Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Useful Composition Tips for Aspiring Macro Photographers

Useful Composition Tips for Aspiring Macro Photographers

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Useful Composition Tips for Aspiring Macro Photographers

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 11:20 PM PDT

When viewing images, do you notice that close-up shots evoke a feeling of intimacy more than those taken at a distance? It’s the fact that they were taken at close range to the photographer that creates this effect.

macro photography

“Little Yellow” captured by Agus Supriyanto (Click image to see more from Supriyanto.)

This is what macro photography is all about. It’s taking photos up close and personal.

A close-up shot provides more details. As such, any photographer needs to make sure that his or her camera is focused well before snapping.

Camera Settings

For those using a point and shoot camera, the first step to capturing objects in close range is to set your camera to macro mode. Surprisingly, not many digital camera owners know about this. The macro mode is normally symbolized with a little flower, and once this is set, your camera will automatically know that you want to focus on a particular subject closer to your lens. This setting will also tell your camera to choose a large aperture to ensure that the subject is more in focus than the background.

Macro Photography Composition Guidelines

Experts also point out the importance of composition. This means knowing how you’re going to compose your shot with your subject in place. You may have the most expensive digital camera, lens, and other accessories, but if you don’t know how to frame your subject, you won’t succeed in your goal of capturing quality images.

Lead Room

One aspect of composition pertains to lead room, which is vital in nature and wildlife photography. This refers to providing extra space in your frame. As an example, you need to have extra room or space in the direction in which an animal’s eyes are looking. This will help create balance in your photo. So if a frog is looking towards the left, the left side should have more space compared to the right.

macro wildlife photography

“Lizard” captured by Kustiyah (Click image to see more from Kustiyah.)

On the other hand, if you’re shooting an insect, the eyes of which are not that prominent, you can always base your lead room on the shape and body structure of the subject.

Rule of Thirds

Another tip for macro photographers is following the so-called rule of thirds. The goal of this is to keep the balance in your photos depending on the subject’s position. You have to determine then whether the subject is looking straight at the camera or sideways. So if a frog, for instance, is looking straight into the camera, the best way to achieve balance is to center the subject in the frame.

macro photography composition

“Asleep in the Clouds” captured by James Elliott (Click image to see more from Elliott.)

Diagonal Lines

To keep your photo more interesting, experts recommend creating diagonal lines. Parallel lines can be boring and unappealing. But if you give it some diagonals, you create a great effect such as that of action.

macro flower photography

“Sky Daisies” captured by Gary Vernon (Click image to see more from Vernon.)

Compositional Weight

The compositional weight is another thing. Again, this refers to positioning your subject in a diagonal manner. For example, you make sure that a butterfly standing on a small branch is positioned so its rear body part is pointing toward one corner on the bottom, while the upper end of the branch points at another corner on the top.

macro insect photography

“One Way Street” captured by Gary Vernon (Click image to see more from Vernon.)

Macro photographers sometimes get so caught up in close-up details of their subjects that they forget the importance of composition. Follow the guidelines above to put more visual interest into your macro photography.

About the Author:
For information about digital cameras, a resource is, New York's legendary camera store in business for over 40 years.

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A Celestial Arizona Timelapse of the Milky Way (Video)

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 04:46 PM PDT

YIKÁÍSDÁHÁ. It may look like your computer hasn’t loaded a particular foreign language. But it is, in fact, the Navajo word for the Milky Way. (Literally: “That which awaits the dawn.”) And it’s the apt title for the following timelapse masterpiece:

The project is the work of Gavin Heffernan and Harun Mehmedinović, while the former was living as an artist-in-residence at Northern Arizona University. After a few field trips to the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley, Heffernan felt immediately inspired to do tell a timelapse story of the desert landscape at night.


Heffernan explains that most of the night shots were captured with 25-second-long exposures on a combination of Canon 6D and Canon 5D rigs.


Their lenses had to be wide and fast because of the lack of night light. They happened to choose nights with very little moonlight, making the stars and Milky Way unusually crisp in between clouds.


The clean night sky allowed the artists to experiment with celestial photography, including somecaptures of shooting meteors and patterns in the sky that we mere humans, with our feeble eyes, could never dream of seeing alone.


“The weather was very intense at times, with high winds, frigid temperatures, and stormfronts passing over us, but the locations were absolutely stunning and the clouds parted for long enough to reveal some incredible starscapes, meteors, and the clearest Milky Way I’ve ever seen!” — Gavin Heffernan

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Daredevil Climbs Landmark to Get World’s First Ever Selfie with Christ the Redeemer (Album)

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 04:13 PM PDT

On a recent trip to Brazil, photojournalist Lee Thompson of The Flash Pack took a break from covering the upcoming World Cup to take an epic self portrait at the top of Rio’s famous Christ the Redeemer statue:

The statue has been under repair after lightning damaged it in January, and Thompson somehow managed to convince the Brazil tourist board to let him ascend the statue’s scaffolding and rickety stairs with the assistance of two high-wire workers. After a claustrophobic journey, he emerged from the interior of the giant soapstone monument to a precarious position at the top of Christ’s crown. From there, he could look down not only at tourists on the platform, but at the city of Rio de Janeiro stretched out thousands of feet below his perch.

Lucky for those of us who will probably never get to balance atop the famous landmark ourselves, Thompson’s climb was documented via GoPro:

“As far as selfies go, I can't compete with popes, presidents, and radical Russians, because as a photographer my job is to take the shots, not star in them. But when the opportunity arose to take the world's first (and so far only) selfie with Jesus, I couldn't resist.”

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3 Influential Photographers Who Created Their Own Style (Video)

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 02:00 PM PDT

Developing a personal style of photography is ever important for becoming a great photographer. In fact, the most renowned photographers of the past all have something in common with each other—they all had a specific style that was unique to their work. The three photographers that Ted Forbes highlights in the clip below are no exceptions to that rule:

Luigi Ghirri

Born in Italy in 1943, Ghirri began focusing on his art in the 1970s when established a name for himself as an upcoming photography icon. As he continued to master his craft, he became more and more well known and was considered a pioneer for his unusual style, which sometimes blatantly buried irony beneath the muted tones and hues found in his images.

film photographer

Photo by Luigi Ghirri.

Ernst Haas

Austrian born photographer, Ernst Haas was also a photographic pioneer due to the fact he was at the forefront of the introduction of color photography. His use of the medium was during a time in which color photography wasn’t necessarily being taken seriously in art circles; yet the talented photographer insisted on using it. Haas is also well known for his artistic and perfectly executed use of motion blur, which helped the photographer achieve worldwide success as a photojournalist and artist.

motion blur

Photo by Ernst Haas

“What better profession could there be than the one of a photographer, almost a painter in a hurry, overwhelmed by too many constantly changing impressions?” – Ernst Haas

Dan Winters

celebrity photographer

Photo by Dan Winters

Winner of over 100 awards from well respected organizations, Dan Winters could be considered one of the most influential photographers alive today. As a portrait photographer, Winters spends most of his professional time snapping pictures of celebrities in a way that pays homage to classic portrait artists of the 19th century while infusing modern twists into the work.

These are just three inspiring color photographers. Which photographers do you find most influential? Let us know in the comments below!

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How to Improve Your Portraits By Using the Right Camera Height (Video)

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 12:22 PM PDT

When composing a portrait, beginning photographers commonly make the mistake of shooting their subject at eye level in most—if not all—situations. In the following video, Doug Gordon at Adorama explains how varying camera angle and camera height affects the quality and composition of a portrait:

Gordon notes that many photographers use the same camera height for all portraits, which leads to stagnant, dull results. He explains that paying attention to camera height yields a world of difference and can truly make your portraits pop.

Camera Angles for Seated Subjects

For his first example, Gordon photographs the model in a seated position. His first shot, taken at a low angle:


A low camera angle changes the balance of a photo.

Gordon explains that the lower angle of approach isn’t the best for this subject because it creates too much weight in the lower portion of the image, and tries a shot at bust level:


Proportions are balanced at this camera height.

The shot at bust level is a good one, with even body proportions and a balanced head to body ratio. He takes another shot at a higher camera angle to illustrate the difference in this approach:


High camera angles aren’t always the right choice.

This approach brings the face closer but makes the body smaller, which Gordon finds disproportionate for this subject. While photographing some subjects above eye level can be desirable for this alteration of perceived body size, it isn’t always the best option for flattering smaller models, and Gordon chooses the bust-level portrait as his favorite.

Camera Angles for Standing Subjects

When photographing standing subjects, camera height determines the base and size of the model’s body. Choosing the appropriate camera height for your subject is key to creating a balanced portrait. Gordon takes the same approach here by shooting from a variety of angles to illustrate the difference in results. His first shot, at low angle:


Low angles tend to make subjects look bigger.

This angle creates an illusion of the body being bigger than it actually is. Next, a shot at waist height:


Waist level camera angles can be flattering.

This creates an image in which the body appears balanced and natural. The last shot, above eye level:


High angles decrease apparent body size.

As noted earlier, this approach decreases body size in the portrait, which can be valuable from some subjects but is less balanced for many slender subjects.

Camera Angles for Head Shots

Portraits from the bust up, capturing the head and shoulders of your subject, are also affected by camera height:

camera height portrait all

Different camera angles change how a subject looks in photos.

Note that the portrait shot at bust level is the most balanced of these examples. A lower camera height gives the appearance of a fuller face, while a shot above eye level increases perceived head size and distorts the overall balance of the composition. Shooting the portrait at an even higher angle can yield more striking results, as Gordon illustrates by taking a photo of the model while standing on a staircase above her:


Use a stool, ladder, or stairs to get above your subject’s eye level.

For this shot, Gordon also uses a reflector to fill in the shadows and open up the face.

Working with camera height and understanding how it affects your results is key in improving your portrait photography. Gordon recommends shooting at waist level for full length portraits, bust level for seated portraits, and slightly above eye level for head shots. That said, simply understanding the tendency to stay in one position and breaking that pattern can make a world of difference in your photography.

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