TutorialsFine art macro photographyFantastic Guide to Close Up Photography

Fantastic Guide to Close Up Photography

Close up photography is called when the subject is about 10 to 30 centimeters in diameter and gets close enough to fill the entire photo frame. This style can be close to macro photography, but it is different in meaning.

Close up photography definition

What are the difference between close up and macro and micro photography?

In close up , the distance to the subject is usually at least 30 cm. Of course, depending on the size, the length can be longer. In macro, the minimum distance is less. Which again depends on the size of the subject and the capabilities of your lens.

In macros, insects and small flowers or buds are usually photographed. And if the flower is large, like a rose, part of it usually appears in great detail. While in close up, the whole image is filled with a giant flower.

Of course, what I said was approximate and not definitive. The fact is that all the parameters can be changed to the taste of the photographer. Also, the size of the object and the angle and environmental conditions of photography effectively change the parameters.

I just wanted to explain that the camera is closer to the object in the macro than the close-up, and the subject is more minor. And if the issue is relatively large, part of it is usually placed in the frame in the macro. Close-up is close to the object but not close enough to capture fine detail.

What lens should I use for close up photography

Macro photography often requires more of a macro lens. But there is no such lens need for a close-up at all, and you can easily do your job with a standard lens.

Macro lenses have a magnification of about 1: 1 to 2: 1. To take close-up photos, a magnification of 0.20 to 0.25 is enough.

Micro photography is done with lenses with a magnification of more than 1: 1. These lenses are expensive and can show details close to what is seen under a microscope.

Micro is not very popular compared to the two methods previously described.

What can close-up photo subjects be?

Everything! Inanimate objects such as an old clock, teapot, cup or flowers, any plant, and anything that will delight you. With a bit of creativity, you can create a beautiful image with these themes.

When you are at home, your searching eyes should look for objects that are suitable for Illustration. For example, you have to use your artistic talent to use a teapot and one or two cups next to each other or a cup full of coffee or small tools or electrical appliances.

The situations in which you approach them for taking pictures and how they are put together should be attractive. Or it can convey a special meaning. Photography is not just a technique, and it is also an art. With the close-ups you create, you look at the world you like to show.

By photographing flowers, we can create beautiful artistic photographs.

You may want to shoot in nature, depending on your taste. In my experience, close-up photos of plants could be beautiful. The whole has many different and endless shapes and colors.

When you walk or drive through the nature of your place of residence, you will find suitable plants for this purpose.

Search in nature

If there is a place to walk in nature and you are physically fit, it is better to have a laptop with you. The computer can have a small monitor. To be light and portable. The need for a laptop arises because the camera monitor is not enough to check the quality of the photos.

With the camera monitor, you can check the maximum exposure status and some of its composition. A larger monitor is needed to view the close-up photography picture details.

This work is so that your effort is not wasted in going to nature and long walks. If you do not get the desired result, you can repeat the photography differently.

If you leave checking the pictures after arriving home and realize that you have to go that route again and go to that flower, you will not feel good. And this can get worse if you see that the flower is not in the previous position, it may have withered.

(You can read more about landscape photography in nature in the article Landscape Photography Tips for Beginners.)

The weather may not be suitable for you. There is nothing worse than blowing wind when you are ready to take a photo and blur the image by shaking the plant.

Photographers usually have a backpack for carrying cameras, lenses, and laptops for such occasions. Of course, as I mentioned before, a standard lens is enough for the close-up method.

This type of backpack is called “National Geographic” in Iran, but I do not think it has anything to do with National Geography. Probably just a term.

In this way, many good and bad adventures can happen. I once traveled to Kashan in March, which coincides with the New Year holidays in Iran.

My goal was to take pictures of historical places there. The laptop was in the back of the car, and the air was freezing. I have heard before that frigid weather can damage electronic devices.

When I wanted to look at the photos I had taken at the hotel, I noticed that the color composition of the laptop monitor was destroyed, and I had to repair it after returning to my hometown.

Close up photography of animals

If you want to take pictures of animals such as turtles, rabbits, etc., in this way, a standard lens may not be suitable.

Depending on the animal, you may need a macro lens with a long focal length, such as 105 mm, or a telephoto lens. Because animals usually run away when you approach them.

Of course, I once took a picture of a turtle with a 35mm Macro Zuiko lens. I was lying on the ground so that the animal does not notice my body and does not run away.

What surprised me was that the tortoise caught its attention to the opening and closing of the diaphragm and shutter’s sound. It brought its head right in front of the lens, and I managed to take a picture of its face.

How to take close up photography pictures of flowers

Sometimes the flower is big enough, like a rose. In this case, if the background is sharp and you want to preserve it, you can display it in the same way. But if you look at Instagram and websites, you will find that photographers are accustomed to manipulating the photo.

For example, about roses, they create a completely black background. Or they make a layer from flowers in the software, then use the color of the petals to create a new layer and place it on the other components of the image.

But they reduce the transparency of this new colored layer. In this case, the background components are recognizable from behind the colored fog, but they seem to be lost in the mist. A mist that is in the same color as the petals. This method gives a romantic and mysterious image.

Some photographers, like myself, create backgrounds in other ways, such as using gradient tools.

It all depends on your taste and creativity.

If the flowers are smaller and stacked in large numbers, you can place a collection of them in a frame. You can even fill the whole picture with them. Sometimes flowers are from one species and one color. In this case, if you can put the sky in your frame, you will create greatness.

What lens is suitable for taking close up photography images

Although I said that a standard lens is enough for this method of photography, not all standard lenses are suitable for this purpose. You need to be able to get close enough to the subject.

That means that your lens must be able to shoot from a short distance. It means it should not have a long focal length.

I use a 14-42mm lens myself. My Olympus e-510 camera had two standard lenses from the beginning, one of which was the same lens I mentioned. And before I bought my macro lens, I took many close-up photos with the same lens.

Close up photography techniques

Shooting at home or in the studio

If you want to shoot indoors, you will miss the variety in nature. But you can work better equipped. For example, a tripod can be used, which is challenging to carry outdoor. But it prevents from shaking, so you can get quality photos.

You can also use artificial light. The ring light is very convenient because it diffuses light. Great if you can use three or more light sources. The goal is to minimize shadows. It is suitable to have a box to place the subject and install mirrors on its walls.

This work will scatter the light completely. The result will be excellent. If mirrors are not available, use glossy white wood or white cardboard.

You can buy flowers and plants from the florist or bring them home from the yard or garden. Working with bouquets and a vase is also fascinating.

Of course, I have never had a studio or artificial light. I always photographed with natural light, except I used a flash in a florist for the last time.

What do you need to avoid when it comes to lighting?

Under no circumstances should the light shine to the front of the lens. Otherwise, it will destroy your beautiful photo.

The only exception is sunrise and sunset photography, which has its method.


Great if you work with a DSLR. But it is not necessary at all. In the field of close-up, you can work with any camera and any facility. There is only one essential requirement; your camera lens must allow you to get close enough to the object.

So try it now. Can you get close enough to a rose with your camera to fill the entire frame?

If the answer is yes, you are a lucky person. If not, you have to crop the photo in software like Photoshop to keep only the flower. Unfortunately, this reduces the number of pixels and reduces the quality of the image. But you are not the only one who has to use Crop.

Many times photographers use this method. But you need to know the ways in graphic software to be able to compensate for this shortcoming.

Aperture size and speed

Many photographers like to capture the background sharply and clearly. Therefore, they use narrow aperture sizes such as f / 22 or f / 16. But this method requires enough light, which may not be available.

I am not in this category. I use a wider aperture. First of all, it allows me to work even in low light. Secondly, it will enable high speed, which prevents the blurring of the image due to the handshake. And it blurs the background. But the flower itself is recorded in detail. I created beautiful images by using these fine art photography technics.

This method makes the flower appear prominent in the photo and attracts attention.

Whether you can use an aperture of f / 5.6 f / 4, f / 3.5, or f / 2 depends on the quality of your lens. More expensive lenses allow low-light shooting in this way. I mean, it is possible to use f / 2 size in high-quality lenses.

ISO or Flash؟

If the ambient light is low and even the wide aperture is not enough, you have two options. You either have to raise the camera ISO or use the flash. I usually increase the ISO.

However, if the ISO goes above a certain level, it will cause color noise in the photo. Deleting it with Photoshop is not easy. This limit varies depending on the camera technology and the year of manufacture.

For example, in my Olympus e 510, the last usable ISO is 800, and the ISO 1600 creates noise.

So do not be ashamed to use the flash. The result is excellent; I tried it myself!

Autofocus or manually focus?

Autofocus is much more accurate and faster. Naturally, we tend to use it. But sometimes, you want to take a picture of a set of objects or plants in a frame. And your goal is to focus on the subject in the middle.

This situation means that you want to blur the things, in front of the queue and at the end of the line. Unfortunately, if these objects are small and a short distance apart, you will get in trouble with autofocus.

Not only do you need to have a DSLR, but also an expensive DSLR. They can focus on many points at a time. Otherwise, you have to set the camera to focus manually. Well, now you are relieved of the annoyance of the camera! Frame and take any photo you like!

In the past, before digital cameras were made, we used to take pictures in the same way.


It is one of the most critical issues. Even an amateur photographer should not ignore it. Failure to pay attention to this will reduce the quality of good photos.

Please make sure the object is in the middle of the frame when shooting. Or the components of the photo have a significant relationship with each other.

For example, a stem that enters the frame from somewhere and exits the frame from another place does not communicate with the other components. And the rest of the parts of the plant, whose only stem can be seen in the photo, are also left out of the frame.

If you can not solve these problems while shooting, you have only one solution, software!

Close-up photography pictures editing in Photoshop

It can be one of your best choices. I can not summarize everything that can be done with Photoshop in one paragraph. I will mention only three cases briefly. For example, when you look at your photos, you come across an image that is beautiful but has an exposure problem. Or the camera is shaky, and the picture is not sharp.

With Photoshop, if you have the necessary skills, you can use that image to make it suitable and usable. And if you are familiar enough with it, you can show many other creations.


Images created by close-up style can be unique. This method of photography does not require expensive equipment.

Start with whatever camera you have and create beautiful photos.

Good Luck!


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Babak Siminzar
Babak Siminzarhttps://www.bsiminzar.com
I am a general practitioner and work in a health center. In previous years, my place of work was rural areas in the northwest of Iran. In addition to medicine in those areas, I also did photography, which was my hobby. I am very interested in macro photography, so most of my portfolio photos are about it. I also visit and photograph historical sites on my travels.


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