Aquatic Photography ... Advise please


New Member
I used to use a point and shoot Canon SD1100IS with the Aquarium mode, pictures came out ok but the Video was pretty good.
I have seen some really beautiful pictures posted by members on this site ad will like to do the same.
A couple of months ago I bought a Canon T1i with Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens. Can anyone suggest what mode and or settings I should use to take pictures of my fish.
I took some recently and posted on the Showcase section of this forum.
thanks for your advise ;)


Super Moderator
It's time to go manual! Yay!

Your camera has good ISO performance. You have a couple of choices.

One is to invest in a remote flash and trigger and the other is to shoot without flash at all.

Now shooting with a remote flash from above the tank is the cat's meow. It allows you to light the fish in a much more natural way and it allows you to increase the shuitter speed to ap oint where you can freeze the fish in motion no matter what's it doing.

Shooting with a higher ISO and without flash is a little trickier and you won't be able to get really crisp shots but it beats using the auto modes and it beats using onboard flash.

Put your camera into manual mode. Set your shutter speed to somewhere in the range of 1/60th to 1/100th, aperture in the f/5 range and ISO to about 1000. What's critical in shooting with high ISO only is that you attempt to shoot the fish when they are calm, not racing around the tank. You wil not be able to freeze the fish with this shutter speed if it is moving quickly. One way to control that is to be as far away from the tank as possible so that the fish behaves normally, and not all freaked out because you are close to the tank thinking you'll feed it. Of course you want to fill your viewfinder with the fish, so don't stand so far away that the fish will be hard to see. Use your zoom. :)

Take a couple of pics with those settings and see how they turn out. If they are dark, increase your ISO. If they are too bright, then you haver some room to increase your shutter speed or to decrease the aperture (going to a higher f stop). I do think those settings will be close, but will be dependent on how much light you have over the tank.

Post a couple of pics here and we'll go from there.


New Member
Gerry, thanks buddy I will try the non remote flash settings and let you know how they come out. I will post them to show you.
Funny you brought up the remote flash, I bought a Canon 430EXII during the boxing day week. Can I use this flash as you have directed above? should the Flash be directed towards the tank from above or pointed to celing to bounce back?
I dont have a flash diffuser yet, waiting for a deal on a Gary Fong which seems like never goes on sale :-(


Super Moderator
With Canon, you need either a flash cable or a transmitter to fire the flash remotely. The idea is to fire the flash down into the tank or bounce the flash off a material just above the tank. A styro box, rain gutter, there are several ways to do this but the ceiling is simply too far away form the tank. I prefer shooting the flash directly into the tank. That's how I taught the boy in Alberta and if I'm not mistaken mareshow is using canon gear.


New Member
Good morning Gerry
followed your instructions (the one without the flash) and it worked well. Had to go with a higher ISO to increase the brightness
I dont have a flash cable or a transmitter so will not be using the flash for these pictures for the time being.
I tried to post the pictures that I took last night but was not able to on this Thread.
when I click on the insert image button its ask for the URL of the image. I will post them under the showcase section and post the link to this Thread
thank you