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Macro and the angle of light

From: Foundations of Photography: Macro and Close-Up

Video: Macro and the angle of light

So, in the last movie, we switched from the diffuse, soft, even, wrap-around lighting that we've used for the whole course, to a shaft of direct light like you might find streaming through an open window in your house. As you saw, it created a lot more drama on the surface of the flower. We had real shadows and a lot of nice highlights. And as I moved down here, I got some nice backlighting effects, and some cool rim lights on the stamens, and things like that. And, I hope you've had a chance to play with that sort of thing. I hope also that while you were doing that, you played with some other alternatives.

Macro and the angle of light

So, in the last movie, we switched from the diffuse, soft, even, wrap-around lighting that we've used for the whole course, to a shaft of direct light like you might find streaming through an open window in your house. As you saw, it created a lot more drama on the surface of the flower. We had real shadows and a lot of nice highlights. And as I moved down here, I got some nice backlighting effects, and some cool rim lights on the stamens, and things like that. And, I hope you've had a chance to play with that sort of thing. I hope also that while you were doing that, you played with some other alternatives.

Look what's happened here. I've moved basically 90 degrees. I've come around to the side, and I'm finding something very different. I've got all this nice side lighting on the flower. You can probably see in here there is highlighting up in here. There is shadow down in here. I've got a lot of texture on the surface of the flower. Let me grab a quick shot for you. I framed up a shot here that I like. I'm at f/16, so we've got some depth of field. Here you can see, again, a lot more drama on the stamens than we were getting with our even light. So, over here on the right side, they're all lit up. On the left side, they are shadowy.

We are starting to get into something that I think is interesting, but we're far from finished. We are going to do more to it. But before we do, I want to encourage you that when you are working with a macro subject in a shaft of direct light, don't forget to work it. That means move around, try lots of things, get in closer, get further away, but also, work the lighting angles that you can find. See how the flower changes as you let one part get backlit and another not? See how texture changes as side lighting brings out more relief on the detail of the textures on the flower? It's very important, even if you are struck right away by, "Wow! This shot looks great." Definitely take that shot, but don't ever stop exploring it.

Work all 360 degrees, if you can do it. So, I'm liking this, but I'm actually thinking now, we're having a pretty traditional direct light problem, which is we have too much contrast. Now, in most photography, you always want more contrast, particularly landscape photography. You are always aiming for all that nice, crunchy detail. Here it's a little harsh. These shadow areas are too dark. I like the light on the highlight areas, but I'd like to lighten up some of the shadows somehow, and maybe downplay a little bit of the texture. To do that, we're going to begin to augment this light.

For the first time in this course, we're going to get away from purely natural light. And now, we're going to take some natural light, and bend it to our photographic will. We'll start that in the next movie.

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Foundations of Photography: Macro and Close-Up

47 video lessons · 15483 viewers

Ben Long
Author

 
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  1. 3m 54s
    1. Welcome
      2m 17s
    2. What you need to know for this course
      1m 37s
  2. 20m 33s
    1. What is close up?
      2m 21s
    2. Understanding minimum focus distance
      3m 55s
    3. Comparing wide lens and telephoto
      1m 55s
    4. Understanding depth of field and focus
      2m 11s
    5. Working with extension tubes
      4m 30s
    6. Working with close-up lenses
      5m 41s
  3. 28m 7s
    1. What is a macro photo?
      4m 15s
    2. Understanding how to shoot macro with a reversed lens
      5m 37s
    3. Using a point-and-shoot camera for macro
      1m 55s
    4. Working with backdrops for macro
      3m 45s
    5. Practicing macro by shooting in the kitchen
      12m 35s
  4. 58m 38s
    1. Choosing a macro lens
      2m 4s
    2. Exploring macro lens features: Focal length
      3m 16s
    3. Understanding macro lens shutter speed
      7m 6s
    4. Shooting basics with a macro lens
      8m 24s
    5. Getting closer with macro lenses and extension tubes
      11m 13s
    6. Working with depth of field and macro
      5m 1s
    7. Understanding depth and composition in macro
      6m 43s
    8. Working with subject holders and support
      6m 36s
    9. Shooting with the Canon 65 mm
      8m 15s
  5. 13m 12s
    1. Working with macro stabilizing options
      5m 45s
    2. Working with sliders for macro
      2m 44s
    3. Working with a bellows
      1m 55s
    4. Working with viewfinders in macro
      2m 48s
  6. 52m 59s
    1. Working with direct light
      6m 13s
    2. Macro and the angle of light
      2m 24s
    3. Augmenting direct light with reflectors
      6m 42s
    4. Continuous lighting to add fill to a macro shot
      5m 55s
    5. Lighting your macro scene with continuous light
      4m 50s
    6. Lighting the macro scene with strobes
      4m 59s
    7. Setting up a macro-specific flash unit
      3m 21s
    8. Shooting with the Canon Macro Twin Lite
      7m 56s
    9. Shooting macro in a light tent
      3m 31s
    10. Shooting macro on a light table
      7m 8s
  7. 19m 44s
    1. Field shooting for macro, starting at home
      7m 5s
    2. Managing backgrounds in the field
      7m 39s
    3. Shooting macro water droplets
      5m 0s
  8. 56m 19s
    1. Creating a simple manual focus stack
      4m 40s
    2. Creating a focus stacked image with manual merge
      6m 17s
    3. Creating a focus stacked image using Helicon Remote
      11m 6s
    4. Working with a StackShot rail for focus stacking
      11m 46s
    5. Merging a focus stack with Photoshop
      11m 12s
    6. Merging photo stacks with Helicon
      6m 53s
    7. Understanding the aesthetics of depth of field
      4m 25s
  9. 1m 5s
    1. Next steps
      1m 5s

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