African Cichlids
Photographing your fish

Equipment needed: Tripod, Camera, 400 iso film (not needed of course if you are using a digital camera, just set your camera iso setting to 400), some portable lights, and of course fish to take pictures of.

To get the sharpest picture possible you need to use as fast a shutter speed as you can. Your shutter speed is limited by your apeture and the amount of available light. The lower the f-stop number, the more light is being let into the camera. The minimum shutter speed when photographing fish is 1/60th of a second. This speed will freeze the slight motion of a fish slowly swimming or floating. The faster shutter speed you can attain, the better your chances of getting great results.

The most important thing to remember when taking pictures is lighting. Make sure you have enough light, whether it means bring in extra lights or using the flash. With extra lights, try to poisition them on either side of the tank, also make sure that your tank lights are turned on, you can also put lights on top of your hoods and shine them into the tank through the flap. When using a flash make sure that all the pictures you are taking are on a slight angle so that if the flash bounces off the glass surface it won't reflect into the camera lense.

With extra lighting it may take a little while before the fish get used to it, so you may have to wait until they come out of hiding. They don't seem to mind the flash. Oh and don't forget to clean both sides of the glass before taking pictures.

Using a tripod is critical to success when photographing fish. Even though you may think you have a steady hand, you really don't. Using a tripod will help keep your pictures as sharp as possible.

When you are finally ready to take some pictures, take some time and observe the resting spots of the fish you want to photograph. Knowing where the fish are most liklely to be will enable you to set up your camera and tripod and focus on one area of the tank. It is much easier to focus on one area than trying to follow the fish around the tank.

With the advent of digital photography, you can take as many pictures as you like. Experiment with different combinations of exposure time and shutter speeds. Remember that the more pictures you take, the better the chances that you will get some great results.