Monday, September 29, 2008

Taking Close-Up Photos

I've barely had any time to sleep let alone blog so I'll make this short and find a way to work it into my photography guide later.

A good close-up shot requires two things, a properly setup camera, and good framing.


  • Use the largest aperture that you can while keeping the main subject in focus. Depth of field will really make the subject pop out.
  • When making the closeup, use more zoom (increase the focal length) rather than moving closer to the subject. This will reduce the effect of perspective, which makes objects up close look fatter than normal.
  • If you have them, set your camera's focus points to the part of the frame you intend to put the subject.

Framing the Shot

  • Avoid the temptation to put the subject in the middle of the frame and zooming out until the subject is completely visible. Here you can see how my daughter is off to one side. If I had tried to capture my whole daughter's body, the attention would have been drawn away from her playing with the puzzle pieces.

  • Use the entire frame. Just like in the previous shot, rather than zooming out to get the whole subject, we actually zoom in to fill up the entire frame. This makes the the entire photo interesting.

  • Use perspective to your advantage. I know earlier we wanted to minimize perspective to minimize distortion, but sometimes you can use this distort to make things appear to be coming right at you.

  • Don't be afraid to crop the subject. Cropping is where you select a rectangular portion of a image and eliminate the rest of it. Usually you will size the rectangle to include all the important bits, but here you can see that I cropped a part of my baby's face. Doing this let me split the viewer's attention between my daughter and my wife in the background.

  • Experiment! This by no means encompasses all the techniques that you can use. Remember digital photos are free, take lots and try different things. There's no better teacher than experience.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Stock Photos

Since my name sounds Indian, I sometimes get junk mail targeted to Indian families. They even go as far as changing the ad to include photos of Indian families. But I guess there's a shortage stock Indian family photos or this family really likes Bank of the West and Kaiser Permanente.