My top 10 favorite fish to photograph

Top 10 Lists

Posted May 20th, 2021 by Elisabeth

As underwater photographers we certainly favor some fish over others to photograph. There are so many cooperative (and many more uncooperative) fish in our oceans, but they all give us a unique photo experience. I’ll share with you my favorites, let me know yours!

  1. On number 1, it’s got to be the Tiger shark for me. I absoutely love how they move underwater and their stripes are the most beautiful pattern! Once you start spending more time with these beauties, you also discover that they all have a different character and behavior. My favorite place to photograph them is at Tiger Beach in the Bahamas. tiger shark close up photo
  2. Number 2 is for me the majestic Whaleshark. I am very lucky to live on Koh Tao which is on the migratory route for (smaller) Whalesharks. A few months per year we get quite some sightings at different dive sites. I love their spots and all the remoras accompanying them. We always make sure to take a photo of the left side between the gills and the pectoral fin, so we can submit these photos to help identify these sharks.whaleshark underwater photography
  3. My next favorite is the Giant Oceanic Manta Ray! It is the largest type of ray in the world and makes quite an impression when he or she is checking you and your camera with their big eyes. oceanic giant manta
  4. The Hammerhead as seen here above is another all time favorite. You can see them in schools in Indonesia or Galapagos for example or just by themselves in The Bahamas, Egypt, Mexico… There are different species roaming around our oceans. These sharks are often found swimming along the bottom of the ocean looking for prey. Their unique heads look almost cartoon-like on a photo.
  5. Striped Marlin is high on the list too. Like Sailfish, Striped Marlins are super fast and incredibly difficult to photograph. In Magdalena bay in Baja California there is a yearly sardine migration and it is a great opportunity for underwater photographers to follow them, jump in the water and try getting great shots of the Marlins in action. marlin ball
  6. The little Yellow Boxfish! Everyone’s favorite. They look so adorable underwater, but make no mistake, to try photograph them from the front is ridiculously hard. They keep spinning around! little yellow boxfish photo
  7. Frogfish on number 7. Aren’t they the strangest looking fish?  Frogfish are a member of the anglerfish family. They lure their pray close to their mouth with their angler and the suck them in with a big gulp when they open their massive mouths. Frogfish are the master of camouflage, but when you find them spend some time checking their behavior out! frogfish close up photo
  8. There are 28 different species of Anemonefish! Quite a challenge to take a photo of too. Anemonefish live in sea anemones in which they make their homes. They come in many colors, such as pink, red, yellow, black, brown and multi-colored stripes. The Pink Anemonefish are definitely a favorite for the photographers on Koh Tao. Anemone fish clownfish
  9. Bannerfish…schooling or in pairs. Their yellow fins and black and white striped bodies look amazing against the blue of the ocean. If you want to challenge yourself, try take a frontal shot of the Bannerfish with only the eyes and nose in focus! Bannerfish
  10. The Batfish. We are lucky to have lots of schooling Batfish around the Koh Tao area so whenever we dive, there is always some Batfish around. Great to photograph in schools, but also just to focus on one and try getting a dark background for example. batfish yellow black background

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Top 10 Lists FAQs

Where can you best film / photograph sharks?

For me, the best place in the world is Tiger Beach in the Bahamas. To reach this destination you will have to fly to Grand Bahama (West End) and then get on a liveaboard to get to Tiger Beach, because the shark area is about 20 miles off shore. But it is totally worth spending 5 full days diving with a variety of sharks there. Most photographers will go for th Tigers, but if you arelucky you will spend some time with Hammerheads and Bull sharks too. The other sharks living in that area are Caribbean reef sharks and Lemon sharks.

What is a yellow boxfish?

The little Yellow Boxfish is most probably everyone’s favorite sweetheart. They look so cute when they swim… It is a little fish, yellow with black spots and box-shaped! Juveniles are yellow but when they mature the number of spots decreases and the yellow blends into almost a brownish/ocherish yellow color.

Do you have schools of Batfish around Koh Tao?

We have a couple of dive sites around Koh Tao where you can find big schools of Batfish. The biggest one has got to be the Sail Rock schooling Batfish. There are 100’s of them swimming in the blue close to the rock and getting the occasional cleaning session on the reef by cleaner wrasse. When they all group together and swim synchronically in one direction it is a very impressive sight! A great opportunity for photos or video. At the other deeper dive sites like Chumphon Pinnacle, Shark Island and Southwest we also see some smaller schools.


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