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Barnacles 2011. An example of close up photography in macro mode. –Stuart Russell

The Art of Photography: Up Close

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    Close up photography, often called macro photography, can propel your imagery into an undiscovered world of tiny wonders. It is also a great way to show abstract interpretations of larger objects such as surfaces, machinery and plants etc. It makes for very unique and detailed imagery. With close up photography you have the ability to make the insignificant seem very significant.

    Most digital cameras have “macro mode” specifically designed for taking close up photographs. A DSLR camera on the other hand requires lenses and there are ranges of “macro lenses” available. You may need a specific lens for a specific camera; check online or in any good electrical stores to find out which ones are best suited for your camera.

    Barnacles 2011. An example of close up photography in macro mode. –Stuart Russell

    I use a high quality digital camera; I find having everything built in is much easier than carrying heavy lenses around. This is not for everyone and each person is different. You should always choose a camera you feel comfortable using and always consider the cameras purpose. Will you be using it for portraits, wildlife, scenery, scientific use or artistic use? The best thing to do when choosing your camera is to go into an electrical store and try them out first.

    Inside the mouth of a tiny rat skull using a microscope. – Stuart Russell

    Note: Just because the price tag is off the chart, does not mean the camera will be better. Most cameras have the same features; consider what you will be using the camera for. A reasonable price for a good quality camera is about £100-£500.

    In macro mode it is important to focus on the object you are capturing. Make sure the right parts of the image are in focus; this can often take some patience. If your camera allows it, manual focusing is best and will allow you full control of focusing on the main point of interest. Remember the rules of composition and make sure you take full advantage of your creativity to get interesting imagery.

    You must always make sure you have the best lighting available and only use your cameras flash if it is necessary. My work is mainly inspired by nature so I find natural light (sunlight) is the best lighting available to any photographer.

    Another way of getting unique close up imagery is through using a microscope. There are digital USB microscopes available online with the ability to capture pictures. These are great fun to experiment with and brilliant for scientific imagery and documentation. They allow a far greater zoom and can focus on worlds unseen to the camera lens. They can range anywhere from £20 – £80 online.

    Recommended: VMS-004D-400x USB Microscope.