Diving Into New Territory
(Author: Alex Seith)
As I walk down the Aisles of PetSmart to retrieve a more luxurious bed for our corgis, I witness a great sale on fish supplies, more importantly, a fish tank. You might be thinking that this is a great opportunity to expand the family by purchasing some new pet fish, in that case, you and I are not on the same page. An eighty dollar fish tank marked down to thirty dollars is an absolute steal and was the ticket into finally doing some fish tank photography. These sales technically are to target people that have about another couple hundred dollars to spend on more fish supplies (like a pump, filter, and some tank decorations), but unfortunately for them, this product is great on its own for photographers/videographers. Sorry, PetSmart.
Anyone who watches YouTube videos on how professionals set up amazing product scenes can immediately get lost in the flashy footage they showcase towards the end of the video (or sometimes the beginning), and IMMEDIATELY want to try it themselves. Peter McKinnon is the YouTuber that inspired me to give this a shot, and of course, he makes it look easy (video here). There are occasionally some tiny details you forget to consider once you get all of the supplies and are ready to start setting up. For instance, how am I supposed to fill a 10-gallon tank with water and transport it to my set-up? I'll tell you right now that you will definitely not be carrying it over from your kitchen sink. I'll spare you the trial-and-error details and just tell you that I fed a watering hose through my living-room window. Unfortunately, as someone who likes to take things one step at a time, I'll have to fill you in later on how exactly to extract the water from the tank in a more efficient way, but for now, I'd find a bucket that fits the width of your tank, and start scooping when you're finished.
One more detail for this shoot is to consider the fact that the fish tank is in fact see-through, so you'll need to have a black backdrop if you want this to look good. A cheap set of black cotton sheets will work better than you'd expect (at least until you can afford some black velvet instead). Once you have that prepped, if you're like me, you'll now remember that the tank is glass and is reflective and will reflect other objects if you don't eliminate any light sources outside your set-up. Good thing that this is a sheet SET and comes with a second sheet to put behind you. Otherwise, waiting till night time to shoot works well too.
And NOW, you're ready to start increasing your prices! (kidding, but not really).
You'll find an image of the setup along with some test footage on this blog, but keep in mind that this is only for demonstration's sake to showcase footage you can be working with. So, for now, you get an example shot of me throwing some oranges into a fish tank. Think bigger and see all of the possibilities this creates for you and your future productions.