Our aim is to make close-up photos so that the subjects are not confused with a busy background. We want the floral butterfly or bird to stand out from the background. The delineation from the background will help make the photograph artistically pleasing. For our purposes, the science of the flower’s stem and leaves, for example, are not as important as the visual impact of the photograph.
My method of achieving the artistic result with far more ease than crawling on my knees with a 35- mm macro lens is to use my 180-300 mm lens on macro setting. Using the longer lens achieves two objectives:
- it renders the background of the photo in soft, continuous tones that do not distract from the subject. The depth of field is very short with the focus only on the subject.
- It is much easier because I can be a few feet from the flower or other subject. This makes maneuvering to find the right angle much less taxing on your body.
Still I must find the angle where the background is darker than the subject and evenly lighted. To achieve a pleasing soft tonal range I need to avoid a background of sharp light and dark contrast.
To maximize sharpness and minimize grain or “noise” in the photo, it is essential to use a tripod or monopod when making close-ups using the longer lens. Having the camera stable will enable making the photos at a lower ISO i.e. 200 or maximum 400 as compared to a higher ISO which will render more “noise.”
Making photographs with this technique will maximize their artistic effect and add to your enjoyment.
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