Nikon D780 For Dummies
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If you have lush flowers or small critters in your yard or live near a botanical garden, you have a rich resource for wonderful close-up photographs on your Nikon D780. You can take a nice photograph of a flowerbed or create something really special by photographing a flower up close and personal. A close-up of a flower or a small animal like a lizard reveals the beautiful architecture of the flower, or the symmetry and unique appendages of the animal.

When you see a compelling photograph of a flower, you can almost smell that flower. To create a great macro photograph of flowers, you need great-looking flowers, the right light, and a good eye for composition. Add the settings and techniques discussed in this section, and you’re well on your way to creating great photographs of flowers or other small things.

How to set the Nikon D780 camera

When you photograph a close-up of a flower, small animal, or insect, you take the picture almost like you’re shooting a portrait of a person. In both cases, you carefully compose the image and choose the proper camera settings to get a great photograph. When you shoot in aperture-priority auto (A) mode and use a large aperture (a small f/stop number), you get a shallow depth of field that draws the viewer’s attention to the subject. With a single autofocus point, you can lock focus on any part of the subject so that you draw attention to the stamen, a flower petal, or an insect on the flower. A low ISO gives you a crisp image that has little or no digital noise. A focal length of 90mm or longer lets you get close to your subject. However, you can get your best results if you have a macro lens. If your lens has image stabilization, enable the feature. When you capture close-ups of any subject, the slightest bit of operator movement can result in an image that doesn’t look sharp.

Many lenses come equipped with a macro mode, which lets you get really close to your subject and still keep it in focus. If you don’t have a macro lens, consider buying one if you enjoy photographing close-ups of objects such as flowers. You can also buy an extension tube for close-up photography.

Don’t use image stabilization if you mount your camera on a tripod.

Camera settings: Macro photography

These are the settings I recommend for macro photography:
  • Metering mode: Matrix
  • Release mode: Cl (continuous low speed) or Ch (continuous high speed)
  • Shooting mode: Aperture-priority auto (A) mode
  • Aperture: f/3.5 to f/5.6.
  • ISO: 100, 200, or the lowest setting that gives you a shutter speed that’s the reciprocal of the focal length you’re using to photograph the flower
  • Focus mode: AF-S (single AF)
  • Autofocus point: Single-point AF
  • Focal length: 90mm or longer macro lens
  • Image stabilization: On, unless using a tripod

Zooming in to take the picture

You get your best images if you photograph your subject in flattering light. Harsh overhead light is not flattering. If you’re faced with those conditions, use a small diffuser to soften the light. You can photograph flowers indoors or outdoors. If you photograph flowers outdoors, take your photos early in the morning or late in the afternoon because that’s when the light is most flattering. The same rule applies when photographing small insects or animals. Also, cloudy overcast conditions offer soft, diffuse lighting that can be great for this type of photograph.

When photographing flowers, photograph a light-colored flower against a dark background and photograph a dark-colored flower against a light background.

If you’re shooting indoors, try placing the subject near a window that’s not receiving direct sunlight so that you can get soft, diffuse light, which is perfect for photographing small objects such as flowers.

If you’re taking a picture of the entire object, make sure you leave a bit of breathing room around the subject.

Use your flash to add a kiss of light to the image. This extra light warms the image and adds light to the shadows. If your camera has flash exposure compensation, use it to determine how much light the flash adds to the image.

If you want to create a photograph of a flower dappled with pearls of dew, but the flower doesn’t have any dew on it, carry a small spray bottle with you and mist the flower prior to photographing it. But don’t mist flowers in the heat of the day, when the afternoon sun can quickly heat the water and hurt the flower.

You can create a very intimate flower portrait if you zoom in tight and capture fine details of the flower. When you zoom in this closely, make sure you compose the scene in your viewfinder to create an aesthetically pleasing picture.

macro photography Zoom in tight to capture fine details of a flower.

About This Article

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David Karlins is a web design professional and author who's written over 50 books and created video training on top web design tools. Doug Sahlin is the coauthor of Social Media Marketing All-in-One For Dummies and author of Digital Landscape & Nature Photography For Dummies.

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