Canon EOS Rebel T6i / 750D For Dummies
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Your Canon EOS Rebel T8i/850D is capable of amazing close-ups. For great close-up shots, start with the basic capture settings. Then try the following additional settings and techniques to take great close-ups on your Canon camera:
  • Check your Canon EOS Rebel T8i/850D owner’s 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.
  • Take control of depth of field by setting the camera mode to Av (aperture-priority autoexposure) mode. Whether you want a shallow, medium, or extreme depth of field depends on the point of your photo. For the scene shown below, for example, setting the aperture to f/5.6 blurred the background, helping the subjects stand out from the similarly colored background. But if you want the viewer to clearly see all details throughout the frame—for example, if you’re shooting a product shot for your company’s sales catalog—go the other direction, stopping down the aperture as far as possible.

    Canon EOS REbel depth of field Using a shallow depth-of-field setting helped the subjects stand apart from the similarly colored background.
  • Remember that zooming in and getting close to your subject both decrease depth of field. Back to that product shot: If you need depth of field beyond what you can achieve with the aperture setting, back away, zoom out, or both. (You can always crop your image to eliminate excess background.)
  • When shooting flowers and other nature scenes outdoors, pay attention to your Canon’s shutter speed. Even a slight breeze may cause your subject to move, causing blurring at slow shutter speeds.
  • Experiment with adding flash for better outdoor lighting. As with portraits, a bit of flash can improve close-ups when the sun is your primary light source. You may need to reduce the flash output slightly, via your Canon camera’s Flash Exposure Compensation control. Remember that turning on the built-in flash limits the maximum shutter speed to 1/200 second, however, and that mixing sunlight with flash light may affect image colors.
  • When shooting indoors, try not to use flash as your primary light source. Because you’re shooting with your Canon at close range, the light from your flash may be too harsh even at a low Flash Exposure Compensation setting. If flash is inevitable, turn on as many room lights as possible to reduce the flash power that’s needed.
  • To get really close to your subject, invest in a macro lens or a set of diopters. A macro lens enables you to focus at a very short distance so that you can capture even the tiniest of critters or, if you’re not into nature, details of an object. A 90mm macro lens was used to snap an image of the ladybug below just before she got annoyed and flew away home. Notice how shallow the depth of field is. The extreme background blurring is due to the long focal length of the lens and the short distance between the lens and the subject. An f-stop of f/10 was used, which may seem high when you’re going for a shallow depth of field. But because the focal length and subject distance already combined for a very shallow depth of field, a higher f-stop was needed to keep the entire subject in the focus zone.

    using macro lens on Canon Rebel A macro lens enables you to focus close enough to fill the frame with even the tiniest subjects.

Unfortunately, a good macro lens isn’t cheap, regardless of which Canon camera you’re using; prices range from a few hundred to a couple thousand dollars. If you enjoy capturing the tiny details in life, though, it’s worth the investment. For a less-expensive way to go, you can spend about $40 for a set of diopters, which are like reading glasses that you screw onto your lens. Diopters come in several strengths — +1, +2, +4, and so on — with a higher number indicating a greater magnifying power. With most sets, you can stack one diopter on top of another for increased power. The downside of a diopter is that it typically produces images that are very soft around the edges, a problem that doesn’t occur with a good macro lens.

Want to learn more? Check out our Canon EOS Rebel Ti8/850D Cheat Sheet.

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