Photography Tips for Beginners: Get Close! by Handmade Spark Member Jade Pond Crafts

Sunflower ACEO

Sunflower ACEO Print | $3 | Jade Pond Crafts

I have a really hot zoom lens for my camera. Actually I have several, and for several different cameras. Are they necessary to take a nice close shot? Not really!

Any camera will require you be at least a certain distance back for your shot to be in focus, even cameras you can manually focus. Your best bet is to check your guide to find out your camera’s specs, but for those using a 35mm point and shoot camera you will generally need to stand a few feet away from your subject. If you need a close-up or are taking a picture of a smaller object, you will need either a macro function on your camera or to simply edit and zoom later with a program such as GIMP or Photoshop. There is no point getting super close if your photo will be blurry. Stand back and zoom in later!

Fortunately these days most cameras come with some sort of macro setting that allows you to get closer. This setting is usually marked with a small flower icon and allows you to get within about 18 inches of your subject matter. Closer than that typically requires special equipment so again take the picture from further, then zoom in with your editing equipment. It’s better anytime to take a picture from too far back than from too close up!

Fill your frame! I used to be a photo tech at a well-known chain and aside from focus issues the biggest problem I saw was photos mostly full of… nothing. Nothing all around your tiny subject. Or perhaps way too much stuff all around your tiny subject. Like I just wrote a moment ago, it is better to to be too zoomed out than too zoomed in because you can of course zoom in later with editing software, so yes of course err on the side of caution. That said, if you leave too much excess area around your subject when taking the shot, later zoom in as close as you can without cropping details you deem important to the photo!

Look at the ads in your favorite magazines and notice that many of the pictures actually top off the tops of heads…. By chopping off the top you lose what typically doesn’t make that much difference to your photo and you get so much more detail of the face! Unless the point of the photo is the adorable knit hat someone is wearing, aren’t the facial expressions way more important?

Review it and use it!
#1 Take the photo from the correct distance to reduce focus issues.
#2 Allow excess space around your subject when you know you can edit later.
#3 Fill the frame of your final photo with as much of the important part of your subject as possible, even if it means cropping out unimportant details of your photo! And keep in mind if this is a scrapbook which will have a series of photos, one really zoomed in picture can add a lot of pow and the other photos can include the less important stuff! Same goes for sellers listing on Etsy or eBay! Have a “WHAM” picture to catch your buyers’ eyes and have the other picture show the less important details!

Take a few really zoomed in shots next time to compare to your zoomed out photos and see how much more attention getting zoomed in can be!

Good luck with your shots, and feel free to contact me with questions or comments!