Aug 12, 2006

Creating close-up pictures

Whether you are capturing the beauty of a flower or documenting the value of a crystal vase, you'll find many opportunities to take close-up pictures. Close-ups are easy as long as you hold the camera at its specified close-up distance. If you don't watch the distance carefully or get too close, the picture will be blurryCameras vary greatly in their close-up capabilities. Some digital cameras allow you to focus inches away, while some point-and-shoot cameras go no closer than several feet. Some cameras have a close-up mode or accept accessory close-up lenses.

Creating close-up pictures

Close-Ups with close-up mode

Some film snapshot cameras and most digital cameras have a close-up mode. Not sure if your camera has a close-up mode? Check the camera manual. Or look for a small icon of a flower on your camera or its display screen. The flower usually indicates a close-up mode.Once in the close-up mode, your camera will take sharp pictures only within a specific distance range, such as 1 to 2 feet. Subjects outside this range will be blurry.

Close-Ups without close-up mode

This procedure is fairly simple because you can get only as close as your camera's minimum focusing distance. For most snapshot cameras, that's about 30 inches. Check your camera manual. At this distance, you can get close enough to fill the picture area with an object about the size of a soccer ball.

Close-Ups with close-up lens

Some cameras can accept accessory close-up lenses that attach to the front of the camera, allowing you to take pictures of small flowers, stamps, coins, jewelry, and other very small subjects. This allows you to get extra close to your subject—only a few inches away. Sometimes you can screw two lenses together for extra magnification.

Because you are working so close to the subject, you need to handle the camera with more precision—holding the camera extra steady and at a precise distance from the subject. Check your camera manual to determine if your camera will accept accessory close-up lenses.

Note: If you're serious about doing a lot of high-quality close-up photography, you may want to invest in a single-lens-reflex (SLR) camera with a macro lens.

Close-Ups by cropping

By cropping your pictures, you can make the subject look bigger in the final picture. This is a great way to "get closer" even if your camera doesn't have close focusing capability.

If you're using a digital camera, start with the highest resolution because cropping will reduce the resolution.If you're shooting film, your processing lab should be able to crop the pictures for you if you give them special instructions. You can also do it yourself at a Kodak picture maker. Digital pictures can easily be cropped in picture-editing software on your home computer.