Part 2 of the Macro Photography segment on The Whole Picture.
Archive for the ‘macro’ Category
Part 2 of the Macro Photography segment on The Whole Picture.
Part 1 of the Macro Photography segment on The Whole Picture.
Erin Manning’s NEW Digital Photography 101 DVD
Are your pictures looking a little…blah? Are you overwhelmed with all your camera options? Would you like to know more about the light and composing a good shot? Do those “techie” videos make your brain turn off and your eyes glaze over? You’re in the right place. This DVD is focused on the photo-beginner and enthusiast. It also makes the perfect gift for anyone interested in taking better pictures, from teenagers to seniors and everyone in between!
I’ve had requests lately for more information about macro photography taken with a compact camera, so as a little Valentine’s gift to you – I’ve written a step-by-step guide for capturing those close-ups.
Have you seen a beautiful photograph in a book or magazine that captures all the detail of a flower or insect, close-up? The art of taking pictures of things extremely close-up is called macro photography. Professional photographers have expensive cameras and lenses that enable them to capture these macro shots in great detail, but did you know that your compact digital camera is also capable of macro shots? You’ve probably already noticed it, but let me formally introduce you to the flower icon on the back of your camera – it looks like this:
Pressing this flower icon button and activating the macro mode will enable you to focus closer to your subject and capture details in your images that were previously too small or out of focus. For comparison, most compact digital cameras set in macro mode will focus approximately 1 to 1.5 feet away from the subject versus normal mode that focuses about 3 feet away. And just because Macro Mode is represented by a flower doesn’t mean that flowers are the only allowable subject. Get creative with a few of the following macro photo ideas:
• Flowers and insects
• The human eye
• Baby’s fingers and toes
• Textural detail in fabric, stone or wood
• Coins and collectables
• Documenting serial numbers on electronic items
• Greater detail in your online auction images
The list is endless! Let’s get started – here are the steps and a few tips for taking better macro shots with your digital camera:
1. Turn on the macro mode by pressing the flower icon (make sure the icon appears in your LCD viewfinder).
2. Compose your shot and press your shutter button halfway down to lock in the exposure and focus.
3. Experiment with the angle and distance to your subject until the focus looks sharp in your LCD viewfinder.
4. Close proximity to your subject increases the shallow-depth-of-field blur. Keep your camera parallel to your subject for a sharper image.
5. Experiment with your camera’s zoom feature until you are happy with the perspective.
6. Now depress your shutter button all the way down to record the shot.
Problem: Under-exposed images
Solution: Move to another location or increase the strength of your light source.
Problem: Blurry images – Getting close-up magnifies more than your subject, it also increases the potential of image blur because your subject or your camera moves slightly.
Solution: To decrease the blur in your photos, stabilize your camera on a table or use a mini-tripod. To further ensure that your camera doesn’t move, use your camera’s self-timer feature and set it to 2 seconds.
Tips and tricks
• Use a magnifying glass in front of your lens to get even closer to your subject. The results can be really unusual.
• Capture water droplets on your flower images by spraying water on the petals right before the shot.
• Diffuse harsh light by using tissue paper or a transparent, white plastic grocery bag between your light source and your subject.
• Reflect light into your scene with tin foil or a car dashboard reflector.
I bring my little digital camera with me everywhere. If you see me in a restaurant, I’ll be the woman photographing not only my friends but also the table utensils, salt shaker and candle.
Macro photography opens up a whole new world of photo opportunities, and anything is possible! Look around and begin to explore. Once you see the detail in everyday objects, you’ll be hooked.
The three main areas we covered in my Digital 101 class at BlogHer were light, composition, and authenticity. My talented students picked up on the lessons very quickly and either found prior photos that would be appropriate or created new ones for submission into my BlogHer Photo Contest. After much deliberation the winners are…. drum roll please!
First Prize – Bridget Ivey aka QueenofHaddock
Very beautiful. I love the late afternoon quality of light and the timeless feel to the image. A candid shot often incorporates a person in a personal moment, unaware of the camera, and you’ve captured this moment as if it’s a memory the viewer is experiencing. You won a F.J. Westcott 42″ 6-in-1 Reflector Kit!
Second Prize – Cindy Streams aka CityStreams
This little boy looks so sweet and the image really tells a story. You’ve created a compelling composition with him in the foreground and the family visible, but blurred in the background. His expression is very authentic….as if he’s excited and proud to have a new baby in the family. You won $50 worth of Digital Photography Titles from Wiley!
Third Prize – Tara Gerner-Ziegmont aka FeelsLikeHomeBlog
Great shot! The color is vibrant, the composition interesting – nice use of the rule of thirds and the angle creates energy in the image. You won a dSLR Gorillapod from Joby!
Honorable Mention – Virginia DeBolt aka Veesees
The relationship between Mother and child evokes a warm and fuzzy feeling and the S-curve of the hand and little baby foot creates an interesting composition. Nice job. You won a Gorillapod Original from Joby!
Remember that all my BlogHer students win a premium subscription ($40 value) to Club Smilebox. Email me for details.
Thank you to everyone who participated! I enjoyed meeting you all and look forward to seeing more of your wonderful images online.
The holidays are here! Lights twinkle, candles cast a warm glow, and fireplaces illuminate the room, creating a beautiful, festive atmosphere. Most people try to capture this mood in a photograph, but often end up with underexposed, overexposed, or blurry images that don’t reflect the feeling of the moment. Low-light photography can be a challenge, but with a few simple tips you’ll be on your way to successfully capturing those holiday memories that you and your family will treasure forever.
If you’ve ever tried to capture a picture of an ornament or other holiday decoration in low-light, you may have experienced a few problems. Following are a few examples:
I shot this photo using the Auto Flash mode and Auto ISO. You can see how the flash caused a distracting reflection and overexposed the image.
I shot this second photo with the Flash Off and the ISO set to 200. I’m hand holding the camera and the image turned out blurry.
The final image was shot with the Flash Off using an ISO of 1600, and I’m still hand holding the camera. By setting the camera’s ISO to a higher number, I’m letting more light into the camera which allows for a faster shutter speed and results in a sharper image. Keep in mind, when you raise your ISO you introduce noise into your image (similar to film grain). This translates to tiny, discolored pixels in the dark areas of your image. Typically, dSLR camera sensors are better at handling higher ISO speeds, but now even compact camera sensors are producing less noise at higher speeds. Personally, I’d rather deal with a little “noise” than have a blurry shot. Experiment and see how your camera responds.
Your camera’s flash reaches approximately 10 feet so it won’t illuminate anything past that distance. When shooting a landscape in low light, turn off your flash, steady your camera on a tripod or solid surface to prevent blur, and take advantage of your camera’s two-second self timer to prevent any accidental camera movement.
- If you’re shooting with a compact camera, you may not be able to manually select a slow shutter speed, but your camera will adjust for a decent exposure.
- If you do have manual control over your shutter speed, or you’re using a dSLR, set your camera to Manual, your ISO between 200 and 400, and try various slow shutter speeds (1/30 of a second and slower). Adjust your aperture to create an exposure that looks good on your LCD viewfinder. Every lighting situation varies, so experiment and don’t be afraid to take chances. With digital photography, you can take as many pictures as your memory card can hold.
Every December our local pier dresses up for the holidays. I try to capture a different angle and lighting condition each time I venture out to document this tradition, and I always take a lot of pictures. As the light changes, I adjust my camera settings. Some of the images from this session were very dark, others were lighter, I thought this one was just right.
Here’s the deal - it’s dark outside and your subject is standing in front of some very festive lights. You’d like to capture the glow, yet still light up your subject. Poof! You take a picture and your flash goes off. The resulting image shows a well lit subject, but the lights look….washed out. What happened?
The Auto Flash works well in some situations, this is not one of them. Notice that my subject is illuminated, but the background lights look dim.
Most compact cameras and entry level dSLRs have a Night Portrait or Night Scene setting denoted by an icon on the Mode Dial or in the Menu settings. If you don’t have this option, look for Slow Synchro in your Menu settings. Night Scene, Night Portrait, and Slow Synchro use a slower shutter speed that captures the ambient light in your scene, while the flash still illuminates your subject. Since the shutter speed is slower, you may need to use a tripod or rest your camera on a stable surface to reduce image blur. Or you can use the blur as a creative element in your image. Try it, and see what happens.
This family photo was taken using a slow shutter speed (1/30) and flash. This setting allowed me to capture the glow of the tree lights and the flash cast a nice, even light on everyone’s face.
I hope these low-light photo tips inspire you to capture and remember the important people, places, and things that make your holiday special.
The holidays are here and people are coming over…yikes! Time to pull out the Christmas decorations and sweep the dust under the sofa. Well, sort of. I know one thing for sure, I’ve been way too busy to pay much attention to my interior decor. Things are looking a little shabby – the only problem is, I have champagne taste on a beer budget. What’s a girl to do? Get creative! I took macro shots of interesting things around the house, then found some cool looking frames on sale at Aaron Bros (with the museum mats), and printed up my own artwork with my Canon photo printer. Voila! A few nails later my creations were hanging on the wall, just in time for the festivities. This is one instance when things were easy, fast, AND cheap. Let the party begin.