Find Macro and Close-Up Photo Subjects - dummies

By Thomas Clark

After you discover your own ability to capture photographic detail in life’s smaller scenes, you may want to explore the possibilities of macro and close-up photography, creating beautiful images with intricate messages. Here are some suggestions for subjects that offer limitless possibilities and range.

Whatever’s at your fingertips

The things around you probably provide a pretty good portrayal of who you are. You may not have thought about this, but you’re surrounded by things that say something about you.

A seamstress’s room most likely has threads, needles, and pincushions lying around. A crafty person might be surrounded by glue, scissors, tape, and yarn. A cook has flour, knives, measuring spoons, and so on.

The point is that you don’t have to go far to create images that provide intimate information and strong messages. The simple detail of thread looped though the eye of a needle shows a relationship that the seamstress is quite familiar with.

A metal needle has such a different texture from that of the thread, which creates a contrast that provides visual interest. Macro photography is the perfect tool for portraying that odd relationship.

Small details are everywhere, and many of them get overlooked. Find the ones that exist in your surroundings and experiment with revealing them through macro and close-up photography.

Interesting textures

Texture can add a lot to your message. It can inform viewers of the subject’s condition, provide a sense of touch to an image, and show similarities between different things.

A rusty chain provides a much different feeling than that of a brand new shiny chain. The rusty texture reveals the subject’s age and how well it was taken care of (or not taken care of). The rusty chain has been forgotten, or ignored and has suffered the natural elements on its own. This story is told through texture alone.

Another thing that texture does for a photograph is to provide a sense that viewers can almost touch the subject. A sidelit scenario helps to emphasize texture by creating highlights on one side of the elevated areas and casting shadows on the other. This creates visual contrast and helps to show the surface’s three-dimensional qualities.

Another way you can use texture creatively is to relate qualities of two different scenes. For instance, the textural details in a close-up shot of a leaf can look very similar to the textural details in an aerial shot of the countryside.