Friday, March 25, 2011

The WoW factor of close ups

How to get the WoW factor in close up photography. Close up photography involves a shallow depth of field (DOF) which helps keep the background objects from competing with the main subject of your photo. 


Notice how the background becomes blurred when using the automatic close up mode dial. A shallow depth of field (DOF) has been created.


The simple definition for beginning photographers of shallow depth of field (DOF) means objects closest to the camera lens will be in sharper focus than those further away. This post is applicable for people with DSLR cameras or Point and Shoot cameras. Be sure and read your camera's manual to find the close up or macro setting for your camera.


"Farmer's Market Peppers"

The nearer the subject is in focus to your camera, the depth of field (DOF) will be more shallow blurring the background. The above photo shows the peppers in focus and the background blurred. This draws attention to the peppers and blurs the distracting background.  In our case we are using close up on the automatic dial mode to achieve this effect.  In future blogs we will discuss the semi-automatic (A,S,P) modes and manual (M) modes of using your camera to accomplish what we've been learning in my posts.  






"Mica's Gaze"
Think outside the box when taking photos. Shoot from different angles.

Check your camera's manual for exactly what your close up mode produces and where it is located. On my DSLR camera the automatic mode dial is located on the top of the camera.  Close up mode is generally represented as a flower icon.





Nikon camera automatic mode dial



On my point and shoot camera, the automatic close up mode is a button located on the back of the camera. There are two close up mode settings, each setting proving greater depth of field (DOF).



"It's all in the eyes"
Notice the blurred bushes in the background and the shallow DOF

The photos above and below show more examples of shallow depth of field. The distracting backgrounds are thrown out of focus to draw the viewer's attention to the main subject. Remember, as we discussed earlier, the nearer the subject is in focus to your camera, depth of field will be more shallow.



"Shy Daisy"




In-camera Cyanotype Processing*

Get creative and fill the entire frame with detail and notice that what looked good from a distance looks even better up close.






"Dandelion"


When we focus in on detail we see textures and colors that we might not have noticed. These details draw the viewer in for a better look.




*Cyanotype is a photographic printing process that gives a cyan-blue print. The process was popular in engineering circles well into the 20th century. The simple and low-cost process enabled them to produce large-scale copies of their work, referred to as blueprints. wikipedia.org





45 comments:

JIM said...

This is a great post for people with those type cameras. You show that you can get really great images if you know your tool. Nice work

http://jpweddingphotograpy.blogspot.com/2011/03/when-i-fall-in-love.html

Ann said...

Macro is one of my favorite types to do & I will be doing lots more when the flowers start to bloom! These photos are great!

Kriti said...

Mari - I am awestruck!!! Let me make a confession here. No matter with all your lesson I am sure I would have never been able to take those photographs - You really are an artist (or maybe a magician)

whatstruckme said...

I had been wanting to try my hand at close ups. Though after many trial and errors,i somehow managed to figure it out but the information that you have in your blog is very helpful. Since i own a Sony right now the 'macro' feature that i have probably means the same. And yes there's a flower(which says auto), another flower + a flower with a magnifying glass[now i get it:)]. I guess those would be three different close up settings!!!

Sailor said...

Beautiful work!

Laura said...

You explain things very clearly, Mari. The DoF stuff makes sense - thanks!

sulekkha said...

Thank you for this very informative article, I always have this problem of the background stealing the thunder from my main object in a picture. Love your photographs, the clarity and colors are amazing.Thanks for sharing.

Alfandi said...

nice tips..accentuated with lovely photos..a wow indeed..

Mari Sterling Wilbur said...

This post is great for people with DSLR cameras or Point and Shoot cameras. Be sure and read your camera's manual to find the close up or macro setting for your camera.

Thank you all for the comments, they are always welcome.

Lauren said...

I love your vision. Yes, and your photographs! I am following you so I can be inspired.

Mari Sterling Wilbur said...

Glad to have you aboard Lauren. I hope you learn lots here.

Mari Sterling Wilbur said...

Laura - dof can be difficult to understand. Glad I was able to help make sense of this for everyone.

Mari Sterling Wilbur said...

Sailor - thank you. I love your icon.

Mari Sterling Wilbur said...

@ Ann - I love close ups of flowers and animal eyes like my horse and my girlfriends collie. Animals have amazingly loving eyes.

Rimly said...

I am not much of a photographer your pictures are WOW!!!

Simran said...

Wow!!
Interesting post :)
Thanks a lot for sharing such a imformative post :)
Nice blog indeed ..
Following you ..
Cheers,

Do check mine- http://myfriendshipsimran.blogspot.com/

Take care.

Mari Sterling Wilbur said...

Rimly - thank you so much! And your blog is wonderful.

stefank60 said...

superb photographs.

Sailor said...

I think I should get a better camera like yours to get some nice shots like yours.

Kira Permunian said...

The picture are very cool. wow you have a very cool gadget over there. Thanks for the share.

Mummy@Bod for tea said...

Wow those flowers really POP! Great tutorial, thanks Mari. Must get to grips with the settings on my camera one of these days :D

wan maznah said...

hi mari- Wow and Wow! again- which one is the best? err.. all of them :) they look awesome in their own ways. DOF- thanks for sharing.

David said...

The photos are awesome!! You explain everything so well and the intended lesson is certainly conveyed. My pics pale when compared to your masterpieces, keep up the informative posts!!
More dog pics lol

Mari Sterling Wilbur said...

David - I have 3 dogs and they all head for their crates when they see me pull out my camera lol. They Hate having their photos taken the little stinkers! Our pygmy goats are up for posing though!

JaneneMurphy said...

I agree -- wow! I love the flower shots the best. You have a such a great eye. Glad I stopped by (and, no, I didn't intend to rhyme the last part.)

sm said...

great post giving information if someone who is learning about effects

wan maznah said...

hi mari.. i am back ! quite excited to tell you that i have posted your dandelion at my sidebar- just click on your dandelion and it will link to your blog here.. you deserve it cos your photos are so awesome- and i am sure my visitors will enjoy viewing them.. watch and see

Sailor said...

Thanks for visiting my blog, and voting up in NB and the suggestions.
In fact, I do not work anymore with cruise and all the pictures are from my past.

We are working on a city picture blog and will be glad to take all your suggestions on that.

Thanks agin
Cruise Pictures

Mari Sterling Wilbur said...

Sailor - you new blog venture sounds like fun! I live outside Seattle and love taking photos of the city and people. Photojournalism is fun - hmmmm, think I will make that my next post.

Aaron said...

Mari,
Great post. It even inspired me to try a little close up photography on my last photowalk.

Thanks for the inspiration!

Mari Sterling Wilbur said...

@Aaron - can't wait to see your new photos!

Kirsty said...

Gorgeous! Beautiful photos!

Pandora Poikilos said...

Hi! Your blog's been tagged as "Blog of the Week" from 30 March to 6 April. Do keep your great posts coming!
Cheers - Dora
http://pandorapoikilos.com

Mari Sterling Wilbur said...

@Pandora - I am thrilled and honored to be tagged as "Blog of the Week" from 30 March to 6 April at http://peacefrompieces.blogspot.com/.

It is always awesome to have ones work recognized!

Thank you so very much!

Regards, Mari

delirious jellybean said...

I tend to use my digital camera for close-ups just because they give much better ones compared to my dslr, which only I only have the standard lenses for :(

Sneha said...

Ahhh Mari...u r so wonderfull...those photos took my heart!!! especially the horse's eye...so pure so beautiful

Mari Sterling Wilbur said...

Sneha - that is my horse Mica. We were getting ready to enter the show ring and I had time to snap this photo. She was focused on all the other horses so wasn't disturbed by me sticking my camera so close to here :D

Mitzi said...

AMAZING Photos!!! I've tried that "close up" setting and it does work! Though I have discovered, not so well when you are zooming at the same time.

Mitzi said...

AMAZING Photos!!! I've tried that "close up" setting and it does work! Though I have discovered, not so well when you are zooming at the same time.

Sneha said...

Ahhh Mari...u r so wonderfull...those photos took my heart!!! especially the horse's eye...so pure so beautiful

Mummy@Bod for tea said...

Wow those flowers really POP! Great tutorial, thanks Mari. Must get to grips with the settings on my camera one of these days :D

Simran said...

Wow!!
Interesting post :)
Thanks a lot for sharing such a imformative post :)
Nice blog indeed ..
Following you ..
Cheers,

Do check mine- http://myfriendshipsimran.blogspot.com/

Take care.

Mari Sterling Wilbur said...

@ Ann - I love close ups of flowers and animal eyes like my horse and my girlfriends collie. Animals have amazingly loving eyes.

Lauren said...

I love your vision. Yes, and your photographs! I am following you so I can be inspired.

JIM said...

This is a great post for people with those type cameras. You show that you can get really great images if you know your tool. Nice work

http://jpweddingphotograpy.blogspot.com/2011/03/when-i-fall-in-love.html