среда, 25 декабря 2013 г.

ESSENTIAL TIPS FOR MACRO. Simple steps to capturing a stunning macro shot

The ultimate guide to capturing stunning close-up photographs of any subject

The ultimate guide to capturing stunning close-up photographs of any subject

Macro is the official term for extreme close-up photography, and the idea is to make small objects look larger than life size. It is a hugely popular shooting technique, as macro images capture fascinating details, patterns and textures that are often invisible to the naked eye. It can also help to show your subject in an entirely new way and can produce some beautifully dramatic and sometimes abstract images, all you need is a little bit of know-how beforehand.

To take a macro photo, you need to be able to focus on your subject while it is very close to the end of your lens. If you are serious about this type of photography, then it is a good idea to invest in some of the specialist kit that we mention in this feature. However, you don't have to spend a fortune to have a go, as most digital cameras now come with a dedicated Macro mode. You can even take stunning close-up shots with your cameraphone, so there really is nothing stopping you from trying your hand at this fascinating genre.

It's not difficult to find fantastic subject for your macro shots either, as there are plenty of small objects to be found around your house or garden that will look interesting up close. Then, once you have found something to shoot, it is easy to master your camera settings and lighting techniques to help you produce some stunning images. Focusing close up is often the trickiest part of macro photography, but with our few simple tricks you will have no problem taking sharp shots.

We have packed this feature full of all the essential tips you'll need to get started with macro, including some advice on choosing a subject to shoot and how to frame your shot for the best results. Follow our simple guide and then it's all down to you to experiment, practise and develop your photography skills to create a macro masterpiece.

Macro kit options All you need to capture great close-ups

Close-up filters
Close-up filters screw onto your lens and allow it to focus more closely to your subject. Hoya’s close-up filters are available in +1, +2, +3 and +4 levels of magnification and a range of different sizes.

Macro lens
A dedicated macro lens will let you focus at a short distance from your subject. This 40mm f2.8 Micro lens from Nikon has a minimum focusing distance of 163mm and a wide maximum aperture for creating a shallow depth of field.

Extension tubes
Extension tubes fit between the camera body and lens, lowering its minimum focusing distance so you can get closer to your subject. This Dorr Extension Tube Set contains three tubes of different lengths to combine together or use individually.

Macro mode
Most cameras come with a Macro mode, which is usually represented by a flower icon on your mode dial or in your camera’s menus. It will reduce the minimum focusing distance of your camera, for optimum macro settings.

TOP MACRO SUBJECTS. Interesting things to shoot up close

Beautiful plants
Go out after it has rained or add your own water droplets to create more texture.
When shooting outdoors, shield the plant from the wind to prevent blurry shots.

Intricate insects
Find a particular area that is popular with insects and wait patiently for them to arrive. Insects tend to move more sluggishly in the morning until it warms up, so shoot at this time if possible.
Move slowly when shooting insects and use a longer focal length so as not to startle them and make them run or fly away.

Everyday objects
Find objects with intricate details or unusual textures that look great close up.
Create an abstract shot by shooting a small part of a larger object up close.

Fruit and veg
Look for pieces of fruit and veg that have interesting colours, textures and patterns.
Once you have shot the outside of the fruit, cut it open and capture the inside too.

Macro lenses naturally have a shallow depth of field, so set a high f-number to keep as much detail as possible sharp. Use Burst mode to take a series of shots of moving subjects. Use a tripod and self-timer on static ones to stop blurring. If your photos are too dark, use a slower shutter speed or raise your ISO. Just look out for grainy images at high ISO values.

GET PERFECT LIGHTING. Lighting techniques to help enhance your macro photos


Soften the light
Make use of natural light either outdoors or through a window, but avoid shooting when the sun is very bright as it will create harsh shadows in your photos. For more control over your lighting, create your own using a desk lamp. Try placing some tracing paper in front of it to soften the light for more flattering results.

Keep it natural
Using your pop-up flash when shooting up close will produce very harsh light for your images and could startle your subject if you are photographing insects, so turn it off. Use a tungsten white balance setting when using a desk lamp.If the light hitting your macro subject is too bright, try blocking it with a piece of paper or card, or reposition yourself to create some shade with your body.



Compose for more impact

Knowing how to frame your shot is also a vital part of capturing a marvellous macro photo. The position of your subject and the background you use both affect the overall balance of the image, so try to experiment to find out what works best.

Fill the frame
As is the aim with macro, your subject will naturally fill the frame if you can get your camera close enough. A tight composition will also help to create a more dramatic, abstract or intimate image.
Fill the frame

Position off-centre
Use the rule of thirds to create an engaging composition. Place your subject, or the most important part of it, off-centre in your shot. Switch on your gridlines and place it where the lines intersect.

Position off-centre

FOCUS UP CLOSE. Keep your macro subjects sharp

If you are using autofocus, be sure to set the focus point over the most important part of your subject to ensure this is the sharp part of the frame. When you are close to your subject, the camera's autofocus can sometimes struggle. Taking the time to manually focus will ensure your shot is sharp.
 
Moving subjects
Using continuous autofocus will get your camera to track your subject as it moves and keep it in focus, even if its movements are fast and unpredictable.If you know where your subject is going to land or move to, then use manual focus to pre-focus on that spot, then fire the shutter when they come into view.
 
If you can't find a clean backdrop for your shot, try adding your own by placing a piece of paper or card behind your subject. Also try using coloured card or wrapping paper that complements your subject.

Produce unique or abstract images by shooting your subject from unusual angles. For example, try shooting from above or underneath and make use of your tilting LCD screen if you have one.

If the background is natural, make sure the colours complement each other and there are no distractions. It is best to include no more than three colours in your photo to prevent it from appearing too cluttered.


 






 


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