I wrote something about macro and close up photography a while ago here https://alexephotos.wordpress.com/2009/10/25/macro-photo-of-the-day-feathers/ this talks about the set up I used to take pictures of feathers. The ABC’s are the same.
Tripod is almost a must first for the obvious reason of steadiness and second to find the composition that better suits your eye and third so every thing remains the same if you like to play with the lights to get different effects, so a tripod is paramount for this kind of images.
Use the mirror lock up function if your camera has one (it helps reduce or eliminate vibrations created by the mirror when it flips up) If you don’t know if your camera has that feature or not this would be a good time to get something call owners manual, it’s a little book that came inside the box and most likely was tossed aside 🙂 if the camera does not have a mirror lock up feature use a self timer.
Cable release or wireless trigger also helpful to reduce vibrations.
I used a Macro lens Canon EF 100mm 2.8 but it is not a must if you don’t own one work as close as the lens will let you. There are some accessories one can use as well such as close up filters, or extension tubes to increase the magnification. Now that we are mentioning the lens it is best to focus manually to get the best possible focus and use a small appeture with ironically is the larger number this images were taken at f20 although this will add to the Depth of filed it might not be the best f stop due to something call diffraction, f11 to f16 depending on the camera and lens could be safe.
As far as lighting I used mainly one Canon 580EXII on a stand with a 24″x24″ lastolite soft box. The flash was trigger via Pocket Wizard Mini TT1 on the camera and a Pocket Wizard Flex TT5 on the flash. The flash was set to manual (find your own exposure and flash distance to subject) and shoot away.
On some of the pictures of the Poppies you’ll noticed I used 2 Flashes, the main one and on the center post of the tripod I attached at second unit (Canon 430EXII) also in manual mode connected with a Pocket Wizard FlexTT5. Since the poppies are rather thin I wanted to see how it would look like with some light coming from behind the petals.
Reflectors could be helpful to fill in shadow areas on the opposite side of the main light, depending on the look that you are after and the lights available to you, a reflector allows you to shoot with only one light. Even if you don’t have any lights available, place your subject next to a window with diffused light coming through and use the reflector on the other side.
I shoot this pictures with a Canon 7D set to manual mode. the speed was set at 50th of a second (although I’d recommend 250th) I guess I was not paying enough attention when I did my set up shame on me 🙂 ISO for most pictures was set between 100 and 200 and for a few where I needed more light instead of cranking up the flash too much I gave the camera a way to go with a 400 ISO (that is one way to conserve a bit of batteries and get faster recycle times) not that is so important for still photography to have a fast recycle time anyway.
Here it are some of the pictures along with pictures of the set up.
Thanks for reading this and don’t hesitate to comment, ask questions of post your own experiences.