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Working with a bellows

From: Foundations of Photography: Macro and Close-Up

Video: Working with a bellows

The key to getting a macro photo is being able to get your lens in really, really close. To do that, you need a very short minimum focusing distance. You've seen how extension tubes let you get your lens closer to a subject. I've got here something that's basically a variation on an extension tube, and that is a bellows. Now a bellows is a bit . . . sometimes a bit heavier, a bit clunkier, and a lot more fragile than a set of extension tubes. The advantage of it is that it's got tremendous variability.

Working with a bellows

The key to getting a macro photo is being able to get your lens in really, really close. To do that, you need a very short minimum focusing distance. You've seen how extension tubes let you get your lens closer to a subject. I've got here something that's basically a variation on an extension tube, and that is a bellows. Now a bellows is a bit . . . sometimes a bit heavier, a bit clunkier, and a lot more fragile than a set of extension tubes. The advantage of it is that it's got tremendous variability.

I can actually find the exact level of extension that I want with very fine control. So, what I've done here is I've mounted a 50 mm lens on the front of this very small, very lightweight bellows. And with that, I can extend just exactly to where I need to get the cropping that I want. So, I am going to just set this here, and grab a shot real quick. I'm employing all of the things that you've seen me do, working with a normal macro lens. I'm using live view to keep my hands off the camera.

I have got ISO 800 here. Now, when I do this, I lose aperture control over my lens, because I've broken the electrical contacts. You might be able to find a bellows that actually delivers those electrical contacts. I went for cheap, and it didn't come with any. So, I am just working manually here; this means that the lens is basically wide open at f1.8. There are tricks that you can use to close the aperture down. If you want to learn more about those, check out my Reverse Lens Mini Course to see how that works.

So, I am just going to grab a shot here. And, there we go. I'm in real tight with what is nothing more than a 50 mm lens. So, a bellows is another version of an extension tube. Personally, I prefer extension tubes, just because they're more durable. They're a little bit easier to work with. But if you are doing a lot of studio work, investing in a nice bellows gives you a lot more flexibility.

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Image for Foundations of Photography: Macro and Close-Up
Foundations of Photography: Macro and Close-Up

47 video lessons · 15177 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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