Canon 60D Close-Up Shooting Tips

For great close-up shots, start out by checking your lens manual to find out the minimum close-focusing distance of your lens. How up close and personal you can be to your subject depends on your lens, not on the camera body of your Canon EOS 60D. The 18-135mm kit lens can be as close as 1.48 feet from the subject (subject to camera sensor) when zoomed to 135mm. Then try the following additional settings and techniques:

  • Take control over depth of field by setting the camera mode to Av (aperture-priority autoexposure) mode. Whether you want a shallow or a medium or an extreme depth of field depends on the point of your photo. For a romantic scene, setting the aperture to f/4.5 blurred the background, helping the subject stand out more. But if you want the viewer to clearly see all details throughout the frame, go in the other direction, stopping down the aperture as far as possible.

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  • Remember that both zooming in and getting close to your subject decreases depth of field. Back to that product shot: If you need depth of field beyond what you can achieve with the aperture setting, you may need to back away or zoom out, or both. (You can always crop your image to show just the parts of the subject that you want to feature.)

  • When shooting flowers and other nature scenes outdoors, pay attention to shutter speed, too. Even a slight breeze may cause your subject to move, causing blurring at slow shutter speeds.

  • Use fill flash for better outdoor lighting. Just as with portraits, a tiny bit of flash typically improves close-ups when the sun is your primary light source. You may need to reduce the flash output slightly, via the camera’s Flash Exposure Compensation control.

    Keep in mind that the maximum shutter speed possible when you use the built-in flash is 1/250 second. So, in extremely bright light, you may need to use a high f-stop setting to avoid overexposing the picture. You also can lower the ISO speed setting, if it’s not already all the way down to ISO 100.

    You can’t control whether the flash fires in Close-Up mode, so if flash is an issue, use either Av mode or Creative Auto mode.

  • When shooting indoors, try not to use flash as your primary light source. Because you’re shooting at close range, the light from your flash may be too harsh even at a low Flash Exposure Compensation setting. (Remember that if you have multiple light sources, though, you may need to tweak the White Balance setting.)

  • To get very close to your subject, invest in a macro lens or a set of diopters (also called close-up filters). A true macro lens is an expensive proposition; expect to pay around $200 or more. If you enjoy capturing the tiny details in life, a macro lens is worth the investment. For a less expensive way to go, though, you can spend about $40 for a set of diopters, which are sort of like reading glasses filters that you screw onto existing lens. (Check the filter size of the lens in the documentation; it’s 67mm for the 18-135mm kit lens.)

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