Macro Photography

A commenter recently said that, "Macro photography takes time and practices, especially to get the bokeh background." You know what? They were right.


photography producing photographs of small items larger than life size. 

Dreamy Bokeh| Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography | ©2016 All Rights Reserved

Macro photography can be intimidating but it doesn't have to be. I first began macro photography when I had 55-200mm lens mounted on my camera and thought, "Hmmmm, I wonder what that flower will look like if I take a picture of it up close?" I figured out my distance for focus by stepping forward and backwards, and then snapped the shutter. It was all an experiment. 

Fall Close Up | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography | ©2016 All Rights Reserve

Tips for taking a macro photo without a dedicated macro lens....

~The longer the zoom the better. This will help with that bokeh background. You will want to shot fully zoomed out.

To capture a bokeh background you want to create space between the camera and the object, and the object and the background. The further away the object is from the background the more bokeh you will achieve. 

~A lower f-stop helps. This too will help create a nice bokeh affect, but it can be the most frustrating thing to wrap your brain around. 

In basic terms, setting your f-stop to a wider value (a lower number i.e. f1.4, f2.5, f3.5) creates a shallow depth of field which focuses the attention on your subject. 

Click through to read more... Photography 101: Understanding Photography Basics- Aperture & Depth of Field

Click through to read more... Photography 101: Understanding Photography Basics- Aperture & Depth of Field

~ A tripod is not necessarily a must.

I vary rarely use a tripod when I am taking nature photos. Gasp, I know, I know, I should be using one, but let's be honest it's not convenient. So instead, I ALWAYS rapid fire shots. Holding my camera steady, elbows against my ribs, I take a deep breath, hold it, and fire away. At a minimum I take three shots, but usually five to six. More than likely, one out of the six will be tack sharp in focus.

Dangling Fall | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography | ©2016 All Rights Reserve

~Wind is not your friend, or even a slight breeze.

When you live in a windy place, like I do, macro photography is much harder. Even the slightest breeze can make your shot blurry.  I always try to shoot macro nature shots on a still day, and if I have a slight breeze I up how many pictures I take of an object. 

~ Finally, practice makes perfect. 

I have a dedicated macro lens now, but it took time to find it's sweet spot. I still find myself practicing to figure it out completely. To me photography is always about practice, every day I am practicing when I pick up my camera and shoot, that's half the fun of photography.

Colors of Autumn: How I Isolate Color

The Random...

It is not always easy to capture the color of the season. I live in an area where our fall is not the cascading colors of orange, red, indigo and yellow streaming over the landscape. My landscape is mainly evergreen, with a smattering of mostly golden yellow aspen trees throughout. To find another color of fall is a treasure hunt of the eyes.

I have found the best way to capture the color of fall here is to isolate it. Instead of lavish lush landscape photos I have focused on close-up shots of splashes of colors. 

Lisa Kerner | Life Thru the Lens | Colors of Autumn | How to Isolate Fall Colors

The Good...

To isolate a color you do not have to rely on macro photography, but you do have to get personal. Do not be afraid to tuck your camera in nice and tight for your shot, but be sure to stay within your sweet spot for you lens.

Tip... if you have nature photos that are not tack sharp most of the time it is because you moved in beyond the plane of focus. I play this one by ear, and push back in tiny increments until I can visually see that I am tack sharp. Practice makes perfect on this process; purposefully step in too close to your subject and then back off to see just how close you can get to a subject. (Yes, there are focal distance rules, but I find most people learn best by doing and seeing.)

Lisa Kerner | Life Thru the Lens | Colors of Autumn | How to Isolate Fall Colors

To isolate the color further I often look for contrasting backgrounds from the color I am isolating. 

Tip... This is where bokeh comes into play. Most people think of bokeh as those pictures that have the shimmers of round spots in the background of a shot. However, the definition of bokeh is: the visual quality of the out-of-focus areas of a photographic image, especially as rendered by a particular lens.  The key to bokeh is space. Space between the subject and the background, or space between you and the subject if you have a larger zoom lens. (By larger, I mean 200mm or more) To create bokeh with a zoom lens: I zoom all the way out, 200mm or more. Then, I manually set my focus point on my subject. I tuck in as close as I can get with my zoom fully extended, make sure my subject in focus, and shoot. 

Lisa Kerner | Life Thru the Lens | Colors of Autumn | How to Isolate Fall Colors

And then, there is the Rule of Thirds. The rule of thirds is meant to be broken, I break it all the time, however it works rather well in isolating fall colors. It works because when your subject lies within the a third of your shot, then the viewers eye will naturally be drawn to the subject, and consequently the isolated color of the subject will register with the brain quicker.

Tip... You do not always have to shoot with the Rule of Thirds in mind. I often shoot a little bit wider around my subject and then recompose it in editing, with the crop tool. 

Lisa Kerner | Life Thru the Lens | Colors of Autumn | How to Isolate Fall Colors

How to isolate the color of fall, quick review...

~Look for pops of color within the over all landscape, then shoot close. 

~Look for pops of color with a background that is a contrasting color, and create bokeh.

~Look for pops of color that fall within the Rule of Thirds in your shots. 

Lisa Kerner | Life Thru the Lens | Colors of Autumn | How to Isolate Fall Colors

The Fun...

~ Do not forget to hashtag your photos on Instagram and each Friday I will feature some of our favorites at Lisa.Kerner  



~ Do not forget about the giveaway, you only have a couple more weeks to enter... hop on over to Kristy's site at Life-n-Reflection to enter for a chance to win, to be announced October 31st.