens help, nothing done after picture was taken. Seems this might be my best one so far.
That's a lot better then the original pictures! Nice job! What kind of phone are you using?
 

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