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Macro photography tips with example photographs and images

Macro photography tips with example photographs and images

by Tanya Puntti

Macro photography tips, images and photographs

Shown below is a set of 10 amazing macro photographs. Each photograph includes an explanation of the camera equipment that was used and tips on how it was taken. While many of the images have been taken with a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens, the settings can be reproduced with any real macro lens. You’ll aslo notice they were photographed with an entry level DLSR camera from quite a few years back now! My point being, anyone with a DSLR camera can shoot awesome macro photographs.Click on each image to see a larger version of the photograph.

1. Hoverfly in flightmacro example of a hoverfly insect in flight

Photograph of a hoverfly in flight was taken with a Canon 400D SLR entry level camera, a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens and a Canon Macro Twin Lite MT-24EX flash.

Exposure shutter speed: 0.005 sec 1/200
Aperture: f/11
Focal Length: 100 mm
ISO Speed: 200
Exposure Program: Manual
Metering Mode: Pattern

Macro photography tip #1: If possible, use a ring flash or twin lite flash when shooting macro. It will allow you to shoot at a reasonable speed, yet enable you to keep the aperture on a high f/11 for sufficient depth of field. Of course, I understand it isn’t always possible for fellow DSLR photographers to purchase such equipment. No problem, keep reading for other tips.

via Macro photography tips with example photographs and images.

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Posted by on January 25, 2012 in Flash Photos, Inspiration, Macro, Worth a Look

 

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TUTORIAL: What’s your time of day? (Part 2) Shooting at Second Light

By tom dinning via Light Stalking

This is a guest post by Tom Dinning who, besides being a professional photographer, teacher and mini-celebrity in the Light Stalking community, has also shared some very popular tutorials in the forums and in other posts.

If you have recovered from my recent post on shooting at first light, you might be ready for something a little more sedate. Enjoy breakfast with your partner, have an extra cup of coffee, even suggest your partner might like to come along (…on second thoughts, tell him/her you’re going to the dentist). Today we are photographing in that lovely light after sunrise.

Second light – Botanic Gardens.

I call this second light because, although I hate getting up too early, my preference is still for the light before sunrise. Still, it’s a great time to be out and about, especially if you’ve pulled a ‘sicky’ from work to join me.

I’m heading for the local Botanic Gardens for no particular reason than it’s there. My kit is made up of the usual suspects: a wide zoom (14 -24mm) and mid (24-70mm) but I’ve added a macro and a long focal length (200mm) for good reason as you will see.

Today is bright and sunny so I make sure I have all my lens hoods and a hat (that’s for my balding head). The tripod is always with me. In my experience, this time of the day can be deceiving. There seems to be heaps of light about but the shadows are quite dark so there could be some moderately long shutter speeds, especially if I want an extended depth of field.

(If you’re a beginner and I’ve just lost you with that stuff about depth of field and shutter speed, ask someone on Light Stalking to explain it to you. They’re really good at that.)

In my part of the world, this time of the day always seems extra saturated with the colours and the tonal contrast is amazing. So, I take full advantage of this. It’s what I call ‘shooting for the conditions’. I can’t change the climate but I can learn to live with it.

My eyes immediately begin to search the landscape for places where this saturation and contrast brings out the best in the frame. Deep green shadows are avoided. Speckled light is hard to expose correctly so I move out into the open.

Botanic Gardens are designed. So it’s worth looking for vista’s, frames within your frame, and nooks that have been purposefully constructed to catch one’s eye.

The low angle of the Sun provides beautiful backlight, rimming the tree trunks and highlighting the foliage. I walk and watch towards the Sun. seeking out long shadows that can be used to lead the eye.

Foreground and background are important but it’s easy to clutter the frame with too much. To avoid this, I take full advantage of my walking shoes and seek the best perspective before shooting; always endeavoring to keep that sun in the background.

‘But shooting into the sun?’ I hear you say. With a bit of maneuvering, the sun can be tucked behind some foliage or a tree trunk. You will need to  watch that histogram for blow-outs (sorry, there’s nothing wrong with the tires on your car). If you’re not sure how to use it, read the Light Stalking article on how to read a histogram.

Go for detail in the shadows if you can and let the sun burn out a bit behind the trees. It gives a nice halo effect and gives the impression of a brilliant sunny day. But don’t overdo it.

Since it’s usually quiet this time of the morning there’s always an opportunity for a self-portrait. Seats are placed strategically among the trees for effect as well as rest, so include them in your shots.

Also look for those special plants, unusual textures, surprising angles and, of course, the obligatory close-up.

One thing I learnt from this trip was to watch where I leave my kit. This is the time when the gardeners are testing their sprinkler system. At least it saves me washing this week.

For some reason, Botanic Gardens are not heavily frequented by wildlife. I have more birds in my back yard. I did find a few grazing geese and a spider, but other than a stray dog and a dead cane toad, I was the only animal in the park – and even my zoological status has been questioned by some.

Now its time to finish up. You’ll have enough time to download this lot before settling on a nice lunch and a glass of Chard. Then prepare yourself for the midday run.

Thanks for joining me.

This is a guest post by Tom Dinning.

via Light Stalking » TUTORIAL: What’s your time of day? (Part 2) Shooting at Second Light.

 

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How Using Just One Light Will Make You a Better Photographer

By alohal via Light Stalking

Many times, one light is enough.

The master of the “one light,” Zack Arias once racked up a huge debt from being a gear head. From this experience, he learned to use the bare minimum equipment and came out stronger as a photographer. As someone who has been a gear head myself, I subscribe to Zack’s philosophy that a little gear can go a long way. After all, we are trying to develop not a collection of stuff, but a body of knowledge with which we create artistic interpretations of what is around us.

So, one light is enough.

The effectiveness of lighting depends on where you place it, how much power you give it, and what it does to enhance the composition of the image.

One light can enhance ambient light. Copyright Aloha Lavina.

The photo above was made in late afternoon. The sun was descending, and it made these wonderful streaks across a vine-covered wall. I asked Afrodite to stand in front of the wall, positioning her where the sun’s rays would spotlight her in the brilliant gold dress.

I also placed a bare flash gun camera right and above her head, tilted so it shone a light parallel to where the sun’s rays fell. I put a light shaper tool called a snoot on the bare bulb—essentially a cereal box I had cut and taped together with black duct tape so it fit on the front of my flash, but that’s another story— focusing the light specifically on her head.

Because the composition already had the sharp slice of shadows and streaks of light from the sun, I only needed a pop of light to remove some shadows from the model’s face. I opted to give the flash the intensity of 1/32. That was enough to enhance the sun’s light without overpowering it, and the portrait looks like it was lit with natural light.

Who would have thought a bare light could be this soft? Copyright Aloha Lavina.

Even in a room without large windows, it’s possible to use just the one light. For the shot above of Angie with the burgundy curtain, I placed a bare flash about two meters in front and above her head, zoomed out to a wide range, around 24mm, so I could illuminate her and parts of the curtains.

I asked Angie to play with the drapes and waited for just the right moment to take this image. The result is soft light, almost like that from a beauty dish, but it was actually from the light of one bare flash. Who knew that undiffused light could be so soft?

The trick was to control the amount of light that came out of the flash. I triggered the flash with my on-camera flash on commander mode, and the effect I wanted was of lamplight in a room—soft, with soft shadows. The flash firing at 1/40 was enough to create the lamplight effect.

Arias mastered his shoot-through umbrella along with the one light. I prefer to use a 60 cm softbox. It’s one of these inexpensive, non-brand items that fold up like a reflector. It’s light and I can use it with portable flash guns: great for portability and flexible set-ups.

I used the softbox to enhance the window light in the shot of Chloe below. This image was taken around one in the afternoon. Lots of harsh light outside. But in this broken building with the North facing window, that harsh light came in softer than it would have been without the roof. I wanted to enhance that softness; my model had a soft look, and soft light would accentuate that. So I placed one light in a softbox, firing at 1/16 to approximate the window light, about half a meter away from the model. The result was an image that had brilliant, diffused window light.

One light plus one light shaping tool equals soft portrait. Copyright Aloha Lavina.

With one light, you have the advantage of learning everything you can about how minimal gear can help you make magic. It’s true that learning how to light with only one strobe can be a challenge. But it’s a challenge that doesn’t hurt your pocket, and can only help your skill.

Aloha Lavina is a Bangkok based photographer whose photographs have appeared in CNNGo (USA), UTATA Tribal Photography Magazine (USA), Seventeen magazine (USA), Estamos! (Ecuador), The Korea Times (South Korea), and several books. You can see her work at her website, read her articles on her blog or follow her on Twitter.

via Light Stalking » How Using Just One Light Will Make You a Better Photographer.

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2011 in Featured, Flash Photos, Technique, Tutes & Tips, Worth a Look

 

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On Camera Flash Photography Tips

by Ricky Davies at PictureCorrect

on camera flash photo

“the girl stops traffic” captured by Stacey Russell (Click Image to See More From Stacey Russell)

If you already own a DSLR camera then you are halfway there to capturing some beautiful images. However having a camera alone isn’t going to make you an excellent photographer. Knowing how to use the camera on the other hand will. In this article I am going to discuss how to use on camera flash to get some pretty excellent results.

The great thing about having a flash gun is that their much cheaper than purchasing lenses with a low aperture. Now low aperture lenses are great and I have a few in my line up but there’s only so much a low aperture lens can do and without light you can’t capture any images at all.

Now as many of you know I’m a Canon shooter so I would recommend either of these flashes:

  • Canon 430 EX II Speedlite (expensive but not too expensive)
  • Yongnuo 456 (Chinese product but does the job)

The two above flashes are excellent products. If you can afford the Canon 430 ex II Speedlite then get this one as it has a better build quality than the Yongnuo. However having said that there is nothing wrong with the Yongnuo 460 and you can probably buy 3 of these things for the canon equivalent.

If you already have a flash then great, if not look into getting either of the above as the built in flash already on your camera is pretty much a waste of time. The images will look rubbish and the results will be unflattering.

Indoor Flash Techniques

The reason why I recommended both flashes above was that they have the ability to tilt and swivel the main head. Other flashes are fixed and I really don’t see the point in these flashes at all. If you have a fixed flash then sell it now because you are ruining your chances to taking good on camera flash photos.

Now let’s say the flash is mounted to your camera and you’re shooting in landscape mode. The most unflattering shot to take in this instance is to point your flash head straight at the subject and fire off a shot. If you don’t believe me then take the shot yourself. You should notice that the image looks washed out and your subject will have a deer in the headlight look to them. Not good at all!

If you have a white wall available you will want to turn your flash head to face this wall. A ceiling is just as good. Turn your flash head so that it is facing against the wall/ceiling and then point your camera at the subject. Take your shot.

flash photography tips

Photo captured by metal menace (Click Image to See More From metal menace)

You should notice that there aren’t any harsh shadows on your image. This is because the white wall has now diffused the light which in turn has created a much softer and natural light.

No wall/Ceiling available

Now in some instances in my case quite a lot there won’t be a white wall to bounce light off upon. So what do you do in these instances? Well don’t worry I’m going to tell you. You need a light diffuser to create the same effect.

Stofen Omni Bounce

The most common light diffuser for a Speedlite is a Stofen Omni Bounce. One of my friends describes them to tupperware but they do actually do a job. You simply put the Stofen on top of your flash and once again point the flash head up in a vertical position and fire away.

The only thing about the Stofen that I don’t like is that it wastes flash energy by throwing light in all different directions which sometimes is an unwanted effect. For this reason I often use the following product.

Gary Fong Diffuser

Now I have no idea who Gary Fong is but I’m guessing he is a photographer, because the product he came up with would only be thought of by a photographer. The Gary Fong diffuser is a little weird to look at but I swear by its results. The Gary Fong is a much larger diffuser than the Stofen Omni Bounce so it gives better results.

Images taken with the Gary Fong produce less harsh shadows and because of the way the product is designed no light gets wasted.

flash photo

Photo captured by Robert Nemeti (Click Image to See More From Robert Nemeti)

The Free way

Now I have no idea what this diffuser is called, I simply call it a bounce card but I’m unsure if this is technically correct. These bounce cards though are an excellent way to diffuse light if you’re on a budget.

When I first started shooting weddings people were a bit worried that I was shooting them using a card on my flash, however I believe my results speak for themselves.

About the Author
Learn how to make your own Flash Bounce Cards. You can also find more free DSLR Tips by visiting my camera tutorial website.

via On Camera Flash Photography Tips – PictureCorrect.

 

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Understanding Flash Photography

Caroline lighting setup

Image by Serge Van Cauwenbergh via Flickr

Although this video contains an advertisement for a specific brand, I’ve included it here because it describes and explains how our shutter and flashes work together in a very succinct way. These two factors really emphasise how limited your camera is when using flash, and some tricks to overcome it. I’m sure you’ll find something of interest to you in this video 🙂

So did you learn anything? I did!

 

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