Octopus Photos


Pygmy Octopus
Apr 6, 2003

I am looking for some tips on taking pictures of my aquarium and octopus. All of my attempts turn out unfocused and blurry. I see alot of great pictures on this site and would like to get some of my own.

Thanks, Matt
Hi Matt,

There are a lot of ways to get better photos - first, as painful as it is, read the literatue that goes with your camera. There may be some special features that help you.

Next, because you are shooting through glass, make sure that your glass is free of algae or streaks, because your camera will focus on these. The best shots for me have been at an angle. Try it with and without flash. Experiment to find where you get the best results.

It's good to use some photo software (Like the light edition of Photoshop) that can correct to some extent any problems - you can sharpen the pic a bit, make it lighter or darker, correct the color, crop, etc.

The last thing is the camera itself. Some of the very low end digital cameras seem to tend to blur photos. You don't need a high end camera, just an average one, and it's a lot easier to work with digital.

Hope that helps,
something else that might help, try to put a light source in or behind (not aimed towards the camera of course) the tank if it isnt already fairly bright... also make sure you dont use the flash, but thats really obvious...
Thanks for replying. I have a Canon Elph APS camera with a zoom. I have tried taking pictures close up without the zoom, with no flash. The tank lights have been on, maybe that is causing a problem. Is it better to have the room lit up with the tank lights off?

Thanks, Matt
Hi Matt,

You're just going to have to experiment - sometimes room lights reflect in the glass, so it depends on where the light is coming from. Make good notes about your experiments to find which pics work out best.
But you should be able to get good pictures.

Those are good tips, and here's more that have worked for me:

Too bright with flash: Tape a small piece of aluminum foil just under the flash, and bend it so that it bounces the flash up. Enough usually bounces around to light up the aquarium.

Too many reflections: If you don't have a motorized lense that extends or moves to focus, you can press the lense ring up against the glass. For me, this blocks out all reflections and makes the glass so close that the camera doesn't try to focus on it.

Out of focus: Make sure the camera is in Macro mode if it has this (often has a little flower as a symbol, as opposed to a person symbol or mountain symbol). Try first focusing on things outside of the aquarium, to see how close you can get.

Out of focus #2: When you go to take the picture, press the shutter button partially to get the camera to pre-focus, and make sure it focused on what you wanted. If your subject (the octopus?) is out of focus, realease and depress (part way) the shutter button again, or try moving slightly closer or farther to bring the subject into focus. If you hold the button down partly, the camera will hold that focus and allow you to move some.

Depending on which Canon Elph, you may not be able to get closer than 2 feet from the subject.
:welcome: to TONMO.com Scott!!!

Those are useful tips, The thing with the flash and the foil is certainly new to me, Are you some sort of photographer?
Just a quick, relevant note to say that you photography buffs should have a look at our new Image Gallery, where visitors can now rate their favorite photos, and members can add their own comments, and TONMO.com Supporters can upload their photos to have them added to the gallery:


Those are useful tips, The thing with the flash and the foil is certainly new to me, Are you some sort of photographer?

No, but my grandfather sure was, and he got me started young.

Photographers often use a combination of a direct flash and a seperate bounced "fill" flash hooked up so that you don't get the harsh shadows that make people look like they were cut out of cardboard. Up close, any direct flash is often too much.

I forgot to add, digital cameras are also a lot quicker to learn on, because you aren't always waiting a week before you see whether something worked.

I keep looking at the cool new webcams, too, because their price is down and resolution is fair.

With aquarium pics using a Sony Cybershot DSC-P72, I never have the flash on and rely on the light from the tank's lights to illuminate the picture. I have always found that best.

In darker tanks with frogs etc i have used angle lamps to put in extra light from above.

I think it varies from camera to camera though... :?

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