Photography 101: Shooting Macros and Close-Ups
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Shooting close-up shots of pets


Photography 101: Shooting Macros and Close-Ups

with Joseph Linaschke

Video: Shooting close-up shots of pets

One of the most common and most beloved types of photography Stay.

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Watch the Online Video Course Photography 101: Shooting Macros and Close-Ups
1h 14m Appropriate for all Jul 21, 2014

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A great way to expand your photographic horizons is to get close—very close. With macro and close-up photography, you can discover new details in everyday objects and capture subjects that most people don't normally get to see.

In this course, photographer and educator Joseph Linaschke provides an introduction to the worlds of macro and close-up photography. After an overview of the gear you'll want for macro work, the course explores some subjects you may want to capture, from flowers to bugs, to pets. The course also explores tools and techniques for shooting macros and close-ups using an iPhone.

Topics include:
  • Shooting close-up shots of flowers and pets
  • Exploring textures as subjects
  • Shooting indoors, in a miniature studio
  • Shooting macros with the iPhone
  • Using high-speed sync to get light in a macro shot
Joseph Linaschke

Shooting close-up shots of pets

One of the most common and most beloved types of photography that you're going to want to do, is taking pictures of your pet. If you have an adorable puppy or a kitten laying around the house, well, chances are you're going to want to take lots of pictures of them. Unfortunately, I don't have a dog. But I do have a good friend, Roxanne, who brought over her adorable little China poo, so that I could take some pictures of him. Now, I'm not familiar with this dog. It's the first time that we've met. And so, I didn't really know what this dog's demeanor was going to be like. Other than, that he loved the camera. I didn't know if he was going to be easy to pose, if he was going to be bouncing around all over the place.

I really didn't know what was going to happen. So, as you'll see throughout me shooting here, there's quite a few challenges that I had to overcome as far as trying to get a good picture of this pup. Now throughout this video I want to talk about two different aspects of this. We're going to talk creative, and we'll talk technical. There are challenges that you have to overcome on both sides of that. And that's what we are going to focus on in this video. Stay. Sit. So, creatively to start, one of the most common mistakes is not getting down to your pet's level. If you're standing up and the pet is down on the ground, and you're trying to take a picture of it, chances are, it's just not going to be that interesting.

So, the first thing you should do is get down low. Now that might mean just crouching down and, and being on your haunches and getting down kind of at the animal's level, or even getting all the way down on the ground. That of course poses its own challenges. Namely, it's kind of hard for you to lay down on the ground and move around when the animal's moving around. You kind of have to move pretty quickly that way. But it certainly can be done. And it will definitely make for some better pictures. So, let's start talking about technical stuff. And, the first one is going to lead in from this whole idea of getting down on the ground.

If you're laying on the ground, that's one thing. But if you have a camera that has an articulated view finder, that's going to make things a whole lot easier on you. So, for example here, I was was shooting with this Lumix GX7 camera. It's a micro four thirds camera. And one of the really cool things about it is. The articulated finder. So I can move this out and I can basically go straight up like this. Allowing me to set the camera, virtually completely on the ground and look down on it, to do my pictures. So this means I can literally get this right at the animal's level. Even if the animal is, laying down on the floor.

Head on the floor, asleep, whatever it may be, I can put the camera down right in front of him, and not worry have to worry about crouching over, not have to lay down myself, and so on. So having a viewfinder like this is certainly going to make things a lot easier. And obviously not every camera has that, and we work around the challenges that we have. But if you have that capability then, by all means, take advantage of it. Now let's talk about some of the technical settings on the camera as well. If you're shooting indoors, which is, you know, pro, probably pretty likely where you're going to be most of the time with your pet taking pictures of them. because if you're outside they're going to be running around like crazy and that's a whole different thing.

But if we're just trying to get some cute photos indoors, then one of the challenges you'll have, is probably not a whole lot of light. Now you'll notice throughout this video that I wasnt using the flash at all. Using the flash for pet photography is, probably not ideal. Unless you're going to set up a big complicated lighting scenario, where you're bouncing lights off the ceiling and that sort of thing. Having an on camera flash isn't really going to be ideal. So, if you can, you want to shoot without the flash. So, what does that mean? Well, if you're shooting indoors, you don't have a whole of light. So, you're going to have the challenge of slow shutter speed. And if you are shooting too slow of a shutter speed, any movement the animal makes, is going to be blurry and you certainly don't want that. What I'm going to advice, is go into shutter priority mode. That allows you to set the shutter wherever you want it, and let the camera figure out everything else. Now since you're on low light, chances are the camera's going to automatically give you that really wide aperture. So that shallow depth of field that you want anyway, to give you that really nice look. So I don't even have to think about that, and I'll let the iso be the balancer. The iso on the camera is going to go up or down depending on what light I have. If you have an auto iso limiter set on your camera. It might be set to something like iso of 800 or 1200, something like that. And you'll find that your camera's flashing at you that it's not capable of doing whatever exposure you're trying to get it to do. So take a look at your settings and see if you can raise or even remove the limit on your auto iso. That's not available on all cameras, but if you have it, check it out. You may end up shooting in a much higher iso than you normally would. But, it will allow you to freeze that motion and get that shot that you want. And of course, if you need more light at the end of the day, turn on some more lights in the house or, maybe, you do have to take your pup outside and that's the only solution. But either way, you've got lots of different options in there, on how to get the exposure, and how to lock that in and freeze that dodge movement.

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