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By Shemerc99
As I am new to macro I would love to know how I could improve photo.

Tags: Close-up and macro

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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.


Rock Plus
16 10 2 England
15 Jul 2014 6:58AM
For a macro such as this a tripod would be very helpful .

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Coast 10 1.6k 292 United Kingdom
15 Jul 2014 12:01PM
Hi Sheila

As it stands this is quite a pleasing and attractive image. Lovely colour depth and plenty of detail in the yellow petals.

For me I would crop this a little tighter. Coming in on the right side edge to help with the balance. I'll upload a mod to demonstrate.

Otherwise my only comment would be around point of focus and depth of field. What is it you want to show? I would of liked to see all the stamens sharp as the focal point and would suggest focusing on the lead stamen (one closest to camera) and selecting an aperture that would retain sufficient depth of field to keep all of them sharp. I am less concerned that the petals remain sharp front to back and quite like the softness as you move to of the central area.

The out of focus stamen in the foreground becomes a little distracting.

Nonetheless an appealing image.

pamelajean Plus
12 1.1k 2015 United Kingdom
15 Jul 2014 8:40PM
Hello, Sheila, and welcome to the Critique Gallery.
Having looked at your portfolio, I don't think you have uploaded here before.
I hope you will enjoy it and find it a good place to learn. We try to give advice that will help people to improve their photography both the taking and the editing of images.

Remember that the more information you give us as regards your photographic aims and intentions, the better.
It also helps us if you respond to critique and indicate which ideas you found helpful. That means we can tailor advice according to your needs and abilities.

I like the way you have positioned the lily in the frame, emanating from the top left corner, and the side angle that you have chosen, which places the stamens against the background rather than against the flower. Then you have left a nice bit of space on the right, which is good. I'd like to see this in more of a square format, with a little more space at the bottom, but that's a personal choice, and your composition is good.

Paul has mentioned what I consider to be the most important area, that of selective focus. You need to choose one focus point and place that upon the stamens, allowing sufficient depth of field to get all of them nice and sharp. Preview each image on the camera to check your depth of field and adjust your aperture accordingly, then shoot again.

paulbroad 10 123 1240 United Kingdom
16 Jul 2014 7:51AM
I have added my short macro tutorial below...

Macro photography is not easy.

Macro means from about 1:2, half life size to about 10 times life size. Larger than that range is MICRO. Smaller is close up.

Ideally, when that close, you need a lot of depth of field, so a small aperture, f16 to f22. Wide aperture, shallow depth macro can be impressive, but tends to be more for effect than a technical record. Most lenses do not perform at there best at such small apertures.

Ideally you need a true macro lens. These come in fixed focal lengths only. NONE are zooms. Focal lengths are around 50mm, 100mm and 150mm. Go for the 100mm as it gives a good distance from the subject at 1:1. These lenses are designed to work well at small apertures.

The best macro lenses have internal focusing. The front element does not revolve and the lens dimensions do not change during focusing. It is best to not have a lens with rotating elements at all. Those that change length are best used on manual focus.

Exposure is the main problem. When very close to the subject, light can be restricted for various reasons, and at f22, you need a lot of light. For static subjects, a tripod is required and longer exposures but remember, outdoors, even a breath of wind can mean subject movement.

You need a fast shutter speed to avoid shake, you need a tiny aperture for depth of field and minimum ISO for image quality. Not easy. The answer is flash. However, this close the gun must be on an extension lead off the camera to point at the subject and, in many cases, you will get a black or very dark background.

There are specialist flash units available which attach to the lens filter thread. This is why internal focusing lenses are best. These flash units may have several heads but the most useful is the ring flash. They start at about 100 for simple units and can be quite a lot more with several internal heads and variable power to each.

I use auto focus on the lens when chasing fast moving insects with care that the lens focuses where I want it to. Manual focus always if there is time for accuracy. Flash can be on manual, with test exposures to get the exposure correct. I find my Sigma Ring flash works well with ETTL set, but does need compensation set. Compensation is usually +1 to 2 stops, calculated on each session.

If you do not change ISO or distance, then the settings remain constant.

With the flash, I easily achieve f18, ISO100 and any shutter speed I want up to the flash synch point.

There are a range of possibilities and you must design your own procedure. The above acts as a basic start point only.

Hope this might help.


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