Three Basic Rules of Close-Up Photography by Kristen Smith

So you want to get close, huh? ‚Close-up pho­tog­ra­phy is mag­i­cal and can be done with almost any lens, even your nor­mal zoom lens (all of these shots were taken with the Zuiko Dig­i­tal 12-60mm zoom, not a macro lens). ‚Sure, seri­ous macro pho­tog­ra­phy requires spe­cial­ized equip­ment, but you can get good results right away using what you have if you remem­ber a few guidelines.

First ‚œ get close! ‚So many times I see ‚Ëœclose-up‚„ pic­tures that include way too much in the frame. ‚Like a flower image that shows other flow­ers, leaves, a fence, the dirt etc. ‚That‚„s not a close-up. ‚The rea­son good close-up and macro pho­tos are so mag­i­cal is that they show us a world we might not ordi­nar­ily notice. ‚Here‚„s what to do, find out how close your lens will focus and then try and stick to that as much as pos­si­ble. ‚My ZD 12-60mm lets me get a cou­ple inches from my sub­ject and does a good enough job that I can some­times leave my macro lens at home.

Ice Crys­tals by Kris­ten Smith

Sec­ond ‚œ iso­late! ‚Close-up pho­tographs are much more effec­tive when the sub­ject is clearly sep­a­rated from the rest of the scene. ‚You can do this in two ways, first by choos­ing a sub­ject that doesn‚„t have any­thing near enough to be in the frame with it. ‚So pick that flower or mush­room that doesn‚„t have any friends. The sec­ond way you can iso­late your sub­ject is by open­ing your lens to a large aper­ture. ‚Doing this lim­its your depth of field and cre­ates an out of focus back­ground also known as bokeh. ‚Of course sharp focus on your main sub­ject is crit­i­cal, so be care­ful. ‚Watch the shut­ter speeds and use a tri­pod if necessary.

Chicory Blos­som by Kris­ten Smith

Third ‚œ sur­prise! ‚Show me some­thing dif­fer­ent. ‚Oh gee, another flower pic­ture. ‚Yay. ‚How about a bug? ‚Yawn. ‚A leaf? ‚Zzzzz. ‚Sorry, I‚„m not really dump­ing on any of these things, but haven‚„t we all seen a mil­lion of them? ‚I‚„m just as guilty of it. ‚After a while they‚„re all the same and it takes an effort to bring some­thing dif­fer­ent to the world of close-up pho­tog­ra­phy. ‚Find it. ‚What­ever it takes, find some­thing unusual about an every­day object or some­thing you hardly ever see pho­tographed. ‚Try new angles, per­spec­tives, jux­ta­po­si­tions, play with depth of field, back­ground, color com­bi­na­tions; any­thing to help your image break free of sameness.

Bro­ken Cork by Kris­ten Smith

So that should get you started. ‚Get close, iso­late and sur­prise me! ‚Feel free to post com­ments with links to your best close-up pho­tos or share them on the‚forum.

My Web­site = and I’m based in New Hamp­shire, USA