View Full Version : Best advice for a novice taking DSLR pictures


Ralph ATL
02-12-2008, 10:50 PM
I am very much a novice, but I have luckily been able to capture a few good pics (out of thousands of pics). This is the best advice that I've ever received to start out taking descent pictures of corals & fish.

1. get a real macro lens
2. tripod only
3. pumps off
4. face lens straight into tank5. eyes of animals must be focused
6. AV mode only
7. FISH
lowest F possible
bump ISO as highest possible without grain
8. CORAL
ISO lowest possible (try 100 first)
High F (try F-8)

Here's a few of my pics (ralph's reef button):

http://webpages.charter.net/mysterybox/

jefft
02-12-2008, 11:01 PM
I agree with above and add a remote to take the pics. If your camera will support one.

kwl1763
02-13-2008, 10:13 AM
Ya remote trigger and also turn your anti shake feature of your lens off when it's on a tripod. It will try to find movement.

Also turn your mirror lock up on also as this can cause a bit of blur also, especially when doing closeup macro work!

Cameron
02-13-2008, 10:18 AM
Take at the brightest time in the tank with no flash as well.

wbholwell
02-13-2008, 11:46 AM
I'd like to add taking pictures at night, with all other lights in the room turned off helps to eliminate glare- especially on full-tank shots.

pfritzbelly
02-13-2008, 3:49 PM
A polarizer can help with the glare.

Also, if you don't have a remote and you are shooting still items (sps, etc.), you can leverage a camera's timer function to eliminate shaking and movement during the shot.

mkinna1
02-13-2008, 4:54 PM
You have some nice pictures on your site. My mom has a rebel camera, how much is the macro lens>?

Ralph ATL
02-13-2008, 7:43 PM
You have some nice pictures on your site. My mom has a rebel camera, how much is the macro lens>?

hey thanks!

at B&H it's $354.00 for the Canon Normal EF-S 60mm f/2.8 USM Macro Autofocus Lens for Select Digital SLR Cameras

wbholwell
02-13-2008, 7:57 PM
hey thanks!

at B&H it's $354.00 for the Canon Normal EF-S 60mm f/2.8 USM Macro Autofocus Lens for Select Digital SLR Cameras

I just bought this lens- $329.99 at Beachcamera.com

bobz
02-13-2008, 10:02 PM
I took your advice and tried some test shots tonight. I'm using my Nikon D200 with a Sigma 28-80 Macro lens. It's not the best lens for this type of photography but it's a great lens to use for nature shots (butts, dragons and other insects). I did compensate about -2 stops and used a flash. Some of these came out pretty nice but still having some probs with camera shake even on my tripod... by the way, the zoas in the pics I picked up last night at the meeting from Jin. Thanks Jin they look great!!!

Bob

bobz
02-13-2008, 10:05 PM
Had one more of my Smith's ......
BZ

Ralph ATL
02-13-2008, 10:09 PM
:thumbs: that's some really nice shots!

Skriz
02-13-2008, 10:55 PM
nice shots bob!

Cameron
02-13-2008, 11:27 PM
I love these pics.

Cameron
02-13-2008, 11:27 PM
Oh... maybe this should be added to the ARCepedia.

photokid
02-14-2008, 12:42 AM
just know that a polarizing filter will make you step up one full stop. also and i am very bad about not doing this, get a small sheet of white plexi and use it to get the WB. if you wanted to be a real color snob you could laminate a Mcbeth color card and use that.

Ralph ATL
02-14-2008, 7:14 AM
Oh... maybe this should be added to the ARCepedia.

go for it!

wbholwell
02-14-2008, 8:29 AM
get a small sheet of white plexi and use it to get the WB.

When you do this, do you do the auto WB adjustment to make the white plexi appear pure white in your photo?

The issue I have with this is that when a white card is placed under my lights it actually appears bluish white. So if I adjust the white balance so that it appears white, the photos of my tank don't look like it appears in person.

Also, isn't the metering of a DSLR through the lens? And as such, shouldn't it take into account the polarizing filter on the lens when it meters the image?

purpleGORILLA
02-14-2008, 8:36 AM
Very nice pictures.

bobz
02-14-2008, 12:06 PM
Thanks... didn't mean to hijack this thread with the pics, just wanted to show some of the examples following this advice. On that note, here are two shots taken with my polarizing filter on... using a flash and compensating about 1.5 with the same D200 and shot at 100ISO

BZ

photokid
02-14-2008, 12:11 PM
what you have to do is make a profile/custom white balance. kind of like a dust reference photo.

Ralph ATL
06-03-2008, 12:36 AM
hey Sailfish, this bumps for you!

sailfish
06-03-2008, 12:38 AM
Thanks bud

Joe

Ralph ATL
06-03-2008, 12:47 AM
yeah, your pm box is full. no big.

Ralph ATL
06-03-2008, 12:47 AM
BTW, I also use the 60 mm canon micro.

Ralph ATL
06-03-2008, 12:51 AM
Thanks bud

Joe

be patient! your pics are great! I take pics of my tank maybe once or twice a month (maybe 2 or 3 days in a row), but I'm filling up mem cards to get 1, 2, maybe 10 awesome pics. The only thing I might do after is crop & adjust contrast.

:thumbs: