Please visit the website for full details including dates and costs, as well as instructor bio and syllabus.


Aquarium Photography Techniques

For registration, please see the following link: This course begins September 14, 2008, register now!

Level I

Through interactive online learning with practical, hands on photography assignments and critiques of your images through your own student gallery on the MACO website, you will gain a thorough understanding of how to capture stunning photographs of marine or freshwater aquariums and their aquatic inhabitants.

During the Aquarium Photography Techniques – Level I course, you will learn how to utilize your camera equipment (including electronic flash) to capture clear & compelling images of aquariums under different conditions as well as the basic rules of composition and fundamental macro photography techniques.

We will examine how to ‘set the stage’ in an aquarium for your photo shoot while discussing a variety of techniques for capturing images of a variety of subject matter, including corals, invertebrates, and (of course) fish. We will also cover methods of photographing entire aquarium environments.

The Aquarium Photography Techniques – Level I course will also include an introduction to multimedia uses for your images & methods for displaying and sharing them as well as basic post-production skills, including digital file management and computer manipulation.


Level II

In Aquarium Photography – Level II, utilizing similar interactive, online learning methods, we expand on many of the photographic skills and techniques learned in Level I. We will also learn about the use of some additional, specialized camera equipment and proceed to more specific and advanced techniques required to capture consistently stunning, or professional quality photographs of aquariums and their aquatic residents.

Throughout Level II, you will participate in additional hands-on photography assignments that will allow you to hone and practice your photography new skills. There will be regular critiques of your images through your own student gallery on the MACO website, which will help you to further improve your photography.

During Aquarium Photography Techniques – Level II, you will learn about…

  • The use of specialized camera equipment and software for capturing unique, creative images of aquariums and their aquatic inhabitants
  • Creating outstanding images through the effective use of visual design elements & imaginative composition
  • Creative lighting techniques & specialized lighting equipment that will help you modify the quality of the light and improve your images
  • More advanced digital Imaging techniques for enhancing your images and correcting problems you encounter while shooting
  • Ways of successfully working with different & difficult subject matter & aquarium set-ups
  • Ways you can use your photographs, including how to share and display them for your friends and also how to get your best images published and possibly make some money selling your photos (if you are so inclined)

MACO will also host the return of Fish Husbandry and Reef Chemistry courses! Please check the website for full details including dates and costs.

Direct links to each course:

Aquarium Photography Course – Syllabus

Week 1


Camera Equipment

  • Camera Bodies
  • Lenses
  • Macro Equipment
  • Flash
  • Tripods
  • Filters

Computers for Photography

Week 2

Creative Use of Camera Controls

  • Shutter Speed
  • Aperture / f-Stop
  • ISO
  • Color balance

Digital Imaging 1

  • File formats
  • File Preparation
  • Resolution
  • Cropping / Resizing

Week 3


  • Reflections & their avoidance
  • Lighting
  • Electronic Flash

Aquarium Preparation

  • Cleaning
  • Aquascaping
  • Photo-specific tanks

Week 4


Digital Imaging 2

  • Color Correction
  • Exposure & Contrast
  • Sharpening & Blurring
  • Rubber Stamp & Heal

Week 5

Aquatic Subject Matter

  • Full Aquarium Photographs
  • Aquatic Animal Portraits
  • Macro & Close-ups

Introduction to Lighting Theory

Week 6

Uses and Things to Do With Your Photos

  • Multimedia & Internet
  • Printing



  • Fundamental knowledge of basic photography
  • Fundamental knowledge of computers & file management
  • A basic knowledge of working with digital photos on your computer
  • Thorough knowledge of the operation of your camera (familiarity with all buttons & modes)

Student Equipment

If you are thinking about purchasing new camera equipment in the near future, please consider postponing your purchases until after our first class, as we will be discussing what to look for in camera equipment.

Required Gear

  • Camera body (Much of the course content will be geared toward participants shooting with digital SLR cameras. However, the majority of course content will also be relevant to users of [highly functional] point-and-shoot cameras and those shooting with film.)
  • Lens (Most quality, standard lenses will work for this course) (having a variety of focal lengths available will be beneficial)
  • Computer (to deal with digital images) (will need sound card and speakers / headphones)
  • Photo editing software (class materials will be based on ‘Photoshop Elements’ but any good photo editing program will likely do)
  • Access to an (functioning) aquarium to photograph during the course

Recommended Gear

  • Tripod (highly recommended)
  • Flash (highly recommended-more than one is helpful)
  • Additional lenses (A range of lenses / focal lengths from wide to tele-photo)
  • Macro lens
  • Scanner (if you are shooting film for class) (or access to a photo-finishing lab that will scan film for you)

Fish Husbandry Course

MACO is also offering other courses, including a repeat of both the popular Fish Husbandry ( Please see the website for registration and full course details, including syllabus and instructor bio.

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