Tag Archives: camera

Using the Macro mode on your camera

Today’s post comes courtesy of Moonyarn. After last weeks post about putting copywrite onto photos I asked people what else they would like information on. @Moonyarn responded with a great idea –

how to get in-focus close-up with blurred background on a (decent!) point-and-shoot camera? Have been playing with macro.

So as always I shall attempt to oblige.

Macro is usually represented as a flower:

Image

This mode allows you to take close up pictures of objects, showing off details beautifully. It uses a large aperture to create a shallow depth of field and to blur the background. (I may be wrong but I think that this means that the lens lets a small amount of light through thus only picking up the details in the things closest to the camera.)

This brings me to my first point: if the aim is to show off details then ALL details, including the bad ones will show up.

Tip 1: Ensure that your object is as perfect as you can make it when using this mode, polish, iron …do whatever you need to do to make sure any imperfections are minimalised. (Some imperfections can be edited out at a later date but it is easier to do everything that you can in order to take the best possible picture at the start.)

Tip 2: It may be worth investing in a tripod as close up shots will show shaky hands! You do not have to spend a lot of money books may be enough. Alternatively you can make your own version of a tripod.

2013-05-21 19.24

This is an idea that comes in the book: The Crafter’s Guide To Taking Great Photos.

Tip 3: Again to minimise camera shake I have read that it is quite a good idea to use the timing option on your camera as this avoids shaking the camera as you push the button.

When I use Macro (and I do a fair bit) it is useful to remember which part of the piece you are focusing on as the whole picture will not be in focus.

rope 2 013

I hope that you can see that in this photograph the foreground is in focus but the background is not? This feature is very useful and can be used to really highlight details on your work.

Tip 4: As you are focusing on a particular area of your object and the whole picture will not be in focus it is probably best to keep the background simple so as not to draw the eye away from the detail you are trying to show.

Tip 5: I would really advise you to go back to your instruction manual for your camera model and read what it says about the macro choice for your camera. Despite I have read the manual for my camera fairly recently I know that I need to go back and read mine again. Writing this has made that very clear. When I have done this, and if I learn anything really crucial I will share it with you (obviously!) 🙂

If you have anything else that you would like me to have a look at then do please ask and I shall do my best to help (it helps me too so I am more than happy :))

 

Learning how to take decent photographs.

I have not done any crafting for 5 days now (as I write this at least a week ago now!) and my fingers are itching. To be honest I am getting very jumpy. However, I am busy on something else. It is to do with crafting but not creative (yet). I am more than aware that my photographs vary greatly. Some are ok and others have much to be desired. I do not mention the bad ones as I believe it is obvious but I do intend to improve!

I knew enough to know about light boxes and so created this little ‘studio’ in my house:

My Light sheet!!!

My Light sheet!!!

As you can see it is simply a chair covered with a white cot sheet placed in front of the patio doors. It worked ok for some photos but I still need a lot more practice. For Christmas I asked for and got this book:

It comes highly recommended from other crafters and I can certainly see why. Here begins my learning journey:

Step 1: Try to read the first few chapters mindfully. (My instinct being to skim it as fast as possible to move onto the next thing.)

Step 2: Umm (I am a bit embarrassed about this) read the manual to the camera. Not the most interesting material ever but thanks to the book some of it actually made sense to me and I even made some notes!! (Yep I read almost all of the 160 pages!!)

Step 3: Familiarise yourself with how the settings and functions are accessed on the actual camera. What does each button do?

Step 4: Do a bit of research. I spent a whole evening having a look at photographs of jewellery on etsy, Ravelry and Craftsy to see the kind of style I like. The book talks about the story you are telling by the photographs. Will you dress it up with props? What about the background colour?

Simonida necklace

On a bust to show the scale?

English: handmade beaded necklace http://www.e...

On a simple background?

The SpringTime Walk
With a prop?

This all needs to be considered apparently. Having spent some time looking at examples I think that I prefer simple, clutter free photographs on a pretty white cloth as a back drop. I also like close up views.

Step 5: After returning to the book again for a quick refresh (I really do not find all the technical terms that easy to retain!) I then had a play – I took loads of photographs with different settings so that I can compare them to find the optimum setting for my purpose.

I took 116 photographs in total! No wonder I got a bit tired! In case you are wondering, I did write down the settings I used on each one so that I will be able to replicate it again. (How organised am I?) 🙂

Step 6 :Look at all the photographs, deleting the ones that REALLY do not work (and there are some of those I can assure you.) So what am I looking for? Basically the photographs that show the best clarity and the best colour match.

As I liked the photographs taken on a pretty white cloth this is what I did the majority of the photographs on. At the end I tried a few different backgrounds. For each variable I took a photograph of three contrasting items I had made (the same three each time.)

A wire choker

A wire choker

A chunky beaded cuff

A chunky beaded cuff

A delicate beaded and wire necklace.

A delicate beaded and wire necklace.

(The above photographs are the ones taken before this process started!) I thought that these three items are a good representation across the styles I produce.

The worst are the ones I did under manual setting:

Would you believe this is one of the better ones of my bad ones?

Would you believe this is one of the better ones of my bad ones? Some were just black!!

Apparently I got the ISO level wrong in these – lesson learnt: keep to the automatic setting for this 🙂

To be honest the amount of the other photographs were quite overwhelming with only small differences between them. The other thing that I did find easy was the surface to use. I did not like the white cloth that I used as it is far too fussy:

See what I mean?

See what I mean?

The plain white background was good for this:

Christmas 2012 and expt 152But not so great for this:

Christmas 2012 and expt 154Especially when compared to this:

Christmas 2012 and expt 148The one sure decision that I have regarding the photographs that I took was that for the front photo of each item the grey tile is the background I shall be using as it shows the stitching detail off really well.

Do you agree? What experiences have you had with photographing your work? What works for you?