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5 Photography Tips - Take Better Pictures Of Close-Ups

Updated on February 22, 2013

Take Better Photos - Start With Macro

If you are looking to take better photos, let's assume that you have made a fantastic choice in the purchase of a digital SLR camera. (However, even if you don't have a DSLR, some of these tips and techniques will work for you.)

Those who buy Canon digital SLR cameras are already ahead of the game because you have one of the best cameras in terms of image quality.

Additionally, if you have also picked up a lens or two, including the best Canon macro lens available for your budget, you will be far ahead of most of other new camera owners. In the event that you don't know this, Canon macro lenses and even Sigma macro for Canon can be used for lots of different photography applications other than close-up shots.

One of the key features of macro lenses is a wide aperture (many have an f/2.8 aperture) which will give you super fast shutter speeds. This means the lens can double up as a sports or action tool. But many photographers, even the professionals, use close-up lenses for portraits, again because of their wide aperture, which produces a very desirable background blur.

Zinnia taken with a Sigma for Canon Macro lens
Zinnia taken with a Sigma for Canon Macro lens

Here Are The 5 Tips For Better Photos

Let's face the facts. If you have agonized and studied and researched every digital SLR camera on the market before making that initial purchase, you still have a problem. The problem is that there are many new photographers think the camera does all the work, and they still have no experience or skill when it comes to taking that great photo. Getting the best camera available carries no credibility at all if the photographer does not know how to take a good photograph.

With basic skills being the goal, here are five ways to improve your photos.

Macro Photos ~ Get Up Close And Personal

Tip # 1. Think small. Remember the Canon macro lens mentioned above? It's a basic fact of life, macro photography will change the way you think about your photos. The small, intricate, and interesting details of the things of nature will open up a new world to you. Take pictures of flowers or the insides of flowers, bugs, or even the parts of a bicycle. The only limitation here is your imagination. Turn it loose and amaze your audience with the new creative you.

Flox with white butterfly

Buttons can even make a great photo

Professional Tips From a Professional

For $5? How can you go wrong?

Up Close and Personal

by Andrew Gibson

Click here to view more details
With this new publication by Andrew Gibson, you can learn the best ways to shoot macro photos. He explains how to set up your camera, and the secrets of focusing for the best up close pictures.

Without Considering Composition Your Photos Will Be Just Snapshots

Tip # 2. Compose before you shoot. After you figure out how to get rid of red-eye, it's time to take control of your photos. You can do that by paying closer attention to the composition. Look through the viewfinder with a new eye toward taking more interesting shot.

Start by filling the frame with your subject to eliminate unnecessary clutter. This may mean changing lenses or zooming in or even moving closer to the subject.

Another key composition factor is the rule of thirds. Simply move your subject out of the center as you compose the shot, or move the horizon up or down so that it is not running right through the middle of the picture.

Rule of Thirds --------- Fill the Frame --------------- Get Closer

Use A Tripod

Tip # 3. Buy a tripod. A tripod is one of the most useful tools you can add to your camera kit, especially if you get hooked on macro shooting.

Holding your camera steady is critical. Most people are just not that stable, and even a little shake can ruin an otherwise great photo. The tighter you get to your subject, say a grasshopper, or the longer the distance your lens reaches, like a 400mm telephoto lens, the more steady you must hold your camera.

A tripod is an absolute necessity for these situations, as well as when there is not enough light to hand-hold your camera. Another factor that requires the use of a tripod is if you want to slow down the shutter to get a silky looking flow of water in a white water creek or from a waterfall, you just can't do it without a stable camera.

Any tripod will be helpful, but if you are going to be shooting a lot of photos near the ground, this Joby Tripod will fit nicely into your photography gear.

It is also good for attaching your camera to a fence or railing or just a tabletop. And, the good news is, it is really inexpensive as camera gear goes. Click Here to see more about the Joby GP3 Gorillapod

Try Different Angles

Tip # 4. Move around. Standing in front of your subject is the natural tendency for most photo shooters, but you should really try to get creative with where you place yourself in relation to the shot. Try getting above or below rather than shooting straight on. Use a ladder or stairway to move up. You can even use playground equipment to get above the action and, thus, improve the interest of your picture.

On the other hand, you can get below the subject or the action to get a more interesting perspective. Lying on the ground or having your subject on a hill above you work really well.

To get this photo of a Linton Rose, I had to get right down on the ground because these flowers not only grow low to the ground, but they also face downward. My camera was literally in the dirt.

photography classes
photography classes

Photography Classes Can Help

Tip # 5. Consider a photography class. Learning from a professional will give you a real leg up in your picture taking abilities. But there is another option.

  • You can join a photographic society. These clubs are common in many medium and large cities. Dues are minimal, and you can go on field trips with the club members, learning from a whole group of avid enthusiasts with like interests.
  • Attend photography Workshops. There are always groups forming. They visit places like botanical gardens and historical sites with a professional leader. Workshops are a quick way of gaining photographic skills.
  • Find out more about Photography Classes Here.

Black Swallowtail Caterpillar taken with Sigma macro lens for Canon
Black Swallowtail Caterpillar taken with Sigma macro lens for Canon

Keep Shooting

If you want to get better at your hobby, it will take time and patience, but there is no better hobby than photography. Test the different lenses for different types of shots. Remember the advice about the Canon macro lens? You can use one for many other types of shots. Keep on trying new methods and techniques, and above all, take lots and lots of pictures. You can also find out more about the Canon 60D vs T3i, two great cameras for advanced photography beginners.

Record Your Visit - What kind of Macro Lens do you use?

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    • rob-hemphill profile image

      Rob Hemphill 4 years ago from Ireland

      Taking macro photos is a great way to become more disciplined in photography, as you have to ensure complete stability and focus, and you should get onto manual and away from auto. I love shooting macro and have now added a teleconverter 1.4x to get even closer.

    • jethrosas profile image

      Jethro 5 years ago from Philippines

      I am not into macro lens right now but planning to buy my first powershot camera. I like canon. :)

    • profile image

      crstnblue 5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing news tips! Simple and to the point! : )