Snoot lighting for Frogfish

Article and Photo by…. Andy Wingate

Whether they be hunting, walking, glaring or yawning any type of Anglerfish (AKA Frogfish) makes a great subject for the lens! Probably the hardest part of shooting these is finding them first, but once you’ve found your first the next time becomes easier. Being a master of disguise they will find a habitat that they can easily and expertly blend into including weed and soft coral or if black simply hide in the shadows, however once hit with artificial light the fish illuminates a different colour from its hideaway, hence to say a good dive light should be part of your equipment. I have shot many in the Gold Coast Seaway (Qld) and Tweed River and Jack Evans Harbour (NSW) in most months of the year. I have found they tend to reside for 2-3 weeks in the same small area and then move on.

The locations mentioned mostly don’t offer a colourful or interesting background so my preferred method of shooting is with a ‘Snoot’, which is especially useful on a sandy/silty bottom to minimise back scatter isolating the subject and that used with a 60mm lens is my perfect combination. I tend to shoot around the f16-18 & 1/220-1/320 to create the black background and give me the depth of field required to capture some of the incredible detail. The most striking part of the Anglerfish are the eyes and these should be paramount to the composition and lighting. The lure if on show also makes a striking detail and if this is to be a key element of the shot the exposure should be set to suit this because if it’s ‘burnt’ out by too much light the colour and feather like detail are lost. Also what makes the Anglerfish an amazing subject to shoot are all of the other components including tassels, warts, hairs, feet (yes feet!) and if lit properly can add texture and mood to the shot. 

The shots attached have all been shot here in the sites previously mentioned and all with either one or two strobes with attached snoots simultaneously in a variety of positions. 

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