Tuesday, March 11, 2008
No matter what the weather, the light or the location, you always can get into the close-up world and find "the picture"
1 Be sure of your focus. Since depth of field is very narrow, you must be sure you have it where you want it.
2 Work the contrast. It can be interesting photographically to contrast your in-focus subject with a distinctly out-of-focus background.
3 Be sure that what should be sharp is sharp. That means using higher shutter speeds, higher ISO settings or electronic flash.
Light Rules Change
Light doesn’t change up close, but how you handle it definitely does. Close-ups deal with very small areas, obviously, but if you think about that, this means you can easily change the light on those areas. The only way to change the light on a mountain is to shoot at a different time. The good news is that you don’t have to accept the light on your subject as is if that light causes you problems. First, you can almost always move your position or change the angle of the light on your subject, changing it quickly from front to side to backlight. Next, you usually can shift your position enough to gain a new contrast in the background from the light.
If those steps don’t do enough, modify the light. Block the sun completely by creating shade on your subject or background. Shade can be a much nicer light on many subjects. You also can use a diffuser between the light and your subject‚ anything from a white shower curtain (cut to fit your bag) to small diffusers made specifically for this purpose. Diffused light is effective for many types of close-ups.
Flash is consistent. Once you set up a close-up flash system, you can count on it delivering the same results again and again. This can be a great advantage for certain subjects, especially insects that are constantly moving. On the other hand, that consistency can be a problem when photos taken with a flash system look monotonously the same, photo after photo. This can be avoided with systems that allow you to change the position of the flash or flash heads.
Flash has some disadvantages, though. The light isn’t natural, which means the existing light conditions, good or bad, are lost. Flash also falls off quickly, so that a close-up subject can be perfect in exposure, but the background is dead black. Finally, flash systems can be heavy, bulky and awkward to handle in the field, especially if they unbalance the camera.
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