Learn Photography – 8 – Closeup/Macro

When do you “wow” a picture? I am pretty sure; it happens whenever you see something that you never expected or not used seeing them on a daily basis right? Yes, that means if you want others to “Wow” you, you need to click something people don’t see every day.
So, what is that people don’t see every day?

“The micro world!” We are so used to our daily lives, and we often forget that there is an entirely different universe around us in a micro world. In this micro-world, the colours are so vivid; shapes are intricate, life is very different, nothing is trivial. Any observational opportunity is going to create a wow moment for sure!

But most of the beginner photographers assume that micro world photography is a most challenging and expensive type of photography. Fortunately, it is not so. You don’t need anything special to do good close-up shots. Read below and let’s explore what it takes to get to the micro level.

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Manually focused on the stamens of the flower using my Sony A6000 mirrorless camera. Camera has feature that I can do precise focus using feature called “focus peaking” and “magnification”
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This is a closeup shot taken from my Samsung Galaxy Note 4, with the built-in camera application. Key is to focus. Focusing is done by touching the focus area (in the case the water drop) on the mobile screen and clicking the shot.

Focusing: The sharply focused subject is the hallmark of close up shots. You need to do a careful focusing on the intended subject or subject area. Even the mobile phones can take excellent close-up shots(above example). I strongly recommend you do manual focus and not to rely on auto-focus whenever possible. Many times while doing close-up shots in autofocus mode, I have seen the camera focusing on the unintended area. In the first example above camera could have focused on the flower than the stamens. Remember, only you know the story you are trying to tell, not the camera!

Focus distance: The quality of your images will be better if you have a lens which can focus from the closest distance. Also, remember by shooting from the nearest distance, you are also separating the background from the subject better. Different lenses have different close focus distance. So familiarize with your lens’s near focus distance and take advantage of it. Zoom lenses have longer minimum focus distance such as 1 meter and more, so avoid using such lenses for close up shots(with some exceptions as described below). Mobile phone cameras have very close focus distances such s 5 cms which is excellent for closeup shots.

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Generally, start from the far distance and keep moving closer as you keep clicking till the bug runs away! This way you are going to make best out of given situation.
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Another zoomed closeup.
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Subjects like this are very shy of the camera. Never try to chase them, wait at a place where you anticipate such fast-moving subjects. Don’t make abrupt movements. Always hide your face behind the camera. These little flying objects are very sensitive to humans.

Zoom capabilities: Even-though I mentioned already about shooting from the close distances for close-up shots, in some situations such as while shooting an insect or a fly, you may not be able to do close distance focus. Any attempt to do so might scare away your subject and ruin the whole opportunity. So now you need the help of zoom capable lens. But by using the zoom lens you are now vulnerable to camera shake, so pay attention that you are using higher shutter speeds. Also, bear in mind that even though these little creatures look like they are stationary, but they are making microscopic high-frequency vibrations. So there is a great risk of creating not so sharp pictures. Also never do digital zoom if your camera supports it.

Light: Closeup shots need good soft light illumination on the whole subject. But never shoot close up shots in bright sunlight as it will destroy all the finer delicate details on the subject. In close up shot success depends on the details you are able to showcase. A cloudy day is a better day, but there should be enough light. Avoid using the camera flash as it’s too harsh.

Time: Close up shots are the most time-consuming photography activity in my opinion. So spare lot of time to take these shots.

Multiple Shots: Take many shots of the same subject as much as possible. It’s difficult to check the results on the tiny screen of the camera and judge. Also, make sure to click the shots from different angles and settings then chose the better ones from your computer later.

Macro Lens: Macro lenses are special lenses meant for close up shots. Macro lenses also have very short focus capability. In the shortest focus distance, they capture 1:1 image reproduction on the camera sensor. Only when the image is reproduced at 1:1 ratio, it’s a Macro, otherwise its a closeup. If you are very serious about macro photography invest on a good macro lens. (I still don’t own a macro lens)

Ext Tubes: If you don’t have a budget for a dedicated macro lens, you could try the extension tubes. When attached to your camera, you will be able to do closer focus on your existing regular non-macro lens than it was designed for.

 


Reversing the lens: If you think you don’t even want to spend on extension tubes and still want to do the macro photography, then there is another way! The technique is called “Reversing the lens.” Here you will take out your lens from the camera body and attach(hold) it inside out on your camera! Google about “reversing lens” and find out about them. All the pictures I posted above set are taken using this technique. As you can see, the depth of field becomes too shallow, and focusing becomes challenging.

Some more of the closeup shots I have taken with my regular lens below.

 

 

Close-ups open up whole new world for us. Once you get into closeup photography, you will start seeing possible subjects everywhere.

Liked this session? Make sure to check out my earlier sessions here.

Now let’s get closer! Have a question? post it below.


Exercise

  1. Post atleast one or two pictures, keeping today’s topic of “Close up / Macro” in mind. Apply all the things we learnt in the previous sessions. (New or old pictures accepted!)
  2. Let me know type of camera(mobile, DSLR, point and shoot)
  3. Try to put EXIF data (shutter speed, aperture, ISO) so that I can comment better unless you shot the picture on the mobile phone.
  4. Add a tag ‘XDrivePhoto’
  5. Add a pingback to this post. (Basically, copy the URL of this post, and paste to your post. (Anywhere)
  6. Title the post as “XDrive Photo Lesson – 8 – Close up/Macro”

Your ping-backs may not appear immediately as I have to enable them later. I will check your post and I will comment on your post itself. I will post selected contribution links to this post later so that others can also see and learn from them. (Please note there is no time limit for your contributions, you can post them anytime, I will respond to them as you contribute. You can also make more than one contributions to the same topic)

Although these lessons are geared towards newbies, expert photographers also welcomed heartily. I need to learn too! There are no teachers here everyone is learning.

Cheers and Happy clicking!


Contributions

https://whakaahuablog.wordpress.com/2017/09/06/pitter-patter-rain-drops/#comment-2484

Flower of the Day – September 7, 2017 – More Orange

https://ameditativejourney.wordpress.com/2017/09/06/xdrive-photo-lession-8-close-upmacros/#comment-5849

https://shareandconnect.wordpress.com/2017/09/07/xdrive-photo-lesson-8-close-upmacro/#comment-67274

https://mazeepuran.wordpress.com/2017/11/20/learning-about-closeup-macro-photography/comment-page-1/#comment-6836

 

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66 Comments Add yours

  1. Excellent photos and tips on macro photography.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      Thank you Khurt for your appreciation! 🙂

      Like

    1. Raj says:

      Thank you for you appreciation! 🙂

      Like

  2. hati03nisa says:

    I wud love to see myself trough ur cam

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Raj says:

      Be my guest 😍, it’s a pleasure! 🌷

      Liked by 1 person

      1. hati03nisa says:

        😇😇hope one day…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. N says:

    Those pictures are exquisite!!!!! breath taking really…I have always loved your close up shots with the delicate details that they bring out. This post is such a treat!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      Thanks N your appreciation means a lot to me.. Thank you for giving support and encouragement! 🌷

      Liked by 1 person

  4. K. Joseph says:

    Your suggestions are quite helpful, even for a person who has been taking pictures for years….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      Oh thats very sweet of you to say.. Means a lot.. Thank you Joseph!

      Like

  5. Amy says:

    Great tips and lesson, Raj! Macro shots are rewarding, but challenging. See you later. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      True Amy… but I wont call my photos as macro…they are just closeups..

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Amy says:

    Oh, I forgot to mention, exquisite images!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      Thank you Amy.. 🙂

      Like

  7. Absolutely stunning photography! The micro world is indeed fascinating. I sometimes tend to focus on a small area of a grass lawn …such variety there that it seems like I am peering into a thick forest.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      Thanks Pragalbha… yes they are fascinating to watch.Just watch a movie “Honey I shrunk the kids!”, you will be amazed!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are welcome. I have seen the movie, I remember being so wide-eyed and fascinated 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Leya says:

    Great shots from a wonderful world and good, useful tips. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      Thanks Leya for your support and appreciation!

      Like

      1. Leya says:

        It is you who support us 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Helen C says:

    Wow! The first flower photo – only Sony A6000 can take that kind of photo?
    Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      No, Helen.. actually any decent camera would do that.. Only thing is careful focusing is required.. this camera gives lot of benefit for manual focusing..that’s all. Your Nikon should be able to do it very easily.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you so much for the guideline. Your shots are excellent!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      Thank you Miriam for your kind words! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re very welcome!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. mywords2228 says:

    great photo’s, you really capture every little detail of each subject!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      Thank you very much for your appreciation ! 🙂 Glad you liked them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. mywords2228 says:

        You’re welcome!

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Robin says:

    Beautiful photos! And a great lesson. As I find time, I am going to try to start at the beginning. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      Thanks Robin, please do and let me know if you need any clarifications.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Robin says:

        👍 thank you 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Super close ups 🙂 it never ceases to amaze me how good phone pics can be. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      Thank you Julie for your appreciation.. 🙂 Yes mobile phones can create a magic too..

      Liked by 1 person

  14. The Real Me says:

    Hi Raj,
    Could you take a few minutes to look at the photos I’ve taken, as well as critique my blog? Thanks so much!

    Like

    1. Raj says:

      Hey, thanks for your comment. But, you need to start a new post with some pictures in it as per the requirements. (they are in this post) .. Its rude to go to someones post and make a comment and suggest things. Hope you understand. If the post is as per my guidelines then no one can question my critique .. hope you understand.. Thank you.. You have a great set of pictures there!

      Like

      1. The Real Me says:

        I had zero intentions of trying to be rude.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Raj says:

        Hey… I did not say that you were rude… What I meant was, I cant simply barge into someones blog and sound rude.. by commenting and saying .. “You did not take the right picture ” because I am doing a critic. So I wanted you to make a separate post as per the requirements I posted (in this post) and then this gives me authority to critic your picture. Hope I clarified.. Once again “Your were not rude”.. I welcome you here! 🙂

        Like

    2. Raj says:

      I just checked your blog, it looks like you just started, your post does not allow comments or likes. You have to enable them from the “Post Settings” section in Edit mode. Please do, other wise people cant communicate to you.

      Like

  15. A Wanderer says:

    Amazing photographs.😍 You always show the magic of photography through your pictures☺

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      Thank you wanderer for your kindness.. 🙂 Cheers to you too..

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Instaology says:

    Really great macros!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      Thank you very much for your appreciation! 🙂

      Like

  17. dunelight says:

    Brilliant shots and insightful words, thank you for your info.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      Thank you very much for stopping by and appreciation.. 🙂 Cheers to you.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. LisaDay says:

    I love macro photography and I especially love all your shots with water droplets, particularly the first one. Beautiful.

    Like

    1. Raj says:

      Thank you Lisa for your kind words of appreciation.. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      Thank you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      Thank you Ram for your reblog. Glad that you liked it. 🙂

      Like

  19. dunelight says:

    Fabulous focal plain….it is hit or miss with me due to weak eyes. These are all spot on!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      True it happens to me too. Bu these Sony cameras have an excellent feature called “Focus Magnifier” and “Focus Peaking” where camera automatically highlights the focus area and even magnifies the focus point while at Manual focus. That helps me a lot. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. dunelight says:

        What are you shooting that has this feature?
        Right now my body is attacking my eyes again, uveitis. In my right eye, which normal is my focus eye of choice. I did surprisingly well with my left in an shoot with my 50 mm portrait lens last week though. I am supposed to buy another pair of glasses with prisms. The voice of experience, prisms really mess up your focus. :/ Whaddyagonnado.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Raj says:

        I have a Sony Alpha a6000 (Mirror-less) it has this feature.

        Liked by 1 person

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