*****Found this while surfing the web, Hope it helps*****
How To Take Good Betta Photos
Maybe you want a picture of your betta for a show. Maybe you need it for an auction. Or maybe you just want to show your beloved betta off to your friends. Either way, it’s almost an art form to master good pictures of bettas. This guide will give you some helpful tips for getting the best results out of your picture taking session.
**NOTE** Some bettas are very reactive to flashes or cameras and may be freaked out by the camera. If this happens to you, don’t pressure your fish for pictures. It will do more harm than good. In a case like this, give them time to settle and try again. IF the fish is still reacting badly, you may need to reconsider taking photos. It is always better to think of the animal’s welfare over your desire for a picture.
Also, some fish are much less willing to flare in general. Sometimes a female, another male, and a mirror are tried with no result. Again, I suggest to wait and try again later. Sometimes your fish is just being stubborn. Otherwise, you may just need to take a picture without a flare.
* A properly lighted area
* Your intended Fish
* Another fish or a mirror to encourage flaring
* Picture taking tank (I suggest nothing larger than a 2 gallon. My personal tank is a 2 gallon glass tank with a glass divider)
* Extra lights, if desired
Steps to taking a professional looking picture:
First, select your intended model and decide if you will use a mirror or a “teaser” fish. Some fish won’t perform for a mirror and another fish is the only way to get them to flare and perform.
Fill your photo tank with clean, room temperature water. Once the tank is filled, wipe the front of the tank off to remove water spots. If you need to use a glass cleaner, spray a paper towel with the cleaner away from the glass and other fish to prevent poisoning your fish. Wipe the front of your tank with the cleaner and let dry.
Move your fish into the photo tank. If you are using another fish to stimulate him, then either place the other fish in the divided section or move their tank nearby. If you are using a mirror, set up your mirror in the best angle to give you a sideways view of your fish.
Now get your camera ready. Take a few test shots with your lighting to see how they come out. This will also give you time to assess how your fish reacts to this new environment. Some fish need time to adjust to the new setting, and others are flarin’ and rarin’ to go right away. When testing your lighting, try moving your other lights back and forth until you achieve the proper lighting. Your goal is to be able to take pictures WITHOUT using the flash on the camera. The reason for this is because the flash will bring out metallic iridescence in the fish and will often make the fish look a different color. Also, the flash will slow down the shutter speed on the camera, often resulting in a missed photo opportunity. With good enough lighting, however, the flash can be used to just fill in some shadows without overexposing the fish’s natural metallic shine.
Once you have a few test pictures that are well lit, you can bring in the “stimulus” to encourage your fish to flare and begin taking pictures. The best show pictures show the fish from a perpendicular angle, viewing the side of the fish to show off their shape best.
Taking pictures of a fish in their existing tank:
Having a special set up is not always possible for a betta owner, so they often just want to snap a quick picture of their fish in its home.
Depending on the kind of tank your fish is in, you will have to be careful on distortion from the tank. Minibows are bad at this. If your fish IS in a minibow, it is best to take photos from the flat area of the tank if you can. This eliminates distortion as much as possible.
Proper lighting is hardest when you take a photo if the fish in its usual home. Even with a light on the tanklid, often times people resort to a flash. As mentioned before, the flash often will bring out too much of the metallic shine in a fish and will not be an accurate representation of your fish’s color. Therefore, bringing in other lights, like desk lamps, to set up near the tank will help you tone down the strength of the flash to get the best shots. And, as with the photo tank, cleaning the water spots off is a MUST for clear pictures.
Basically, once your lighting is set, the process is the same as with the photo taking tank. Stimulate and snap away!
“Do I need an expensive camera?”
The one question I hear most often when asking about betta pictures is “Do I need an expensive camera?” The short answer is no. Just because some of us nerds are packing digital rebels does not mean that you, average Joe, have to go run out and get a $700+ camera just to share betta photos. Here is a list of features and a few suggestions for how to pick a good camera.
Features to look for in a good betta photo taking camera:
- Macro: This feature allows the user to take pictures of items much closer up than a normal camera range. It is generally closer to about 3 feet in front of the camera. The macro feature is generally denoted by a flower shaped icon or selection on your camera.
- Fast shutter speed: In cheaper, every-day cameras, you cannot control the shutter speed. However, some cameras react faster than others. Ones with a fast reaction time are best, since bettas move FAST!
- More than 4 megapixels: This is just added as a formality. Nearly all the new cameras being sold today are over 4 megapixels, but in the case of an older camera, 4 megapixels and up is what I personally recommend. Now, this is not a requirement. There are perfectly good pictures out with cameras of 3 megapixels or less, but for resizing and cropping later, the larger the picture and the higher the megapixels, the more you have to work with.
- Optical zoom: In addition to the macro feature, this will help you get closer, clearer shots of your fish. Don’t bother with digital zoom – that really is a resolution killer in pictures you take with the camera. Plus, too zoomed in and you miss a chance at a photo when the fish turns out of your frame.
Now, if you’re looking for a new camera to take photos with, the best thing I can suggest to you is go to the store and play with the cameras. You can get a good feel for their shutter speed, macro abilities and just how comfortable you are with them. It all comes down to what you feel best with. Also, you’re not going to buy a camera just for taking pictures of your fish (or maybe you will….) so try to get a good all around camera that you can use in other endeavors. And remember, you shouldn’t have to pay more than $200 for a good camera.
3 Most Common Mistakes
Here is a list of the 3 most common mistakes I see in betta photography. Mostly surfing message boards and forums, I see these mistakes and just sigh. They’re usually very easy to remedy, if the person realizes what they’ve done and can fix it. Keep a lookout for these slip ups while you shoot and you should be able to avoid a problem.
1. The fuzzy shot – Most often, the fuzzy shot is caused by not focusing in the right area. Some people just aim the camera and snap, without taking the time to notice what is in focus. One suggestion to remedy this problem is take a step back and take your picture from farther back, then crop the picture and zoom in on the computer. With a higher resolution camera, this should still yield a great, clear picture. Also, take a moment to notice where your fish is in the frame. You don’t want to be focusing past it, or you’ll get the plants, gravel, other tank, shelf, decoration, etc behind it in focus, while your otherwise beautiful fish will just be a colorful blurry blob in the foreground. You should be able to focus most cameras by holding the shutter button down halfway while pointing the camera at what you want to be in focus. Then once you have the fish in focus, press the button the rest of the way down.
2. The water marks – As I mentioned in the picture taking section, water marks are a big distraction. Take the time to wipe your tank front clean and you’ll not only get a nicer shot, you’ll get a clearer one too. The water marks can distract the camera, causing it to focus much closer to you and farther away from the fish. This goes for photo taking tanks and your fish’s normal habitat.
3. The dreaded flash – When people just want to take a picture of their pet fish, they usually grab a camera and take a shot. Often times, when you’re not accounting for the lighting, the flash will go off to try and provide more light. But, the problem is 1. this will bring out too much of the iridescence in your fish and 2. the flash’s glare on the tank side will often obscure your fish and ruin an otherwise perfect shot. As mentioned before, bringing in more lighting around you to light the tank and fish will cut down, if not eliminate, the damage done by the flash.
Once you’ve taken your photos and uploaded them to your computer, you can crop, resize and play with the lighting to improve the result. Even the best lighting will not always result in that “perfect” shot, so often, some photo editing on the computer is needed. I won’t go into that in this sheet, though, because that is an entirely other subject.
Don’t be afraid to try something new and experiment. You never know what kind of trick you’ll discover!