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How to Photograph Animals/Fish Behind Glass

Aquarium, Fish, Photography, seahorse, zoo, tank, how to, Camera RAW, ISO, lens, 24-70mm,  tropical fish, seahorses, low light

Photographing animals/fish behind glass in an Aquarium or Zoo can be very rewarding and is fairly straight forward, as long as you follow certain rules.

One of the biggest problems you might encounter is unwanted reflections.

To avoid these hold the camera lens flush with the tank’s glass. I use a rubber lens hood which give a little more distance from the lens to the tank, but still cuts out any extraneous light.

Aquarium, Fish, Photography, seahorse, zoo, tank, how to, Camera RAW, ISO, lens, 24-70mm,  tropical fish, seahorses, low light

You can buy these very cheaply on eBay just check that you buy the correct mount size.

Don’t worry too much about the size as you can always fold the rubber back on its self, if you find it accidently causing a vignette effect.

The other thing to remember is to turn off your on-camera flash, as this will cause glare and again give unwanted hot spots in your photos.

Aquarium, Fish, Photography, seahorse, zoo, tank, how to, Camera RAW, ISO, lens, 24-70mm,  tropical fish, seahorses, low light

I would recommend using a reasonable wide angled lens (24-70mm is ideal) and set the shutter speed to 1/60 sec and adjust the camera’s ISO so it will cope with the relatively low light levels.

The Seahorse below was taken at 1/60th sec at f/2.8 at ISO 800 with a 24-70mm lens. Shot using camera RAW so colour can be adjusted in post processing.

Aquarium, Fish, Photography, seahorse, zoo, tank, how to, Camera RAW, ISO, lens, 24-70mm,  tropical fish, seahorses, low light

If you do find you need extra light then use an off camera flash with an extension cable and hold it off to the side, at an angle of about 45 degrees to avoid those unwanted reflections.

Do check that the zoo or aquarium allows flash photography before you used it, as it can sometime upset the exhibits.

The animals welfare should always be your first consideration. For further information consider taking Heather Angel’s course on Nature & Wildlife Photography

Geoff Harris

I am a photography journalist and photographer and currently work as the Deputy Editor of Amateur Photographer (AP) the oldest weekly photographic magazine in the world. Before that I served as the editor of Digital Camera, Britain's best-selling photography magazine, for five years. During my time as editor it became the UK's top selling photo monthly and won Print Publication of the Year at the 2013 British Media Awards. As well as being lucky enough to get paid to write about photography, I've been fortunate to interview some of the greatest photographers in the world, including Elliott Erwitt, Don McCullin, Martin Parr, Terry O'Neill, Steve McCurry and the late Mary Ellen Mark. This has been a wonderful learning experience and very influential on my photography. Beyond writing, I am a professional portrait, travel and documentary photographer, and reached the finals of the 2016 Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year competition. I am a Licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society and hope to take my Associateship whenever I can find the time.

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