One of the members in our membership group is having problems focusing. It can be so frustrating thinking you have your focal point nice and sharp, you pull the images on your computer and argggg…out of focus cringing effect in your body! Basically, WTF happened.
So let’s help her and you to make sure you’re not wasting time and to get to the point. Here are some tips to help you when you just can’t get your subject in focus.
1. Most important tip that I see where people have problems: Check your diopter
Once you see clear in your camera you’ll see the sharp focus points.
2. Use manual mode when focusing up close.
Lens autofocus will bounce in and out when you get up close.
3. Use autofocus and then lock your focus if your subject isn’t moving a lot.
I have changed up my focus lock button to suit my needs.
4. Use back of camera visual zoom in 2times to really get that sharp focus.
Use something to drape over you outside so you can see the panel.
5. Use f-stops with higher numbers.
Don’t go too high in the numbers … f32 has refraction and will give you problems.
6. Low light can be a problem so add extra light to focus and then remove light to shoot.
This will help you focus on your subject, just remember to remove.
8. Last – if calibration doesn’t work, there may be a flaw in your lens…it happens.
It’s so important to have your main subject in focus if that’s what you’re going for. I hope these 8 tips help! I actually have one more that I use a lot. Tether your camera to your computer so you see everything up close and personal 😉
Let’s Fix Your Red Images in Camera and Print Them
Fixing reds in the camera and then printing saturated colors like reds and yellows can give you problems when you get up close to your subjects. I did this video for my Macro Photography Live Chat Show and feel that it’s super important so I want to help you if you didn’t have the chance to watch the show. I realize that you may not have time to watch an hour show but hopefully, you’ll have time for a 10-minute video. 🙂
Steps from the video:
2:15 – Color problem example and why
2:07 – Custom White Balance Camera
04:13 – Use the Histogram
06:30 – Ways to Fix the problems
Now if you want to print those colors… go to this video CLICK HERE and click on the 21:00 mark. It’s worth your time so you don’t get the mushy print that could happen because your gamut is out of whack. Below are some links to help you with color.
If you have any questions feel free to ask below. There is always more than one way to work on our images. If you have a suggestion on how you photograph those saturated colors let us know below. As always… feel free to share a link to your work.
Problems with Your Colors – White Balance your Camera
If you’re a Macro and Close up photographer and love photographing rich colors, you’ve probably have had some problems getting those dark or bright reds, yellows, and other beautiful rich colors come out in your camera.
You upload a batch of beautiful work to your computer and wonder what in the world happened to the details of your subject. I’ve had it happen to me and I know many others have had that problem too. Actually, I got this question from Michael Pye. He photographs Orchids and can’t get the dark reds to be accurate in camera. So let’s talk about this in more detail to help you get the correct color in camera.
Now if you’re out photographing and have forgotten a white card, then go to the K (next to Custom White Balance) you’ll see it in the video, and change your Kelvin. Also if you still feel that the colors are just a bit too rich after you custom your camera’s white balance, then take the exposure down one stop and all should be good.
Have questions? Ask below…. I’d love to chat with you.
Speaking of chatting…did you know that I have a live show every other week on Youtube and Facebook to talk to you Macro and Close-up Photographers? I would love to see you there! Here’s a bit more info for you if you’re interested.
I’m going to talk to you in my language…this is not technical at all, BUT it will help you understand your histogram in your camera.
I’m just not a technical person, but I do want you to know that I do have the technical knowledge…. I just don’t like to teach that way unless a student asks me for it.
If you’re looking for technical information, then just leave a comment and I will do my best to make a video for you and others that would like this kind of information.
So let’s get to it…
Our cameras record light coming into the sensor. There are only three light colors that make all the colors we see in our images. Red, Green, and Blue make the magic that we see. When we look at our histogram, we can see the amount of that particular color (it will rise up on the graft) and we can see how dark and/or light each of these colors are. The darkest part of your picture will be to the left of the graft and the brightest part will be to the right of the graft. I explain this and more of the fun in the video below.
The histogram is an amazing guide for you to use while you’re shooting. Look at your histogram and make your adjustments in the camera. You’ll be much happier when you upload your photographs into the computer. Here is a small tip… if you’re photographing in RAW format, you’ll be able to push your colors brighter or darker just a bit in post processing.
Understand your histogram to help with bright colors.
I said in the video that to correct over saturated colors you’ll need to work on a custom white balance. Look out for that video soon 😉
Do you use the histogram? If you do…how does it help you with your photography? If you don’t, let me know why and I’ll try to help you understand it more.
I know that exposure isn’t the sexiest thing to talk about…we just want to make awesome pictures and really hope that we grabbed the perfect shot the first time. But unfortunately that rarely happens 🙁 So I’m here today to discuss this dreaded word: EXPOSURE. If you LOVE exposure, kudos to you and I’m slapping a high five at you right now! If not, let’s help you understand what happens with your camera when it makes the exposure and how you can work it!
Once you really understand exposure, you’ll have so much power while using your camera, and if you’re a power freak like me, you’ll be in photography heaven while you photograph. No Snap Shooting for YOU!
I talked about the steps to start your learning fun with exposure. For now, just play and don’t stress out. You’ll get it!
Here is another visual to help you see the difference of how bright the sky is compared to the grass and trees in the field. I manual shot the best image paying attention to what I could bring out when I processed this in ON1.
The grass looks great, but I couldn’t get the clouds to pop.
1/125 @ f6.7 ISO 200 Manual Mode Over Exposed
Now the sky looks amazing, but everything else looks like crap!
1,3000 @ f6.7 ISO 200 Manual Mode
So this was the shot I had to work with. I had just enough information to pull out what I wanted to make my river of grass shot. 🙂
1/350 @ f6.7 ISO 200 Manual Mode
It was tough, but I worked the image and got what I wanted in one shot! Whew! Fun…fun!
Correct Exposure to get the shot.
This is another way to get up close and personal with your camera, so when you start to photograph and just look at your scene, you’ll start to know what’s going to happen before you even push that shutter button. I’d like you to be different than the snapshooters, and the way you really begin to create your OWN work is to understand that there may be problems with your exposure and to know what to do when those problems arise.
Normally I ask you questions, but I thought today it would be better for YOU to ask me questions. If you want more techie answers, I’ll answer them here in the comment section. Feel free to ask anything about exposure, I really do want to help if you’re just not understanding why the pictures are not turning out the way you want them to!
One of the problems I see the most when people ask, “why isn’t my photograph looking the way I want it to look after I take the picture?” is that they let the camera do all the setting for them. What they don’t understand is that the camera can’t handle the extreme lighting conditions like our eyes do.
The secret of successful photography is when you play with the f-stop, shutter speed and ISO, but you must understand the basics before you can really push these three main components. These three components determine your exposure. I’ll be talking about exposure in more detail later, but I want you to really understand what the f-stop, shutter speed and ISO will do for you macro photographers.
Yes this is for the beginner photographer, but I always say you never know when you may learn something new if you already know the f-stop, shutter speed and ISO, so keep reading…
I’ve combined all of the elements in one blog post so you can grab this information while you’re photographing. This way you have everything in one shot while you photograph, no pun intended…hahaha I couldn’t help myself! So let’s get started…
Most important for Macro Photographers is the f-stop.
When we get up close we lose what’s in focus. Your f-stop number will determine what’s in focus so you really must master the f-stop which is the number you’re using to open and close the aperture.
The aperture is like the irises in your eyes. Just remember that the higher the number the more in focus your shot will be, but know that f-22 lets less light into your camera and in turn you’ll need a longer shutter speed to let the light into your camera. For example, say I’m photographing a beautiful flower outside and I want to use f-22 with my natural light conditions. I’ll need to have my settings at f-22 – shutter speed 1/125 sec – iso 100 BUT if I change my f-stop number to a 2.8 that means I opened my aperture larger so it will let more light into the camera and to get the same good exposure I’ll have to set my shutter speed to 1/4000 (really fast open and close of shutter) ISO 100 or the picture will be blown out (white).
The f2.8 – 1/4000 – ISO 100 will be less in focus than the f-22 – 1/125 – ISO 100 but they WILL both have the same exposure (not too dark and not too light in the picture) depending on your conditions. If you’re outside look for a shady place to photograph. NO harsh light or shadows for now.
The next most important tool to get that shot you want is to learn the shutter speed. This is how fast the shutter opens to let light into the camera.
You set the f-stop (the number of the opening of the aperture) look into your camera and look at your meter. Move your shutter speed number up or down until you have it in the middle of your meter.
I talk to you in more detail in my video on what the shutter will do for those close up shots you’re working on. But know that if you want a bug say flying to the flower you’ll need a faster shutter speed to capture the be and if your shutter is slow you’ll need a tripod or bump up the ISO.
The ISO is the next part of taking your picture to make a good exposure. Start on a low number like 100. If you don’t have enough light coming into the camera with the f-stop and shutter speed you want it’s now time to push up the ISO.
Google your camera to get an idea of how much you can push up your camera’s ISO. Here is a great site to plug in your Camera: https://www.dxomark.com/ If you go too high you’ll get grainy and ugly shots so you need to pay attention on how much you can push your ISO.
Definition: 0:43 Looking at the camera 1:05 The 3rd element to Exposure 2:17 Macro with a Tripod – slow shutter: 3:33 Photographing bugs or subjects needing a faster speed: 4:48 Overview and my question 6:22
I realize that this can be a challenge to understand each of these settings on your camera but you REALLY will understand what you can do while you’re photographing if you get these 3 tools down. Work on manual mode and play with the f-stop – shutter speed and ISO. Once you get the basics down then you’ll push them to create your own stories with your images. Trust me! It’s hard I know! But if you really want to push your creative spin in your work this is where you start. This is, “The Secret of Successful Photography.”
Of course, if you have any questions please ask below in the comment section and if you feel this was informative and helpful please share with your friends.
What’s your thought process as you photograph? Have you ever thought about the f-stop, shutter speed or ISO?
Cheers to the f-stop, shutter speed and ISO! Knowing its secrets will make your work successful because YOU will make your work…the camera won’t.
I see on facebook these amazing one minute recipes and thought, “how cool are these”! A couple of us photography friends decided that would be fun for us make too. One minute photo recipes are to inspire people to photograph and post process their work. I would like to make more, but time is always the problem….maybe, we will have to see. But for now here is my first “One Minute Photo Recipe” recipe:
To purchase image:
f-stop changes your focus
Have a great day and hope my One Minute Photo Recipe inspires you to play with your f-stop. 🙂
Today I would like to share with you the various tools that you will need to start your macro fun, so let’s talk about Cameras, Lenses and Tripods. I personally use Canon products and the reason I am even telling you this is that you will be investing money on your equipment.
Research the various cameras and choose the one YOU like. My suggestion is to research cameras and the macro lenses that work with them.
Mirrorless cameras are becoming more popular so I’d check out the Sony products if you want a camera without the mirror.
I’d like to also suggest before you go out and buy anything, that you check out Borrowedlenses.com. You can rent almost anything there.
I am a Canon 5D user. These are full-frame DSLR cameras. This is important for Macro shooting because as you get closer to objects, you’ll want more light coming into the camera. I also don’t want anything cropping my composition, but that’s me. What you see is what you get in full-frame cameras.
Once you have your camera, play with it…the better you know your equipment, the better you will photograph. Don’t worry if your photos turn out bad, it’s o.k. That is how you learn.
Now you have your camera, let’s check out some lenses. Go for the MACRO lens if you’re serious about photographing up close (please click this link and go to equipment it’s important). If you took the time to read the link I gave you, you will understand why a macro lens is the best for what you want to achieve. Basically, the lens optics are cut so you can get up close to the subject and have a quality 1:1 ratio of your subject. Also, the link gives you information on the various focal lengths you can purchase.
My favorite lens is the Canon 100mm macro lens:
Extension tubs will get you closer to the subject and you can also buy a reversible adapter to reverse you other lenses to get up close.
If you don’t want to disturb your subjects than a longer macro lens would be perfect for you.
Ok, now the tripod…In order to have your subject sharp and photograph looking professional, you really need to set your camera on a tripod for the really up close compositions. The closer you get to your subject, the harder it is to keep subjects in focus.
Now, before you say, “it is way too expensive for me!” Remember, I am giving you info on quality equipment. Read up on it and if you can’t afford it, that’s ok. I found you a less expensive kit here (Manfrotto MT190CXPRO4 Carbon Fiber Tripod Kit with 054 Magnesium Ball Head and Q5 Quick-Release System-note to me to check flat to the ground tripod) I do have to say that my husband always tells me you get what you pay for. I have never been unhappy with my equipment until I went cheap.
What I like about my tripod is that it’s sturdy, I can adjust the legs to go flat to the ground (which I have used outdoors) and I can adjust the neck to a horizontal position when needed. I have the ball head, which is excellent for Macro Photography.
Light a Fire!
I used my Canon 5D, 100mm macro lens, and extension with a tripod to make this photograph. You will see a whole new world photographing up close! It’s like looking in a microscope, well kind off . 🙂
If you have questions, feel free to comment. I’ll do my best to get back to you ASAP.