RSS
 

Posts Tagged ‘CloseUp’

Weekly Photography Challenge – Macro or Close-Up Photography

13 Jan

Last week’s challenge was to get out and shoot some winter photography. Maybe you already tried some macro then – if not, now’s your chance.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Weekly Photography Challenge – Macro

Close-ups of snow, icicles, frost patterns, etc., can be stunningly beautiful. So bundle up, grab your macro lens or extension tubes and a tripod and get out there and shoot some winter macro photography.

Need more help? Try these dPS articles:

  • 7 Different Ways to Approach Macro Photography
  • 5 Quick Tips for Outdoor Macro Photography
  • How to Get Stunning Macro Photos with Your Mobile Phone
  • Behind the Scenes of Marvellous Macro Insect Imagery
  • Tips for Depth of Field Control in Macro Photography
  • 5 Macro Photography Tricks to Make Your Images Stand Out
  • Getting Started with Abstract Macro Photography

Simply upload your shot into the comment field (look for the little camera icon in the Disqus comments section) and they’ll get embedded for us all to see or if you’d prefer, upload them to your favorite photo-sharing site and leave the link to them. Show me your best images in this week’s challenge. Sometimes it takes a while for an image to appear so be patient and try not to post the same image twice.

Share in the dPS Facebook Group

You can also share your images in the dPS Facebook group as the challenge is posted there each week as well.

The post Weekly Photography Challenge – Macro or Close-Up Photography by Darlene Hildebrandt appeared first on Digital Photography School.


Digital Photography School

 
Comments Off on Weekly Photography Challenge – Macro or Close-Up Photography

Posted in Photography

 

7 Steps to Improve Your Closeup Candid Street Photography

01 Oct

Many people want to improve their street photography or get involved with this genre for the first time. But the major aspect that holds them back is the issue of taking close candid pictures of people without their permission. While I promise that it gets much easier over time, it can very difficult to get over the hump early on.

7 Steps to Improve Your Closeup Candid Street Photography

However, there are some steps you can take that will help ease you into the world of street photography if you do it right. Here are a few important tips that I believe will make shooting candid street photography much easier for you.

1. What to do if you get caught

Before we talk about how to get closer to your subjects, the first step is knowing what to do if something happens. The toughest aspect of getting into street photography is the fact that you will feel very uncomfortable with the idea of someone catching you and asking what you are doing, at first. However, while those situations are usually rare, if you handle them the right way, they don’t have to be all that bad.

7 Steps to Improve Your Closeup Candid Street Photography

To help ease your fears, it is important to know what to say if anyone should stop you and ask you if you took their photo. Smile, own up to it and say that you are a photographer or photography student doing a photo project on the area and the people in it. Tell them you thought they looked great and wanted to add them to it. Just be honest and open about it. If they then seem uncomfortable, offer to delete the photograph. It can even help to carry a business card with your photography information and to offer to email them the photograph after. The more direct and pleasant you are, the more disarming it will be.

To further keep yourself out of trouble, pick and choose the people you photograph carefully. It can help to stay away from photographing anyone who looks like they are in a bad mood, anyone with some sort of mental disability, or anyone who is homeless.

2. Light camera and prime lens

Street photography can certainly be done well with an SLR and a zoom lens. I shot for a long time with that setup. However, using a smaller camera such as a mirrorless, micro 4/3rds, or a Leica will make you much less noticeable. In addition, it will be lighter, which will make you faster and can only help with street photography. The difference is night and day.

By using a prime lens you will get used to the fixed focal length which will make you much more spontaneous. You will be able to intuitively know what your camera can capture before you even bring it up to your eye. That, and your camera will be smaller since zoom lenses are usually very large. With a light camera and lens, you will eventually notice yourself capturing images so quickly that your subject barely even notices you. This is the type of thing that is much tougher to do with an SLR and big zoom lens.

3. Picking a spot / getting in the middle

7 Steps to Improve Your Closeup Candid Street Photography

The next tip, which is often the most important, is to go where the action is and get right in the middle. It will be important for you to eventually photograph in all types of situations, from less busy to very crowded, but particularly when you are learning, go where a lot of action is happening. Go to fairs, get out at busy times, shoot from busy corners. The more that is happening, the more invisible you will be, and the less you will be noticed by other people. This will help a lot with your comfort level.

By picking a spot and letting your subjects come to you, you change up the dynamic of the situation. Instead of you entering their personal space, they will be entering yours. You will seem less creepy and intrusive because you will already be there with a camera. It will look like you belong.

In addition, when a moment occurs, you will already be the right position. You will be able to spend more of your energy watching your surroundings for a good moment to occur. This, of course, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t photograph while you are walking and exploring, just that you should carve out some time to linger in a specific spot.

4. Acting

7 Steps to Improve Your Closeup Candid Street Photography

There are some photographers who will run up to people and get right in their face. If that’s your thing, more power to you, but many photographers prefer to be less conspicuous about it. We want to capture an interesting moment, we love to people watch, but we want to try to make the situation as comfortable as possible for both parties, and we want to be inconspicuous enough to not ruin the moment.

This is where a little acting can come into play. The most important thing is to act like you don’t notice the person you want to photograph that much. Look at things behind them, and to the side. They just happen to be in your way. Play the role of tourist, looking around. The more you do this, the more you will be able to get away with taking the photo unnoticed.

5. The camera snap and the way you move your camera

7 Steps to Improve Your Closeup Candid Street Photography

Similar to the last point, the way you move your camera can play a big part in keeping the situation candid. There is one thing that most photographers do, called the camera snap, where they take the camera away from their eye instinctively right after they take an image. Of course, there will be shots that you take so quickly that people won’t notice. But for other moments when the people notice you, this will often give away the fact that you were taking their photograph. Instead, take the picture and keep the camera up to your eye. Then move the camera away like you were taking a picture next to them and slowly remove the camera from your eye.

Similarly, you do not always have to point your camera directly at people right away to capture the image. Instead, point the camera above or to the side of your subject as if you were taking an image of something behind them. Then at the last second, move the camera over them, take the image, and move on.

6. Hold the camera up high

7 Steps to Improve Your Closeup Candid Street Photography

Whenever possible, try to keep your camera in your hands and at attention when you are photographing. If you allow it to hang off your neck, then when an amazing moment occurs you will have to locate and grab the camera before putting it to your eye. This is the least conspicuous way to capture an image.

Instead, try to keep the camera up high as much as you can. Then, when you take an image you will stand out less. It will feel much less conspicuous.

7. Zone focusing

7 Steps to Improve Your Closeup Candid Street Photography

Zone focusing is the technique of turning your camera to manual focus mode, pre-focusing it to a distance of about 8-10 feet, and then capturing your subject once they are in the range of sharpness for your camera. This is easier to do with a wide-angle lens with a medium to small aperture such as f/8 to f/16 so that there is more area of your image in focus. Keep in mind that this is a skill that can be improved – there are many photographers who can zone focus well even at f/2.

You can read more about zone focusing here, and while it is a little difficult to learn at first, you will quickly get much better at it. The main benefit of this type of focusing is so that you no longer have to lock the autofocus in on your subject. This allows you to be a little more spontaneous with your shooting, and it will give you an added split second to take the photograph. That, in turn, will allow you to better capture those very fast moving moments.

Most importantly, it will allow you to be a little more candid than you can be using autofocus. Since you won’t have to point the camera directly at your subject to lock in the focus nor will you have to look through the viewfinder to make sure you are focusing correctly, you can be much more inconspicuous. This will allow you to shoot from the hip and still know that your shots will be sharp.

Conclusion

I hope these tips help you do better candid street photography, and with more confidence.

So get out there, get close, and capture some amazing and spontaneous photographs!

The post 7 Steps to Improve Your Closeup Candid Street Photography by James Maher appeared first on Digital Photography School.


Digital Photography School

 
Comments Off on 7 Steps to Improve Your Closeup Candid Street Photography

Posted in Photography

 

Watch a real-time 4K close-up video of the solar eclipse at totality

06 Sep

You might be getting sick of all the solar eclipse articles, but in the aftermath of last month’s phenomenon we keep running across incredible new vantage points—from this amazing (and viral) climber photo to this footage shot from a weather balloon in the stratosphere. Here is one more jaw-dropping capture.

Photographer JunHo Oh shot this 4K close-up of totality from Warm Springs, Oregon using a Panasonic GX85 attached to a 2160mm f/12 telescope and a RainbowAstro RST-150H Harmonic Drive robotic mount.

In the video above you get to watch the eclipse reach totality up close before tracing the corona in all of its solar flare-fueled glory. In the zoomed out version below you can watch the full eclipse at once. Both are worth 3 minutes of your time… and a healthy shot of awe.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
Comments Off on Watch a real-time 4K close-up video of the solar eclipse at totality

Posted in Uncategorized

 

Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 launches with selfie mirror and close-up lens attachment

29 Mar

Fujifilm has announced the Instax Mini 9, a new instant camera that has launched in five colors: Lime Green, Flamingo Pink, Smoky White, Ice Blue, and Cobalt Blue. The Instax Mini 9 builds upon the company’s Instax Mini 8, bringing with it a selfie mirror as well as a new close-up lens attachment enabling photographers to snap photos as close as 35cm / 14in.

Fujifilm says the ‘popular’ features from the previous model are rolled over into the Instax Mini 9, including auto exposure. The camera chooses the optimal brightness setting for any given snapshot, highlighting the chosen setting by illuminating one of four lights corresponding the following settings: Indoors, Cloudy, Sunny (overcast), and Sunny (bright). The user then manually switches the dial to that setting.

Other features include a 0.37x viewfinder with target spot, an automatic film feeding system, flash with an effective range from 0.6m to 2.7m, and support for two ordinary AA batteries. A pair of AA batteries can power the camera through approximately 10 Instax Mini film packs before needing replaced.

The Instax Mini 9 will launch in the U.S. and Canada next month for $ 69.95 USD and $ 99.99 CAD, and then in the U.K. in May for £77.99.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
Comments Off on Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 launches with selfie mirror and close-up lens attachment

Posted in Uncategorized

 

How to Photograph Close-Up Details of Newborns and Infants

29 Jan

Newborn portraits warm hearts and bring tons of joy to those who view them, especially if they are the new parents or extended family of the newborn. Often, we focus on capturing the new baby among their surroundings with various props and scenes setup. One area we might overlook in our quest to photograph their fresh new life is the tiniest of parts in comparison to the larger world around them. Parents love these special details of newborns just as much, and you’ll enjoy taking them, too.

newborns

The Gear

Using a macro lens or a close-up filter will help you get in tight without the need for cropping in post-processing which may degrade the image quality later. Ideally, you want to use a macro lens as they stay sharp while allowing you to get in closer than ever before.

Close-up details of newborns macro lens

If you don’t have a macro lens or close-up filter in your lineup, a zoom lens works well, too. You can be a short distance away and still get close-up without needing to crop. Post-processing may help with sharpness if you’re using a zoom lens.

Non-macro fixed lenses may be a little more challenging to use for getting close up, depending on their minimum focusing distance (how close you can be to the subject while still keeping it in focus). Investing in a fixed macro lens or close-up filters would be more suitable for this application.

The Hands

Everyone remarks on the small hands of a baby and how soft they are when they’re holding them. There are two ways to photograph close-up details of newborn hands to make an impact.

The first way to photograph new hands is up close. Hands resting near their body or close to their face shows the small details on their hands and provides a glimpse into how soft they are.

Close-up details of newborns hands

The second way to photograph their hands is against another person’s hand, finger, or an object that shows the actual size of their hand. By capturing hands near or holding an object, the viewer easily can gauge how small the baby’s hands are in comparison to the world around them.

Place their hand around a parent’s finger, or a special family heirloom like wedding rings to show their true size.

Close-up details of newborns hands

As the newborn grows, hands become an integral part to how they begin to use their body or hold themselves steady. Make sure to give some focus to their hands in the coming months as they grow and start to grasp objects, use them for balance, or while they are relaxing in a seated position.

Close-up details of newborns hands

The Face

A newborn’s face is priceless to their parents. Photographing details of their face at various angles will give you more than just a straight-on standard image. Their tiny nostrils or eyelashes can have a tremendous impact on the viewer. Ears, lips, and hair are just as valuable to capture in an image when focusing close-up and on details.

Close-up details of newborns face

As the child grows, his or her face will change tremendously from those first few weeks. Photographing their face over the course of infancy will be a proud addition to their baby album as they morph features from one parent to another over a short time.

Close-up details of newborns face

The Feet

The feet are extra soft and cuddly, minus the wrinkles of age or use. They might be pricked and prodded before they get home, but photographing them alone is worth the additional editing time it may take to remove small pricks from hospital needles. Getting in close to shoot details of newborn feet makes the viewer almost want to touch them and feel how smooth and gentle they are.

Close-up details of newborns feet

Try capturing their feet while they are lying on their back and while also snuggled up on their stomach. Both angles will give you options to again add-in family heirlooms in addition to showing just how tiny they are in comparison to their parents’ fingers. Parents love these types of images that embody the love they have for their new addition.

Close-up details of newborns feet

Also, as growing infants become more aware of their feet, you’ll be able to capture them against a backdrop of their face while sucking on their toes, or pulling back from touching the green grass outdoors for the first time.

Close-up details of newborns feet

Wrap-up

Getting close-up with newborns is essential to telling the entire story of their fresh new life.

Photographing these little parts makes for beautiful wall decor, while also capturing the same features one might ordinarily try to get set in ink for their baby book. To cherish their growth over time, getting in close with macro or zoom lenses offers the best option when focusing on these tiniest of parts and parents will absolutely love these details shots.

Please share your newborn details photos in the comment below, or post any questions you have.

googletag.cmd.push(function() {
tablet_slots.push( googletag.defineSlot( “/1005424/_dPSv4_tab-all-article-bottom_(300×250)”, [300, 250], “pb-ad-78623” ).addService( googletag.pubads() ) ); } );

googletag.cmd.push(function() {
mobile_slots.push( googletag.defineSlot( “/1005424/_dPSv4_mob-all-article-bottom_(300×250)”, [300, 250], “pb-ad-78158” ).addService( googletag.pubads() ) ); } );

The post How to Photograph Close-Up Details of Newborns and Infants by Kate Nesi appeared first on Digital Photography School.


Digital Photography School

 
Comments Off on How to Photograph Close-Up Details of Newborns and Infants

Posted in Photography

 

Macro Photography on a Budget: An introduction to Close-up Filters

21 Jun

close-up-filters-flower

Have you ever seen some stunning pictures of insects, where you can clearly see each individual element of their compound eyes, or looked through your Instagram feed marveling at photos of flowers where you can see the tiniest detail on each individual petal? If so, welcome to the wonderful world of macro photography, one in which the little things in life are not only celebrated, but magnified to glorious proportions, and even the most mundane objects around us can take on beautiful otherworldly qualities when examined under near-microscopic detail.

This particular type of photography is not only stunningly beautiful but often prohibitively expensive, at least for the casual hobbyist. A good macro lens can easily set you back several hundred dollars, and that’s not counting the accessories like a good tripod, a ring flash, and other gear that is liable to turn this past-time into a debt-inducing money pit. Thankfully there are several good alternatives like extension tubes and lens-reversing rings to aid you in your quest for beautiful macro photography, but my personal favorite is one of the cheapest options available: close-up filters.

close-up-filters-anthers

This image, and all the other macro-style shots in this article, were not taken with an expensive macro lens but with a $ 35 set of close-up filters I screwed on to my 50mm lens.

A true macro lens is designed to create true 1:1 (life-size) replications of very small things on the image sensor of your camera. If you have a coin that is 2cm diameter, a high quality macro lens will be able to take a photograph of that coin wherein it is literally the same size on your camera’s image sensor. Taking these types of photographs requires a host of light-bending optical gymnastics on the part of your lens. In the process there are almost always tradeoffs in image sharpness and overall light-gathering ability, which is why macro lenses cost so much money, because they contain special glass elements to minimize any optical imperfections.

Close-up filters rely on a very simple, very old, idea to make it possible for any normal camera lens to focus on objects that are, as their name implies, very close to your lens. All lenses have a minimum focusing distance, which is as close as you can get to an object and still have it be in focus. A +2 filter will make it possible for a lens with a minimum focusing distance of 1 meter to now focus on something .3 meters away. A +10 filter would decrease the minimum focusing distance to .09 meters. The math is slightly complicated, but suffice it to say the higher the number on your filter, the closer your lens will be able to focus.

close-up-filters-leaf-droplet

Close-up filters are also very inexpensive and you can often find a set with three or four filters for under $ 40 that will work with your lens.

A close-up view of close-up filters

So what is a close-up filter? Simply put, it’s basically a magnifying glass that you screw onto the front of your camera lens. Just like their investigative counterparts wielded by famous fictional detectives through the ages, close-up filters rely on a single curved piece of glass that bends light in such a way as to enlarge whatever you are viewing. Don’t let the nomenclature confuse you; nothing is being filtered, but light is being altered before it enters your camera lens, in the same way that a magnifying glass alters light to make objects appear bigger.

close-up-filters-eye

The set of filters required to take a photo like this costs about the same as a movie and a large popcorn.

Limitations

Using close-up filters is a great way to get started with macro-style photography, but they have some very important limitations that you need to be aware of to start. First of all, they only do one thing, which is shorten the minimum focusing distance of your lens. You can’t use them for normal photography, since all you will see when you attach one to your lens is either a big blob of blur, unless you focus on something very close to your camera. It’s the same phenomenon that happens when you hold a magnifying glass at arm’s length instead of right next to your face, and it severely limits the usefulness of close-up filters.

True macro lenses work for a variety of photographic situations, and due to their high-quality construction are generally much sharper than non-macro lenses, which make options like the Canon 100m f/2.8 or Nikon 105mm f/2.8 so highly praised. Screwing an inexpensive close-up filter on the front of your camera might let you get fun shots of flowers, but it will in no way equal the astounding optical properties of a true macro lens.

Even something as mundane as forks sitting in a dish rack can turn into a work of art when viewed up close.

Even something as mundane as forks sitting in a dish rack, can turn into a work of art when viewed up close.

Another downside of close-up filters is that the images you create with them are not at all the same as what you can get from dedicated macro gear. Photos are generally much softer, will usually exhibit unpleasing artifacts like chromatic aberration, and don’t allow you to have the same pleasing background blur that you would get without the filters attached. Finally, while macro lenses will let you focus on objects that are very close as well as far far away, close-up filters will only let you focus on subjects that are right next to your lens. All these limitations might sound important, but they’re really not that big of a deal. Once you learn to work around them you can get some stunning images from your camera using close-up filters.

Close-up filters are nowhere near as sharp and optically brilliant as a true macro lens, but they can still produce some pretty good results.

Close-up filters are nowhere near as sharp and optically brilliant as a true macro lens, but they can still produce some pretty decent results.

Advantages of close-up filters for macro photography

After spending so much time pointing out the flaws with close-up filters you may wondering why you would want to even bother with them in the first place. As I mentioned earlier they are an incredibly inexpensive way to dip your toe into the waters of macro photography, and the results you can get from such a simple piece of glass will likely be far beyond what you ever thought possible shooting with your normal gear. The photo below of a yellow lily was taken with a standard 50mm lens and a +10 close-up filter, which is a fairly standard, inexpensive option. It’s not at all uncommon to find sets that include +1, +2, +4, and +10 filters all in one package that costs $ 40 or less.

An un-cropped image taken with +10 and +2 filters attached to a 50mm lens. Note the severe blue fringing on the edge of the petals, which is the result of using filters instead of a true macro lens.

An un-cropped image taken with +10 and +2 filters attached to a 50mm lens. Note the severe blue fringing on the edge of the petals, which is the result of using filters instead of a true macro lens.

After I shot that picture I took the filters off my lens and took another photo of the same flower as close as my lens would allow. As you can see there is a dramatic difference between the two images and even though the top picture is not as sharp as an image taken with a dedicated macro lens, the results are perfectly fine for someone just looking to dabble in this type of photography, without spending much money.

The exact same flower. Without the filters, this was as close as my lens would focus.

The exact same flower. Without the filters, this was as close as my 50mm  lens would focus.

Another fun feature of filters is that most of them can be stacked on top of each other, to get even greater magnification. To make the jewelry images below I used three filters on my 50mm lens: a +10, +4, and +2 all screwed into each other, and attached to the lens itself. I set the ring down on an iPad that was turned off to get a little bit of reflection, and while the result is not something I would use in a catalog or on a billboard, it’s more than enough to suffice for my needs.

close-up-filters-ring

It might look fancy, but the gear required to take this photo was pretty basic and inexpensive.

Unlike other faux-macro solutions, like reversing rings or some of the cheaper extension tubes, close-up filters still allow you to use autofocus. Even so, you might get best results if you focus manually or use focus bracketing to make sure you get just the right shot. Finally, one of my favorite aspects of close-up filters is how small and portable they are. I like to keep a +10 and +4 in my camera bag and if I find myself in a situation that would be good for some macro shots it’s fast and easy to screw one on, take a few shots, and put it back in my bag.

Are pictures taken with close-up filters as sharp and detailed as one would require for them to be printed in a magazine? No, not by a long shot. For truly brilliant close-up photos you need the right gear like a macro lens, but hopefully you can see why close-up filters, despite their limitations, do a decent job of getting you halfway there.

This insect is about the size of a quarter but it appears exquisitely detailed and larger than life when photographed with a close-up filter.

This insect is about the size of a quarter, but it appears exquisitely detailed and larger than life when photographed with a close-up filter.

Choosing the right close-up filters

Since close-up filters do not involve a lot of complicated technology and contain no moving parts, it’s hard to go wrong when looking for a set to buy. However there are a few considerations that you need to keep in mind.

First, look for a set of filters that fit your lens. Check the thread size of your lens by looking for the  symbol for the Greek letter phi  and the numbers immediately before or after it will be the size you need (look inside the back of your lens cap). Common sizes are 52, 55, or 58mm, but depending on your individual lens it could be quite different so make sure to find the size that fits your lens before you buy any filters.

Next it’s a good idea to get filters that are made from metal and glass, not plastic. Filters with a higher build quality are easier to screw on and off, less likely to get scratched, and may even include special anti-reflective coatings. You can sometimes find brand name options made by the big manufacturers like Canon and Nikon, but I get plenty of good results with third-party filters from companies like Hoya or Polaroid, and the results are just fine and they cost a fraction of the price as their officially-branded counterparts.

A set of close-up filters filters like this will help you get macro-style images without breaking the bank.

A set of close-up filters filters like this will help you get macro-style images without breaking the bank.

I hope this article has helped you learn a bit more about this inexpensive but quite practical solution for taking macro-style shots. Do you have any experience shooting with close-up filters? Are you the kind of photographer who prefers to shoot with actual macro lenses? I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts in the comments below, and please feel free to share your favorite macro photos.

googletag.cmd.push(function() {
tablet_slots.push( googletag.defineSlot( “/1005424/_dPSv4_tab-all-article-bottom_(300×250)”, [300, 250], “pb-ad-78623” ).addService( googletag.pubads() ) ); } );

googletag.cmd.push(function() {
mobile_slots.push( googletag.defineSlot( “/1005424/_dPSv4_mob-all-article-bottom_(300×250)”, [300, 250], “pb-ad-78158” ).addService( googletag.pubads() ) ); } );

The post Macro Photography on a Budget: An introduction to Close-up Filters by Simon Ringsmuth appeared first on Digital Photography School.


Digital Photography School

 
Comments Off on Macro Photography on a Budget: An introduction to Close-up Filters

Posted in Photography

 

Ready for its close-up: X-Pro2 defines a new era of video for Fujifilm

08 Feb

Video has previously been one of the great weaknesses of Fujifilm’s X-Trans cameras but that’s all changed with the X-Pro2. We’ve shot our test scene, pounded the streets of New York and captured all the visual clichés we could, to show you what the X-Pro2 can do

The X-Pro2’s headline video specs are broadly unchanged compared to previous models but the quality has moved forwards dramatically. It’s still not going to be the first choice for professional use but it’s now more than competitive amongst its 1080-shooting peers. Add in the ability to apply Film Simulations to your shooting and video becomes another storytelling tool in the camera’s arsenal.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
Comments Off on Ready for its close-up: X-Pro2 defines a new era of video for Fujifilm

Posted in Uncategorized

 

Macro stick-on lens brings close-up capability to smartphones

04 Nov

Most smartphone cameras seriously struggle when it comes to macro photography. A number of accessory macro attachment lenses are available, but many of them are device-specific and bulky enough to discourage carrying every day. Now the makers of the 150x Micro Phone Lens microscope attachment have come up with an ultra-portable and very affordable solution compatible with virtually all smartphone cameras – a stick-on macro lens. Read more

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
Comments Off on Macro stick-on lens brings close-up capability to smartphones

Posted in Uncategorized

 

Getting Started Guide to Macro or Close-Up Photography

22 Aug
Close up photos of flowers can make for interesting colours and shapes

Close-up photos of flowers can make for interesting colours and shapes

There is something magical about seeing a subject up close and personal. This opens up a whole new world of options for you as a photographer. Close-up photography, or macro photography, can be a very rewarding form of photographic expression. The great thing about it is that you can do this from your basement at home, if necessary. Of course you can, and should, go outdoors too and setup shots in a forest or at the sea, but you can also setup shots of everyday subjects and shoot them up close.

Think of an old watch, a flower or even some food items that could be shot on your kitchen table. The shapes, textures and colours come to life in the world of macro photography, but it can be tricky and fidgety. Sometimes beginners are put off by this aspect and assume they need specialist skills to make close-up images. This is not necessarily true. Like any other aspect of photography, you need to understand how your camera works, and work within the limits of the equipment you have. Do you NEED to have a macro lens? In short, no. There are a few other cheaper options that you can experiment with before investing in a macro lens. Let’s take a look at how you can get going in close-up photography. This is really an introduction article, and I will be putting together some more detailed articles on the various aspects of macro photography, but first, let’s start with the basics.

Sometimes overexposing or underexposing can add to the image

Sometimes overexposing or underexposing can add to the image

1. Get as close as you can

This sounds obvious, but try it. Set your camera up on a tripod, choose a subject (anything will do really) and get your camera up close to the subject. Switch your camera to Manual focus. You can try autofocus, but generally you will be able to focus a little closer on manual focus. If you are using manual focus, the tripod will be important. There is nothing worse than trying to get your subject in focus when you are off balance, or you keep moving, so use the tripod. Once you have your subject in clear focus, look at the composition, just as you would with any other image. Use the various composition guidelines to put your image together and take the shot.

This is just the beginning, you will find that you will make minor adjustments and shoot another shot and so on. I find that when I do close-up or macro photography I get lost in this small world of intimate details. When you look through the viewfinder, try and visualize it as a small world or a small landscape scene. Pretty soon you will find that you will be totally swept up in it and that is the fun part.

Getting in close will help to isolate the subject and throw the background out of focus

Getting in close will help to isolate the subject and throw the background out of focus

2. Do I need a macro lens?

To do some great close-up shots, you won’t need a macro lens. You can use almost any lens to make close-up images. Bear in mind that each lens has a minimum focusing distance. This can range from a few centimetres (1-3″) to half a meter (20″) depending on the lens. Telephoto lenses will have a longer minimum focusing distance, while medium range lenses (24-70mm) will have a closer focusing distance. The difference between macro lenses and non-macro lenses is that a macro lens has a much shorter focusing distance (30cm/1 foot or closer) in most cases.

Also, a macro lens has a magnification ratio of 1:1. What that means is that the lens can reproduce the subject onto the sensor at it’s actual life size. So if your subject is 20mm in size and it is captured as 20mm on the sensor, that means it has a 1 :1 ratio.  Some lenses can only reproduce a 1:2, or 1:3, ratio which means that the subject will be half the size or less, on the sensor, relative to the size of the subject. I would suggest that you try close-up photography with the range of lenses you have. See which one works best. Prime lenses are usually a good place to start as they have great clarity and sharpness. I used my 50mm f/1.8 for a long time before I invested in a macro lens. Once you feel that you are limited by your lenses or that you think macro photography is a genre you want to expand on, only then consider buying a macro lens.

This image was shot with an old 70-300mm lens at F4

This image was shot with an old 70-300mm lens at f/4

3. What can I photograph?

The beauty of close-up photography is that – when one properly, a shot of a cup of coffee can be fascinating.  Suddenly the pattern in the latte cream looks amazing, the bubbles and cup shape become very intriguing. We very rarely look at everyday subjects up close and when we do, they can be really interesting. The same is true for flowers, an aged piece of wood, electronic goods, even a knife and fork, just about anything can become a subject for macro photography.

Some of the more challenging subjects are those that move. Subjects like insects, flowers, leaves, grasses and any other subject that is outdoors. For these, you will need more patience and better timing. Photographing a close up of a flower on a windy day will be really tough. If you want to do macro photography outdoors, maybe start off doing it on a windless day or in a sheltered area. Alternatively, you could go and buy some cut flowers and set them up in a vase, setup the shot and take a few images. The controlled environment of the flowers in a vase will make things much easier. Insects are even more challenging. They sit still for very short periods and move very quickly.

The name of the game to get good insect macro shots, is to be patient. To get some honeybee images in the past, I have set up my camera on a flower and attached my cable release. I then manually focused the lens to the flower and simply waited until a bee or another insect was in the right place and snapped off a few shots. Generally one in ten shots were usable and I was pretty happy with that, but they take time and patience.

Be patient and set up your shot beforehand when shooting insects

Be patient and setup your shot beforehand when photographing insects

4. Where to from here?

I found that I really enjoyed close-up photography. Once I got into it, I spent many hours trying to get some unusual images of flowers or insects. You may find this too. Get your tripod, cable release, choice of lens and set up a scene either indoors or outdoors. Get in a close as you can and start working with the scene. Change your depth of field until you are happy with what is in focus and what is out of focus. If you are using a macro lens, be careful about shooting with a very shallow depth of field. F/2.8 will mean that a VERY thin sliver of your scene is in focus, and that can be difficult to work with at first. Start at f/8 and work from there.

Experiment with different exposures, sometimes a slightly overexposed macro scene can look good, so play around with that. Above all, have some fun. Use it as an exercise in learning more about photography, and try and get some dynamic images too! In a future article, I will go into more details about settings and exposure modes. In the mean time, start shooting some close up images and let’s see how things look.

A close up of a poppy flower, the details are what is mesmerising!

A close-up of a poppy flower, the details are what is mesmerising!

For more information on macro or close-up photography check out these dPS article:

  • Equipment for Macro Photography – Video Tips
  • 6 Tips for Near-Macro Photography with a Telephoto Lens
  • How to Focus-Stack Macro Images using Photoshop
  • The Wonderful World of Macro Lenses: Close-Up Photography Lesson #4
  • Reverse Lens Macro: Close Up Photography Lesson #3
  • Extension Tubes: Close Up Photography Lesson #2
  • Getting Up Close with Close-Up Lenses

The post Getting Started Guide to Macro or Close-Up Photography by Barry J Brady appeared first on Digital Photography School.


Digital Photography School

 
Comments Off on Getting Started Guide to Macro or Close-Up Photography

Posted in Photography

 

Ready for its close-up: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 Review

22 Jul

If the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 premium superzoom was a game-changer, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 changed the game yet again when it was introduced last month. With its 1″-type 20.1MP CMOS sensor and 25-400mm equiv. F2.8-4.0 lens it’s an ideal candidate for travel, offering a larger-than-average sensor and generous zoom range. With 4K video recording and a lower MSRP, it gave the already-impressive RX10 a run for the money. Read more

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
Comments Off on Ready for its close-up: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 Review

Posted in Uncategorized