Closeup subjects

Working close up (within 30 cm or so of your subject) opens up a whole new spectrum of picture possibilities. You can not only record small objects so that they fill the frame, but interesting, even dramatic pictures can be made from details of relatively ordinary things that you might not otherwise consider for photography. A cabbage, or a few clothes pegs, or just the page edges of a thick book are examples of hundreds of simple subjects that can be explored for hours in close-up. Along with plants and flowers, and weathered or corroded materials, they provide a rich source of pictures based on color, shape, pattern and texture (see Figure 21.1).

Close-up photography is also useful to record possessions for identification purposes. Items of special value to you can be logged in detail, against possible damage or theft, leading to an insurance claim. If you are an enthusiast then your collection of stamps, coins or model cars can be visually catalogued this way and then scanned into a computer file. Photographing inanimate objects in close-up is also an excellent self-teaching process for control of lighting and picture composition generally, working in your own time.

Technically, the main challenges in close-up work are to:

1 Sharply focus and accurately frame your subject.

2 Achieve sufficient depth of field, which shrinks alarmingly with close subjects.

3 Arrange suitable lighting.

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