Aquarium Photography Tips

I can not explain how much I love aquariums. Any size aquarium from the large sea life centres to smaller coastal centres and all those in between. I got to go to the Blue Planet Aquarium near Chester to try out some Aquarium Photography Tips.

Of course, I took my camera along with me like I do on any day out and again I was faced with new experiences and challenges other days don’t necessarily bring.

The main thing about aquariums is the fact that most of the exhibits are glass and water. Both of these are a pain to work with due to distortion and refraction, with curved glass and water being the main culprits of this. Having never played around with refraction photography before even with just a wine glass with water, the aquarium did seem like a jump in the deep end (pardon the pun).

Standard example of refraction and the distortion that occurs

To reduce the distortion and refraction it is imperative to get flush (perpendicular) to the glass and on a level with the subject. In other articles, it has been suggested to get a rubber lens hood. To stop light distorting the image from the sides so the image is as clean. Without being in the water with the fishy subjects.

Aquarium Photography Tips


Another difficulty with water is focusing. Due to the depth of water between glass and subject, focusing on automatic can take a longer time than usual and not generally focusing on what you intend to photograph. Meanwhile manual may not be quick enough due to the subject of fish being quite speedy. After experimenting with both autofocus on AIservo and on manual, sticking with auto and having patience paid off.

I don’t know whether it’s the sports photographer in me being impatient, but this slower-paced photography is a lot more relaxing and satisfying. Especially if you love aquariums as much as me.

Light and Balance

The light in the aquarium varies mainly with blue tones, it’s another challenge for the colour balance. I didn’t quite manage to get this right so in editing. I ran some of the images through a black-and-white filter and adjusted it to do with light rather than colour.

Again it’s trial and error, just as long as you enjoy yourself.


Published by Briony-Molly

Photographer & Designer. Horse Owner, Book Fanatic

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