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Usually, if you are shooting flowers or plants or any kind of nature, you are probably going to be outside. But sometimes, outside isn't really compatible with shooting. Maybe, there is rain or a lot of wind and it's kind of hard to talk of flower and standing still in the wind. So, sometimes it's easier to just brings the outdoors in, where you have complete and total control. And that's what we have done here. So, what I've got is a very simple set up. First of all, a couple of cut flowers, and you'll see that I'm holding them up with this fantastic little stand here. Now this is something off of Amazon for less than $10. It's just a little model or hobbyist tool kit here. It's just got a couple of alligator clips, comes with a magnifying glass as well if you need it, and you can use this to position objects and hold them wherever you like. And it's really easy to rotate these around in position. In this case your flowers exactly as your want them. So this is fantastic. It allows me to have my flowers set up precisely the way that I want. So, let's put that back into position. Now, let's talk about the rest of the setup here. The backdrop here is just a white table cloth. Nothing fancy at all. It could be anything. I could put any other color table cloth. Even a colored shirt back there. Something to add any texture or any kind of splash of excitement to the picture that I want. But in this case, I just want it to be simple and clean, so, it's a white backdrop. And it's not actually going to be pure white for the final shot because I'm not lighting it independently. And the flash from the ring light here is not enough to illuminate the background as well. So that'll go a little bit grey, and that's exactly what I want. Now, let's talk about the camera itself here. So, I'm shooting with the Canon 5D Mark 2 here, and on here I've got a 100 millimeter macro lens.
And the macro lens, in this case, allows me to get really, really close to my subject. I'm nowhere near as close as this lens can actually get. But I need to step back a bit to be able to fill the frame with these two flowers. So that's a nice, simple setup there. And then, on top I've got a ring light. This is a great tool for doing macro photography. This allows me to have very nice, even lighting that's coming from around the lens, giving a nice, soft, even illumination to whatever I'm shooting. So, that's all set up and ready to go. You can see that we're on a tripod on here and we have the live view, which as you can hear, just turned itself off.
We'll turn that back on. And that will allow us to see exactly what the camera sensors are going to see instead of looking through the viewfinder. And this also gives us the benefit of being able to zoom in really close, and make sure the focus is absolutely perfect. When you're working macro, you typically have a very shallow depth of field, so you want to make sure that your focus is spot on. And the last element to the set up here is the shutter release. This is important because if I'm touching the camera I'm moving the camera. Even though we're on a tripod and and this is a good solid tripod, the camera still moves.
You're going to see that in just a second when I zoom into focus. So, let's do that. Composition looks pretty good here. I'm going to go ahead and zoom into this, and let's focus this out. And as you can see, as I'm focusing that, just look at that as I let go of the camera ring. It's moving, the whole camera is shaking, even though we're on a solid tripod, it still moves. So clearly I don't want to be touching the camera when I'm taking the picture. So, that is what the cable release is for, so let's do it, camera solid, let's take a picture. Preview that shot.
And it's looking pretty good. I like the white flower. Nice and sharp. The purple ones, however, not really in focus here. Now, if we look at the scene a little more closely, you'll see that the purple flowers are way in front of the white flowers. They're just not on the same plane. And remember, I said that the depth of the field is really shallow in here, so that's why those are out of focus. Or because of these little alligator clips setup that I've got I'm able to readjust that and position it exactly where I want. So, I'm going to do that. Let's just kind of pull this back a little bit. Rotate that around a touch. And just get that a little bit more in line with the white flower.
Cool, let's see how that looks. Take another shot, go back to live view. Maybe adjust my camera just a touch. Always check focus again, let's zoom back in. That's good, we're ready to go. Let the camera settle down. And fire off another shot. Great. Now the purple flowers are more in focus. Looking pretty good. Maybe I'd move them a little bit more. Move them a little bit closer. But in this case, I want to add another element to the shot. I may only have two clips, but of course I can put two flowers in one of 'em. So, let's take another flower set here. And we're going to change it up. We'll just add two sets of flowers in there. In this case, I'm going to take these two new flowers here, the purple and the orange ones, and make those a background for the white flower.
So, let's go ahead and position those. White flower set up. And by putting them in the background a little bit, they'll go a little bit more out of focus, and they'll just make for a nice simple backdrop. Go back to our live view. And I'm going to have to move the camera a little bit here. In fact, I think I'll get a little bit closer as well. There we go. Nice and solid, lock that in. And, of course, focus on that white flower. Zoom in, check focus, really nice and tight. You see the little fur on the flower there, beautiful. Looks good, all right, hands off, let it stabilize. And you see what we've got, so this is great. I love this shot. As you can see here, the purple and the orange flowers are definitely out of focus.
They're far enough in the background they've gone quite soft. They've also gone quite a bit darker, because the white flower's blocking most of the light that we were seeing land on those flowers before. So, we've changed everything in this shot with just a few subtle movements. And that's the point of this. You can change so much with so little. Just a slight repositioning of the flowers is going to make a dramatic difference on the final composition, the final shot. So here I'm at f/10 which normally would give you a really big depth of field but because we're shooting macro and we're so close, that depth of field is really, really narrow, even at f/10.
So, let's see, I'm also at 200ths of a second. That's the flash sync speed for the ring light here. If I want into high speed sync mode, I could be shooting at 2,000ths, 4 or even 8,000ths of a second and at that point the background would go pure black. If, on the other hand, I wanted the background to be a bit more illuminated, showing a bit more, then I could take the shutter speed way down to a 30th or 15th second and that would allow the ambient light in the room to illuminate the background. Lots of different options. So you can change everything which is subtle changes to the objects, subtle changes in the camera. So, play with it.
It's the kind of thing where you need to spend some time exploring it and figure out how to get the shot that you want. The beauty of doing it indoors like this is you have complete and total control. The flowers aren't going anywhere. The wind's not blowing them around. You can position things exactly where you want. Take the time to get the shot that you want.
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.
- 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