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How To Learn Macro Photography

leaf - macro photography

Getting Started In Macro Photography

flower - macro photography

In this article we will share some ideas on what you should focus on as you learn macro photography. We will go into what type of camera you should buy, why you should take an interest in this style of photography, what type of lenses to buy, how to learn this style of photography and why you should create your own voice through this medium.

 

Why Macro Photography

fly - macro photography

Why exactly do you want to shoot macro photography? People have many different reasons but mine are simply because I like digging in deep into a subject matter, blowing up the details, magnifying its beauty, turning a micro world into more of a visual macrocosm. I am inspired by a lot of the flower photography and micro toy macro blow up photography that creates a world of its own.

Why macro photography? Because it is beautiful, artistic and another way to express myself

Get The Right Camera

You need the right camera to do macro photography. What we suggest is a camera that can accept different types of lens. We recommend a micro 4:3 camera or larger sensor because you will get the best image quality from such a camera. It should be made by a reputable brand, have great reviews and should have all the features that you need in a camera. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive camera or the newest but it should have decent features.

 

macro lensMore Importantly Get The Right Lenses

What photographer doesn’t like to talk about cameras and new gear? It is like as if being a photographer is as much about the camera you use as it is about the art you create. It really shouldn’t be that way and a camera is just a tool. One tool that is even greater than your camera body is the lens that you choose to use. Your lens will determine more so than your camera the outcome of your images. As so, you should spend more time and even more money on picking the right macro lenses vs buying the latest and greatest camera.

 

photography lessonsLearn From Others

One of the best ways to learn macro photography is by learning from those who are great at it. We do not all have time or money to take workshops with a pro but we can watch free videos on the subject, we can read instructional articles and more importantly we can all open Flickr and look at the works of other photographer. Seeing what others have created will give you a chance to practice shooting similar subjects in the same manner, it will allow you to develop skills by mimicking and figuring out what the photographer did in camera and even post to get a certain look.

 

Create Your Own Voice

In the last section we talked a lot about looking at the work of other photographers and using it to learn. That is definitely a great way to learn but ultimately you do not want to be a copycat.

Yes, there is a saying that good artist copy and great artist steal, but ultimately you want to create your own style, develop and eye that allows you to give a unique voice (your own) to your photography.

We all start off copying but we should not end up there without any progress or without us injecting more of ourselves into our art.

 

Putting It All Together

As you can see, there are a lot of things that you need to learn to get started in macro photography but it is a very easy subject to learn. We started off by asking why macro photography and spoke of why people use it. We next suggested that you need the right camera but in the next section spoke of how having the right macro lens is far more important than having an expensive camera. We next spoke about the value of learning from other photographers, viewing their images and learning this way. After that we talked about developing your own voice and eye to allow your own creativity to flow through your photography. We believe that these are the basic things that are needed to learn macro photography.

Taking Pictures From Afar: Tips On Astrophotography

aurora

It is stunning. The blood red moon expands to cover your eye line. When you snap a shot of it with your high-powered smartphone camera, it is a real bummer. It seems infinitesimally small by comparison. It is so blah, in fact, that it could just as well be a street light or a flashlight. All of the color is drained from it.

moon photography

What you have just performed is an attempt at a field called astrophotography. Astrophotography is a special type of photography for capturing images that appear in the night sky.

Your first attempt at astrophotography probably still eclipsed the quality of the very first lunar image snapped back in 1840 of the moon. They did not have the technology to capture the starry night until technology caught up sufficiently, later that century.

Though, subsequent photography efforts as technology improved actually informed the star map for future discoveries. Here is how.

 

Just Because You Cannot See It Does Not Mean It Does Not Exist

If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one around to hear it, does it make a sound? The same question could be asked of astrophotography, but the question has an answer.

It turns out there are plenty of images that we could not see with the naked eye from our vantage point on earth that are recorded all the time. Taking photographs of faint nebulae and far-off galaxies is something that astrophotography excels in doing.

night sky

The use of longtime exposure is effective at accumulating light over extended time periods. It was in large part thanks to the ability to achieve long exposures that astronomy expanded. After all, if were not for the ability to record images of stars and nebulae, no one would have known they existed. If no one knew they existed we would never have seen the development of better lens technology for astrophotography, including perhaps even used in space exploration.

 

How Do You Use Long Exposure On Quick-Moving Objects?

It turns out that while long exposure is excellent for getting a good image of most of the interesting objects in the night sky meteors are the exception. They move into and out of sight so quickly that even the quickest photographer is challenged to react fast enough.

While either you have the quick reflexes combined with some luck and a wide-aperture lens or you do not. The key is that the lens has to allow in plenty of light too. Add in the quality of a DSLR, the stability of a well-positioned tripod, and a clear night sky, and then you may be able to get a nice picture of a meteor.

 

Up Close And Personal

stars at night

If you are wondering how to get the nitty gritty pictures of the moon craters in all their glorious detail and depth, or how to snag images of galaxies for yourself you are in luck.

With a telescope and a DSLR camera, you can make all of this possible. A good way to begin is by deciding what you want to shoot and how fast or slow it will happen, and be willing to go the distance. For instance, putting the camera onto the telescope to get the image makes this level of depth and detail possible.

And, you just thought there were a whole lot of stargazers out on starry nights. Many are astrophotographers, choosing their spots wisely to get a good image of different fascinating sky shows that the galaxy has in store for you.

Take beautiful astrophotos with just a simple camera on tripod. It lets you take shots through your telescope. You can take some amazing shots closer to home — the sun and moons. Or, you may get as far away as other galaxies, nebulas, and stars.

This is the most exciting thing people can do with a DSLR camera, at least as far as astrophotography is concerned. The combination of its clarity and power with the telescope makes for stunning imaging with crisp and clear detail and depth.

While it can take much effort to get used to taking photographs this way, it is a skill and art that is honed to precision in time. Most photographers agree this is effort that is well spent.

It means that you need to know what you are going to shoot at what time of day or night, and the speed because you need to determine the correct exposure to use. Focusing is another effort that is worth it. Always make sure your shot is not going to be blurry.

The great part about digital photography is that the cameras allow you to scroll through and choose images you want to keep and edit onscreen while you bide your time. And, always try to learn from your mistakes. Either way, astrophotography will deliver an exceptional experience for you as if you are discovering the entire universe for the very first time.

The Most Important Photography Filters

lens and camera filter

Upgrading from a compact camera to a mirrorless or a DSLR one is a big step. You can’t realize all its implications right off the bat, so you can expect to learn and improve as you go. In addition, the more you go out there are take photos, the sooner you are going to discover what accessories you need to buy, in order to make the most out of your hobby. Filters are among the things you are going to discover, so you can expect to spend quite a good amount of money on several ones.

Three Must-Have Photography Filters

First of all, you need to know that not all filters are alike. They fulfill different functions, so buying one filter and installing it on your lens isn’t going to be enough. This is why it’s best to spend a little time studying what types of filters are available, what are their roles, and which ones you believe would serve you best.

1. UV Filter

UV filter

UV filter

The first and most important filter is the UV protection one. Fairly inexpensive, it only produces affects when shooting mountain and seaside landscapes. However, you should consider getting an UV filter even if you are mainly into portraits or macro photography. The reason is that this filter provides protection to your lenses. Such filters cost a few dollars, so even if you scratch them, you can easily replace them. On the contrary, if you scratch a lens that costs hundreds or thousands of dollars, you are going to have a hard time buying a new one. This filter is your insurance that your lenses are going to be fine, even if you are an outdoor lover and a hiker.

2. Polarizing Filter

Circular Polarizing Filter

Circular Polarizing Filter

The polarizing filter is also one of the must-have accessories of photography lovers. It consists of two layers that can rotate independently. They are useful for darkening skies, suppressing glare and attenuate reflections. If you shoot the water with such a filter, you are going to be able to capture excellent images of the bottom of the sea and of the living creatures you can’t even see with your naked eye. This is the only filter you can’t replicate using digital photo editing software. This is why you have to buy one.

3. Neutral Density Filter

neutral-density-filter

Nature taken with neutral density filter by Victor Calvis [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Neutral density filters are also interesting. They darken the landscape, thus enabling you to use very big exposure times even when shooting in full daylight. By using such filters, you can capture stunning effects on moving water. Shooting rivers and waterfalls with a neutral density filter will render the water smooth and silky. This is an effect you can’t obtain in post-processing, so if you want it, you have to purchase the physical filter. These filters are also used to remove humans in motion from photos. If you want to shoot a very popular touristic attraction, you won’t be able to find a moment when there are no people around it. However, by using a neutral density filter, elements in motion won’t appear in the images. It’s true that you have to use a tripod for this kind of photography, but the results are definitely worth carrying a lot of heavy stuff around.

RELATED: 5 essential photography filters (and why you can’t live without them!)

There are many other filters available. If you want, you can easily spend a small fortune on them. However, not all of them are truly essential. When it comes to digital photography, you can apply many filters later on, in the photo processing software, so you don’t have to bother with buying all of them. Before choosing the ones to add to your photographer’s kit, you should take some time and read everything you can about all types of filters and their functions. This is going to give you a better picture of what you should have and what not, so that you don’t invest money into accessories you won’t use a lot. When choosing your filters, it is also highly recommended to go for a known and reputable brand, with a good history and market presence. Cheap glass can easily spoil your photos, so you should aim for the highest possible quality. After all, since you’ve invested so much in your camera and lenses, why would you go cheap when it comes to filters? They are less expensive anyway, so choose the best ones.

Upgrade Your Lens Not Your Camera

camera lens

Do You Need A New Camera?

Photographers always want new equipment and they will make up just about any reason to purchase new gear. The excuses they make to buy new gear sound so logical to themselves but they are only just feeding and making excuses for their gear lust. When gear lust takes over a photographer or a would-be photographer there is little anyone can do to dissuade them. This article is about where you should actually spend your money on instead of a new camera body.

photographer

A Better Form of Gear Lust

Will a new camera body really help you take better images? I think that this is one of the most important questions that must be answered. There are some cases where buying a new camera body will improved the image quality that you get but this is only if you are upgrading to a larger sensor size. If you aren’t upgrading to a larger sensor size then you are unlikely receiving any noticeable image quality benefits from buying a new camera. The one area where you will see the greatest improvement in image quality is by buying higher quality lenses.

A Lens Into Reality

Experience photographers spend more money on accumulating quality lenses that they can transfer to camera to camera over a life time of image making because your lens is what really effect the quality of image you receive. To get the most out of the camera that you own or any new camera that you will purchase you need lenses that have a fast F stop, that are made from quality materials and that are free from imperfections. Once you accumulate high quality lenses you will likely never need to buy lenses again and high quality lenses will automatically improve your image quality. If you are going to engage in any form of gear lust direct it to buying quality lenses not wasting money on the latest and greatest camera body that is released.

Greater Expression

Quality lenses allow you greater expression. With fast glass you will have sharper images, you will have greater bokeh when you shoot wide open, you will have much better shallow depth of field performances. You will be able to blow out backgrounds get creamier back or foregrounds and isolate your subject matter to a much higher degree than you can with cheap lenses.

More Bang For Your Buck

You simply get more bang for your buck when you put your money towards high quality lenses. Your lenses will never go out of style, they will always perform well, they won’t be outdated by the next body upgrade. There are still people who are using the manual lenses they bought in 1985 because they are high quality so the only step they’ve needed to enter modernity was a quality camera. Do you know how much a quality set of lenses will save you down the line and how they will ensure that you have high image quality?

Conclusion

As you can see the best bang for your buck and the best place to invest your money is in buying quality lenses for your camera. We know how easy it is to get gear lust over new camera bodies but you should instead focus on the real thing that improves image quality and that is having high quality lenses. What is a high quality lens? One that is made for good material, that has a fast F stop and that is it. Purchase lenses that meet that criteria and you will be very happy.

Photography Basics: Long-Focus vs Wide-Angle Camera Lenses

camera lens

For those who are beginners in the field of photography, lens types can be a daunting topic to broach. With their rather opaque naming conventions and plethora of modifying adjective, it can be hard to get a grasp on even the building block basics of lens classification. Because of this, many newbies choose to put off learning about lenses until they’re a ways in. While this is certainly an option, knowing your way around lenses can help you achieve a pleasant diversity of shot styles, as well as making it possible to get your photographs to looks exactly how you want them to. With this in mind, here’s our beginner aimed guide to a basic distinction between lenses: the wide versus long debate.

Wide-Angle Lenses

Test_shot_of_the_best_ultra_wide_angle_lens

By Takashi Hososhima (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

When distinguishing between wide-angle and long-focus lenses, the primary difference comes down to focal length. A wide-angle lens has a substantially shorter focal length than a normal lens. This means that the distance that the camera equipped with a wide-angle lens has to be from the object to be photographed is shorter than the distance a normal lens would have to be to produce a focused picture.

This kind of lens is perfect for shots of big objects that you can’t photograph from a long distance, as it will allow you to get a sharp image without putting much space between the camera and the object. It also produces an exaggerated distancing effect, where items close to the lens look disproportionately large while items far away look disproportionately small. This effect can be exploited to make the relative distance between objects seem larger than it really is.

Wide-angle lenses also capture a wider angle around the camera, which means that the image has “more” of the surrounding in it. This is evidenced by a fish eye effect, where the center of the image (what a normal lens would capture) is normal, while the edges are somewhat curved and distorted. Fish eye images have an interesting panoramic quality, and certain photographers express a great devotion to this whimsical style.

Long-focus Lenses

peacock shot by long-focus camera lens

By Keven Law from Los Angeles, USA (Peacock Suit….) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Long-focus Lenses have a longer focal length and a shorter depth of field than a normal lens. This means that they need a greater distance than usual to focus, and have a smaller range of distances at which objects will appear to be in focus at one time.

These lenses have the advantage of being able to focus over a very long distance, which makes them the lens of choice for shooting wildlife and other human-sensitive subjects. The short depth of field makes for an interesting, often cinematic effect, wherein the primary subject is in sharp focus while everything else is washed out and blurry.

Long-focus lenses also have the advantage of having relatively less distortion than regular or wide lenses. This means that they are good for taking pictures where the integrity of lines is important, like for technical photography or even portraiture. They are your go-to lens for documentation.

The Best Travel Photography Tips

travel photographer

When you travel someplace, you want to take photos of your adventures. You need to plan to bring a good camera and have enough space to take as many photos as you want to take. However, it can be hard to know how to take the best photos.

traveller photo

Best Travel Photography Tips to Help You Have a Wonderful Trip

1. Plan the type of photos you want ahead.

The first thing you need to do is make sure you have a plan of what type of photos you want to get. If you are going somewhere popular you probably want to take photos of a popular area. You should plan for that and not just assume those photos will happen when you are out and about.

2. Make a list!

Make a list of everything in the area that you want to take photos of. Make sure if you have to buy any tickets to those places that you do that ahead of time. You should also be aware of any rules they have about photography and if you can even sell any of the photos you take.

3. Don’t forget your backups.

After you have done that you will be ready to go on your trip. Make sure you bring all of your equipment with some backups. You want backup cards and lenses just in case something happens to the ones that you normally use. You would hate to be traveling and not be able to take all the photos that you want to take.

4. Hold your camera, take photos as soon as possible.

When you have arrived at your location, make sure you start taking your photos as soon as possible. You don’t want to be caught without your camera. You want to be prepared to get all of the shots that you have hoped for.

5. Tell your company about your plan to take photos.

If you are traveling with other people make sure they understand that you will need to stop often to take photos. Sometimes people don’t understand this and it can make the trip uncomfortable. If you have someone that liked photography as much as you do, even better. Then you can both stop and take a photo.

6. Start uploading your photos!

When you get back home, make sure you upload your photos as soon as you can. Go through them all and delete the ones you are not going to keep. Then you can start editing them, figure out the ones you will sell and go from there knowing you have done your best to take great photos on your trip.