If the lens does autofocus okay, there will still be a delay between you half pressing the shutter button to AF, and fully pressing it to take the photo. The difficulties with autofocus increase the higher the magnification of the image you are trying to capture. Although I have pretty much dismissed autofocus above, it is a good idea to at least try it out with your camera.
Using the camera handheld is usually the best choice for insects during the daytime as they move about too much for a tripod to be of much use. Now, if you can press the shutter button as soon as the subject comes into focus, all well and good.
This technique can be used not just with reversed lenses, but with all methods of macro photography.
Another trick that can be used when you have a very close focus distance, is to grab onto whatever your subject is attached to. A tripod is often the best choice for studio work where you don't have to deal with wind or moving subjects.
As with handheld macro photography, when focusing with a macro lens you can use the lens' focusing ring. A focusing rail mounts on your tripod head, or it can be mounted between the tripod and the head.
The rail has a toothed groove along the bottom, and a cog system controlled by a knob can be used to move the camera along the rail. When focusing in situations where a tripod is used, it can be a good idea to your camera's rear LCD for focusing.
By using a remote shutter release you don't need to worry about this, as you are not touching the camera at all when triggering the shutter. Close-up photography is a must for insects; they are small and intricate and therefore require attention to detail.
Keeping an insect in focus is very tough if you are using a macro lens and handholding the camera too. Consider using a ringlight flash; this is a flashgun that is in the shape of a doughnut and fits on the end of your lens. A macro lens is important if you want to take very sharp close-up images, but there are less expensive alternatives. The iPhone is quickly becoming the primary camera for many of us, and though it makes a great point-and-shoot for your average pictures, it can also take surprisingly good close-up and macro shots. The iPhone camera tends to have trouble focusing on something that is extremely bright and close-up, plus your photo will usually turn out overexposed. When shooting pictures of things up close, the tiniest movements can change what the camera is focused on. This is a seemingly obvious tip for almost all photography, but it’s more important than ever with close-up macro shots since the slightest movement can result in motion blur.
This may seem counterintuitive, but using the built-in HDR mode on iPhone can actually sometimes take better macro shots than not. Placing an extremely small water droplet on the iPhone lens can turn it into a surprisingly effective macro lens.
This is obviously not going to be for everyone since it involves placing water onto the iPhone, which could theoretically damage the phone if it wasn’t done properly. If you want to take the absolute best macro shots possible with an iPhone, you’ll need to spring for an external macro lens. There is no purple haze problem, I take photos with my iPhone 5 every day and have never seen it. There’s a Shapeways 3d printable device that does a really nice job on iPhone macro shots. Most people think of standard or telephoto lenses as being best suited for portrait photography, but never dare experiment with wide-angle lenses. Generally, wide angle lenses aren’t used for portraiture because it can make some body parts seem unnaturally large. So wide angles might not work for headshots, but they are fantastic for environmental portraits.
So this trick is done by using a wide angle lens (under 15mm for a crop-frame camera and under 22mm for a full-frame camera). About the AuthorJim Harmer Facebook Twitter Google+Jim Harmer is the founder of Improve Photography, and host of the popular Improve Photography Podcast. For taking abstract flower photos I would recommend using cut flowers or potted plants that you keep indoors.
Some very interesting abstract flower photos can be taken when using a macro lens to focus on only a very small part of a flower. For gaining an increased magnification, which can be helpful for abstract flower macros, there are a number of accessories you can consider. A diopter lens or reversed lens mounted on your normal lens will allow you to focus closer as well.
For some flower abstracts, you may be interested in capturing the texture of a flower or leaf.
By putting the subject only slightly out of focus it will keep its shape and form, but softly merge with its surroundings. Looking for abstract compositions in flowers, you'll often find a few different compositions that work well with a single flower. It is easy to find subjects - even if you don't have a garden, you likely have some pot plants or cut flowers in your house.
Experimenting is always important with creating great photos, but particularly with abstract photography.
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To delete this file, click the file name with your mouse, then right-click and scroll down the menu to the "delete" option. To remove the photo permanently from the desktop, locate the photo on the hard drive and drag it to the trash.


Whatever your interest, you'll be entertained and educated with our collection of best-selling DVDs. Photo by Steve BerardiLast year, my dad wrote a great post about how to get sharp photos of birds in flight. Well, a few weeks ago I went out to photograph bald eagles with my dad, and I came back with my first acceptably sharp photo of a bird in flight, yay! You’ll get the sharpest photo possible when the bird is not moving across your camera’s focal plane (sensor), so the key is to carefully track the bird with your camera. For most of the two hours my dad and I were outside photographing eagles, we were really just watching them. If you’re having trouble tracking the bird in your camera, try going out sometimes where you only watch the birds, and don’t even bring your camera. Ideally, you’d want the bird to take up the whole frame, but you probably won’t be that lucky very often. Of course, there were other things that helped me get a sharp photo too, like a fast shutter speed, a high burst rate camera (I used a 50D with 6.3 fps, and a 7D with 8 fps), but I think the two things above are what really helped the most.
If you enjoyed this article, and would like to read more, please signup for free updates by email or RSS. About the Author: Steve Berardi is a naturalist, photographer, computer scientist, and founder of PhotoNaturalist.
Frank – You make a good point about lighting, which is also super important as you mention. Although this delay will be very short, a very small movement of the camera or subject during this delay can be enough to put the focus slightly off from where you wanted it. Handheld photography can be used anytime, though bear in mind that shooting handheld may sometimes require using a higher ISO or additional lighting (flash) to prevent blurry images from camera shake. You can set your camera and subject, then get repeatable results while you experiment with lighting and exposure settings.
It allows you to capture still scenes in natural light by using a slow shutter speed without any camera shake.
But for other methods, especially when using a reversed lens, it can be quite helpful to have a focusing rail. Use the magnify feature to zoom in on the preview image, which will let you focus extremely accurately. No matter how stable your setup, when you depress the shutter button on the camera, it's likely to move the camera a small bit.
This gives a couple of seconds delay after you press the shutter button, which allows any vibrations from pushing the button to dissipate. This is because when you use a shallow depth of field, you give yourself a smaller margin for error. The resulting image has an even, shadowless finish, perfect for insects as it highlights their details without creating a shadowy distraction.
You can buy attachments called extension tubes that give great close-ups; you can also buy filters that magnify giving the close up look. Use the cameras focus and exposure locking feature when you get the target in focus, then those little shakes and camera wiggles won’t mess up the focus. Set the iPhone down once the focus is locked, then snap the picture from the white earbuds. Put an Olloclip or Photojojo lens onto an iPhone and the quality of macro shots shoots through the roof and starts looking like a $2000 professional camera, allowing you to take ridiculously close-up pictures with freakishly high detail. On the left is as close as the default iPhone 4 will shoot without losing focus, and on the right is the same area of sand taken with an Olloclip macro lens on the same iPhone 4.
Maybe you’re on the other end of the spectrum and want some tips for taking great panoramic shots with iPhone? Subscribe to the OSXDaily newsletter to get more of our great Apple tips, tricks, and important news delivered to your inbox! Some bored websites make stuff up to get attention and stir up controversy, you shouldn’t listen to them.
The photo taken looks great but very hesitant to intentionally place water on my shiny new iPhone 5. A If your portrait photography is beginning to feel a bit stale, then try this new technique. A What is close to the lens seems unusually large, and what is far away from the camera seems smaller and further away.
A For example, if a portrait of a person’s face is taken with a wide angle lens up close, the nose will look huge because it is closer to the lens than the rest of the face.
A That’s just a fancy term for portraits that include the area around the subject in order to tell a story.
A If you have a kit lens that goes down to 18mm on your crop-frame DSLR, then this may only work marginally well. A Get up close (usually about as close as your wide angle lens will focus) to part of the body or scenery which is closely connected to the person.
It is important to think outside the box and put away the 24-70 or 70-200 in the studio and get out a 10-20mm lens now and then. I’ve seen it said over and over by portrait photographers who are used to working in studios that you should never use a true wide angle for a portrait lens.
By taking the photos indoors you can eliminate any problems with the wind blowing the flower while you are trying to compose and focus your photo.
With your camera to your eye, look through the lens at the flower and slowly move the lens around the flower until you find an interesting composition.
Extension tubes or bellows can be used on a DSLR camera to move the lens away from the camera and so allow the lens to focus much closer than it can normally.
This allows you to focus on part of a flower while throwing the rest of the image out of focus. While a bunch of daffodils may all look the same, if you start looking for close-up abstract compositions, you'll find that small differences in color, the way petals overlap, etc. And new 'subjects' are easy to buy, either from a florists, or many other shops such as supermarkets and garages also sell flowers.Because of the uniqueness of each flower, and the different compositions that can be found, it makes your photo more unique. With abstract flower photography, you can experiment with your composition, shutter speed, aperture, and also the lighting.


Since then, I’ve occasionally tried to photograph a hawk in flight, but never really dedicated a whole lot of time to it, so I was never able to get a sharp photo.
Only occasionally did they come close enough to photograph, so the majority of the time we just watched. Then, you can just hold down that back button while you track the bird, and the camera will automatically re-focus on the bird as it moves through the sky (well, as long as you keep the bird near that center AF spot). If a lens racks the focus out to infinity and then back again before it finally focuses on the subject, this can take some time. Once you've found the subject in approximate focus, rock back and forth ever so slightly so the plane of focus moves back and forth through the subject. For insects though, you need to be careful not to scare them off when you take hold of their perch.
You can read more about this technique on John Kimbler's No Cropping Zone blog - How Working Distance Works Against You. You would position the tripod so the subject is approximately in focus, and then use the focusing rail to get the focus exactly where you want it.
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Your camera may be hand-held or used with a tripod, but be as quiet as you can to prevent scaring the insect away. Because of this fact you should always use a tripod to avoid blur, and use the smallest aperture possible.
Remember to put your camera on a tripod and use a cable release, a remote, or the cameraa€™s self timer to take the image. Zooming in close means that the striking contrast between colors is very clear; you can even bring an insect indoors and create a set up with a colorful flower. To photograph an ant get low on the ground (use a mat to rest your camera on) and photograph the insect while it is engaging in its daily tasks.
Insects move quickly, so dona€™t be afraid to use sports mode since it allows you to capture subjects that are moving rapidly. Using the earbuds to take a picture is best used with a little tripod, but you can usually steady the iPhone against a rock or something else too. Best of all, Olloclip is actually a 3-in-1 camera lens, giving you not only the super macro lens, but also a fisheye and wide-angle lens. The 3D printed device and a $4 lens got me a nice macro lens with no barrel distortion for $12.
But if you take lifestyles portraits, as our studio is becoming known for doing, the wide angle shots can be up to half of the shoot. This also gives you more control over lighting - you can use long exposures without the worrying about the wind, or set up some lights and position them as needed.
For DSLR cameras, you can also try purchasing a reversing adapter that mounts straight onto the camera body. By focusing on one part of the flower you ensure that one part is in sharp focus while the rest is thrown into an out of focus blur. This effect can also be achieved on the computer using software such onOne FocalPoint, but you will likely find it easier to compose your image when you can see the effect in the viewfinder. You may find thousands of similar images of a daffodil flower, but it is unlikely you would find even ten similar abstract photos of a daffodil.
And, I think that really helped me track them when they did get close enough to photograph, because watching them helped me get a feel for their speed.
And, you don’t necessarily need a super long lens to do that (I used a 400mm lens in the shot above), you just need patience. Many times I’m tracking a bird, ready to hit the shutter release only to have the AF go blurry. It may not even be able to find focus on the subject, and leave you with an unfocused image in the viewfinder. This should help you in preempting the exact moment to press the shutter and snap the photo.
In other cameras the view will normally be on the rear LCD, or you should be able to switch the view between the EVF and the rear LCD.
One possible technique is to stand above a flower and wait for an insect to land on it a€“ a flower which has lot of pollen for the taking will usually tempt a creature or two. Use auto and manual focus and see which one works better for you; sometimes auto takes a while to a€?finda€? the subject you want. Remember that by pressing the shutter, you cause a slight movement, and when the image is magnified, any blur will be apparent. You may have to use fill-in flash if the sun is not very bright so there is a little bit more detail on the insect. You then attach a reversed lens to the adapter, and can reach quite high magnifications with wide angle lenses reverse mounted this way. In the two hours that my dad and I were watching and photographing the bald eagles, only about four or five times did one fly close enough for us to fill up a good amount of the frame. Use a shallow DOF (depth of field) to create a completely blurred out background and make the bug stand out more.
Because they are so small, make sure your focus is perfect and on the insect, not the background. This may well mean a long lens for a landscape or a wide angle for a storytelling portrait. Use colored cards to make quick and attractive backdrops whether youa€™re photographing insects indoors or out.
Since insects are everywhere, there is no excuse not to go out and find some to photograph.
As always, if you have any other great tips, tricks, or ideas for taking better iPhone pictures, feel free to send them in or let us know in the comments. Photographers should know the rules and then break them carefully, or risk their work becoming static and uninspiring!



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