Close up photography tips

Matthew James Oxlade
Updated on

Photography is interesting, but taking close up photos are more interesting, so here are my favourite close up photography tips and tricks for taking super sharp photos. Sharing is caring, right?

1. Find interesting subject matter

Taking a photo of rubbish is, well, rubbish. Find something interesting to photograph up close. If you want your viewer to be impressed with your photo, they have to be interested in the subject matter to be interested in the details. Finding dead bugs might seem like a good target for macro photography, but once you start photographing, you’ll realise that a dead bug just doesn’t have that same effect. The subject needs life to make the photo compelling. If you’re taking a photo of an inanimate object, make sure that you are photographing an item that is hard to see the detail of up close. That’s what makes a photo interesting!

If you’re stuck for things to do close up photography on, here are some macro photography ideas.

2. Get equipment to photograph up close

My macro photography setup for close up photography is a Canon 5Dmkiii, a Canon 65mm MP-E, Canon twin light flash, Canon 100mm 2.8, flash arm and bracket, Canon 580EXII and small softbox. There are a few different setups within that list of photography equipment:

Setup 1 (super close up photography)

Canon 5Dmkiii
Canon 65mm MP-E
Canon twin light flash

Setup 2 (close up photography)

Canon 5Dmkiii
Canon 100mm 2.8
Canon 580EXII
Small softbox
Flash arm and bracket

Each of those setups are good for different subject matters. The second photography equipment setup for close up photography takes longer to set up, but it does not allow you to shoot as close up. Getting either a ring flash or a twin light flash is compulsory, but there are also benefits to having a speed light (like the Canon 580EXII) on a flash arm. Having it on a flash arm allows you to take the flash further away from the subject and position it differently.

3. Be patient while photographing the subject

Good things come to those who wait. This is especially relevant when it comes to close up photography and is one of the more important tips and tricks. The reason why patience is important is that the smallest movements by the subject or the photographer will make a significant change to what is in the frame. Because you are magnifying the subject so much, small movements make a huge difference! Be patient, wait for the subject to be in focus, and time your shots correctly. Burst mode can help with this, but you really need to breathe deeply and fire the shutter at the right time to get it just right.

4. Set your camera’s aperture to anything more narrow than f/10

Close up photography is a catch 22. On one hand, you need as much depth of field as possible, but on the other you need lots of light. This is why lighting equipment is key, because you’re going to need to shoot at least at f/10. I shoot at f/16, but you really can’t get any usable results with close up photography at less than f/10. So I hope that helps you get better results, quicker!

There you have it – my close up photography tips and tricks. Considering these tips will put you in a good position to capture sharp details and interesting subjects. So get sharing – I would love to see what you take with the above tips and tricks!