Improve your photography this spring with help from Venture Studios....
Spring has sprung! With the clocks going forward we have an extra hour of daylight in the evenings. Also, with many of us homebound at the moment, perhaps with more time on our hands, we may be trying to find constructive things to do rather than just sitting in front of Netflix.
So why not try to improve your photography skills this spring? It doesn’t matter whether you have a decent SLR camera or a phone: there are lots of things that you can do to make sure that your photos are as good as they can be.
In this article we’ll look at how to take wonderful photos of all the spring flowers that are emerging at the moment. On the list of the nation’s favourite spring flowers are the snowdrop, crocus, daffodil, bluebell, tulip, primrose and hyacinth. If you have any of these in your garden, then you are already off to a flying start! But any spring flower - or indeed fresh green foliage from trees, bushes and evergreen plants - can make the perfect subject for your photography.
When taking nature shots such as these, you are likely to want to get close up to your subject. This is known as “macro photography”. Macro photography is a shot of a subject that is very small - for example, flower, insect, small bird or animal - but still large enough to be seen with the naked eye.
There are five key things to remember for successful macro photography this spring:
Use a suitable lens
The first thing to realise is that it’s possible to get some really good images of flowers whatever kind of camera or lens that you have. So if you want to get started but don’t have any specialist equipment then that’s fine.
But if you do have a choice then you can get macro lenses for both cameras and phones. A macro lens enables you to zoom in as close as possible and create a more detailed shot with intimate perspective; for example close-up shots of petals and buds.
But whatever lens you use, experiment with its ability to zoom and magnify, so that you find the best settings to be able to capture a decent-sized area but in as much detail as possible.
Good lighting is important for any type of photography, but particularly macro photography. It’s best to work in natural daylight where possible, but not too bright. So you might get better shots either on a slightly overcast day or in the morning or early evening. The combination of daylight without glare provides the best possible environment for some stunning macro photography shots.
If you do take photographs in bright sunlight then try to create more shade for your subject by shielding it with your body or hand. Another option is to use flash to provide consistent light for your subject.
In macro photography the aim is to fill the frame as much as possible, rather than leaving empty space. You then need to decide whether you want to focus sharply on a complete flower in your shot, or emphasise just part of it.
If you are trying to focus sharply on a complete flower, you will need a very narrow aperture. This means minimising the amount of light coming into the camera lens. On a digital camera you will be able to choose your aperture setting. Most smartphones do not have this facility, but you may be able to achieve it by using an app.
It is also a good idea to use a tripod to keep the camera very steady: we will look at this further below.
The alternative to taking the whole flower is just to choose one part of the flower to focus on. This is likely to result in the rest of the image becoming slightly blurry and out of focus which can create some dramatic and arty shots. Take time to experiment with different parts of the subject and different camera angles to get a range of unique and stunning shots.
For successful macro photography it’s important to remain very still whilst taking the shot, as the slightest movement may well result in blurring. So you need either to find a comfortable position that you can maintain easily, and hold your camera or phone with both hands, or use a tripod to keep it steady.
Another option that could help is if your camera or phone has burst mode. If so, you can use this to take a rapid succession of shots, which should hopefully result in at least a few good ones.
One of the beautiful things about macro photography is that as well as the subject in focus, the blurred background also really adds something unique to the shot. With the right lighting and colours it can create a lovely arty effect.
But if you don’t manage to get quite the effect you wanted from the original photograph, bear in mind that there are many different types of photo editing software available that can help you add the perfect finishing touch. To start tracking down the right one for you, why not take a look at our recent article Five of the Best Free Mobile Phone Editing Apps.
We hope that the above tips help you to enjoy some macro photography this spring. Check back here soon for more photography and lifestyle tips from Venture Studios.