How to Do Close Up Photography


There will be times that you'll want to get closer to photograph an object than your lens will allow. All lenses have a minimum focusing distance, and if you get too close, the subject will be out of focus. Close-Up Photography is also called macro photography and special lenses can be purchased that are called macro lenses that allow focusing at small distances. In all cases you must carefully consider depth of field and use manual focus for close-up photography. You can buy fairly inexpensive close-up adapters that fit to the front of the lens that allow close focusing. In this article we will provide some techniques and examples for doing close-up photography that do not require buying additional macro lenses--however, if you are serious about Macro Photography you may want to consider investing in a macro lens or a variety of close-up adapters.

Things You'll Need

  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • Close-up adapters
  • This is a normal image of some lilies in the garden. This was shot with a 55mm lens at about 4 feet, which is the closest the lens can focus. The camera was hand held and the shot is here as a reference for you to compare results of macro photography of the same subject.

  • This shot was taken with a 200mm lens on a tripod at about 8 feet. This is as close as the lens will focus. Notice the reduction in depth of field. It was very windy when these photographs were taken so a smaller aperture could not be used without getting blur from the movement of the flowers in the wind. A smaller aperture would increase depth of field but require a slower shutter speed which would not freeze the moving flower. Yes folks, plants do move.

  • This image was taken with a 1x close-up adapter. You can purchase close-up adapters up to 4x for most cameras. The larger the number, the more the image will be magnified. Notice the reduced depth of field, but also notice the fine details in the leaves of the iris. Close-up photography gives you the ability to see things you might not have seen without the aid of the lens.

  • This photograph was taken with a 2x adapter. This allows you to get within inches of the subject. Carefully consider lighting when using close-up adapters and be careful of your own shadow when you take your picture. You are photographing a very small area.

  • Finally, remember to crop your image for dramatic effect. This is the same image taken with the 1x adapter. However, proper cropping of the image makes it a better photograph

Tips & Warnings

  • Always use a tripod when doing close-up photography.
  • Consider using a shutter release cable to minimize camera movement during exposure.
  • Close-up photography generally requires a lot of light on the image since you are restricting the field of view dramatically.
  • Always use manual focus. Automatic focus does not work effectively with close-up adapters.

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