Macro photography is a great way to tune up your vision, get artsy with extreme close-ups, and have fun along the way. Whether you use a specialized lens or an accessory such as extension tubes, macro transports you into an intriguing world of eye-catching details and designs.
Most often, my own macro work consists of capturing "found" objects - i.e., shooting things that catch my attention right where I find them. However, at times, I set up scenes myself, with a goal of coming up with images that are more about the graphics (such as pattern, repetition, shape, line, or color) than about the subject itself.
For my latest home macro project (shown below), I placed colorful tumblers on a window sill - but away from direct sunlight - in order to take advantage of the soft natural light. A macro lens let me zero in tight on the graphic-design aspects of this collection of plastic drinking glasses.
To keep things as steady as possible, I used a tripod with a cable release (to prevent possible vibration from my hand touching the camera). A very small aperture (f/22) ensured a good depth of field - as much sharpness as possible from front to back. In addition, I set a white balance preset of Sunlight (Daylight) to record the vibrant colors just as I saw them.
- See Kerry Drager's Creative Close-ups course at BetterPhoto's online school of photography.
- Check out his previous blog on macro photography and graphic design.
- Be sure to catch Kerry's new books co-authored with Jim Miotke: The BetterPhoto Guide to Creative Digital Photography and The BetterPhoto Guide to Photographing Light.