Tuesday, December 4, 2007

photo tip :: macro

Now, before I go headlong into this "photo tip" post, I should probably do a little disclaimer. Although I am not a photography expert, I do consider myself to be a photography enthusiast. As such, I enjoy learning little *tricks of the trade* to make my photos look more polished. I also enjoy sharing the things I learn as I go. What I share here will be simple, practical, and include almost no technical jargon (in part because I don't know it myself!). Hopefully this will help you get acquianted with your camera so you can learn how to use its features to take better pictures.

With that said, here goes...

One of my absolute FAVORITE settings on my little point and shoot is Macro. This setting is denoted on most cameras with a little flower. Going into Macro mode helps you take better close-ups. I love using this mode for pictures of flowers, leaves, berries, and other flora subjects. You can also use it for close-ups of your favorite holiday decorations, treats, etc.
To get started, push the button or switch to the setting for Macro and start framing your shot. When you have an angle you like, press your shutter button down halfway - this will help you determine if your shot is focused. Your camera should have an indicator on the display screen to let you know when you are in focus (I get a little green dot that flashes until it is focused). If you can't get it to focus, let go of the shutter button and try moving a little further away from your subject.

Another thing you'll want to see is where your camera is focusing - it doesn't always automatically focus on exactly what you want it to. My camera shows this with little brackets that appear at the actual point(s) where my shot is in focus. If it doesn't automatically focus where you want it to, let go of the shutter button and press it down halfway again. If that still doesn't work, let it go try moving the camera into a slightly different position before pressing it down again.

NOTE: If you can't get these little brackets to display, reference your user manual to see if you have that function, then follow the instructions to enable it.

Once you are in focus, press the shutter button the remainder of the way down to take your picture. Try to be as still as possible. Use the review button to see if it turned out the way you wanted it to. If not, try again!

NOTE: These instructions about how to focus can be applied even when you aren't using macro.

Something important to note: different cameras have different abilities when it comes to Macro. For example, your camera's Macro setting may allow you to focus on a subject less than an inch from your camera. My camera will not focus that closely - I have to hold my camera a few inches away from my subject. The best thing to do is play around with your camera and see what it can do.

Finally, don't be afraid to pull out the user manual that came with your camera - it should have a good description of how to use the Macro function. Or you can just go here. :)

You'll probably be surprised at the kind of pictures you can take when you actually make the time to get to know what your camera's features are. If you don't believe me, read Angela's testimonial!


Angela said...

Macro changed my life! Good tip Karla, and thanks for the link.

clay and jordan said...

Oooh I'm excited to try this tip out. Thanks for sharing!

kristen said...

you know what i love macro for? food shots!! (as i know you do too) and another great thing i found- instead of trying to hold the camera really still i just turn on the "timer" mode so i don't have to wiggle the camera when i push down the button. works great! i love all of your little tips- thanks for sharing!

Rachel Mary Smith said...

Karla! I was so excited to stumble across your blog. Those are some great ideas and I'm definitely going to try them out. Our blog's here if you want to take a look: theraben.com/blog

Laura said...

This is Laura Przybyla--remember us from Villa Maria? This is an awesome blog! You are so creative and I love your photography tips. What kind of camera do you have? I love photography, and have dreams of one day owning a great camera (and actually learning how to use it.) I'm glad to catch up with you guys. It looks like things are going well! Are you still at Villa Maria until you move to Boise?

Tyler, Amy and Kate Waterfall said...

Karla, that is really neat. I have been impressed with your close-ups.