Sunday, 20 July 2008

Macro Photography

Objects snapped under Macro-mode
using Nikon D40 SLR Camera

To snap close-up photos is one of the most difficult ones in photography. However, the results are sometimes rewarding ones i.e. self-satisfaction and feeling of self-admiration.
The above photographs were taken recently during my field-trip to Bukit Tinggi, Pahang.

Enclosed below are some tips from a Professional photographer (Mr. Leonard Goh) extracted from CNET articles.

By Leonard Goh, CNET editor
Level: Intermediate | 171 out of 183 users found this tip helpful

Getting extreme close-ups -- also called macro photography -- can provide amazing results, especially since many digital cameras feature a macro shooting mode that allows you to focus within inches of your subject.

It may sound easy to snap these close-ups, but there are several factors which could ruin your picture. We took these into consideration and came up with a list of tips for shooting great macro shots with your point-and-shoot.

1) Check your focus
A good close-up shot should be detailed and sharp to show the elements of the subject. So check the user manual of your shooter for the minimal focusing distance of the lens in Macro mode. Some point-and-shoots will give an indication on the LCD via a red box if your shooter cannot focus on the subject.

However, your best bet would be to zoom in on the image while in Playback mode and check if the area you focused on is sharp. It would be disastrous to find all the shots are out of focus when you view them on the PC's display.

2) Hold your breath!
Unless you're shooting in a controlled environment like a studio or room, otherwise you are pretty much at the mercy of nature when out in the field snapping macro shots. Gusts of wind or breathing too hard can make your tiny subject sway, causing motion blur. While there is no way you can stop Mother Nature, you can place your bag or ask your friend to help block and minimize the effect of the wind. For good measure, hold your breath while snapping the shot.

3) A flash of brilliance
Sometimes the weather gets cranky--one moment it's bright and sunny, then just before you press the shutter, the clouds decide to come out and play. Flip the switch and activate the in-built flash, or if you are using a dSLR, attach your hotshoe strobe for better effects. Check your shot and take appropriate action like exposure compensation to reduce the harshness of the light. Alternatively, wait for a sunny day and clear skies to shoot. Natural light provides the best illumination.

4) Clear up the mess
Try to keep the foreground and background clutter to a minimal because they might steal the focus of your shot. Human eyes are naturally attracted to bright colors, so shift your shooting angles or remove any objects to keep your snaps clean. If you're snapping in a park or nature reserve, remember not to pluck or remove any flora.

5) Keep the ISO low, use a tripod
Besides keeping physical clutter to a minimum, you should also reduce digital artifacts which can be distracting. The color on a flower petal should appear as it is, and not littered with spots of noise. Use the lowest ISO sensitivity available in your shooter and pair it up with a tripod to counter the slow shutter speed. To further reduce handshake, use the self-timer mode.

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