Reef Aquarium Photography

Photographing a reef aquarium is a fun and simple evening project, requiring only a macro lens and total darkness. No international airports, fill-stations, dicey boat captains and sharks!

Creating dark surroundings will help you eliminate glass reflections. Just turn off room lights and shield the camera and tank with a large black cloth. At this point you should look like an old time photographer from the 1800’s. You will need a shutter speed of 1/500 of a second or more to eliminate camera blur.

A tripod is helpful, and you will likely have to shoot with an ISO of near 1,000 or more ,then use the noise reduction feature in Lightroom when processing. The challenge in capturing front to back sharpness will be to use a small aperture. This is a perfect storm for getting a good exposure in low light conditions.

Compromises must be made. The priority is getting a sharp shot–so shutter speed is most important.

The compromises will involve depth of field and High ISO noise reduction. I think the solution is to

go super high on the ISO–even up to 4,000 if you must–then use the new AI Noise Reduction tool in Lightroom. The final step is adjusting color balance. Aquarium lighting tends to color everything blue–so when editing warm up the image with the Color Balance Slider until the whites in the image are pure white and not blue.