Sunday 1 July 2012

Try Smartphone macro-photography for great results

Smartphones have increasingly good cameras these days. Even I, a die-hard SLR photographer have been won over to using them for some subjects. In fact, when it comes to close-up or macro-photography, they are an excellent tool.  I explain why smartphones are good for macro-photography, their main limitation and also give simple directions for taking close-ups. Have a look at the slide-show below featuring mainly flowers from Colbrook Nurseries, between Teversham and Fulbourn in Cambridgeshire, UK.

Since many of us have our smartphones with us most of the time, they are a valuable portable camera immediately at hand when an opportunity arises. Shopping in Garden Centres is not my prime interest. However, when we arrived at Colbrook Nurseries, the riot of colours and patterns turned a potential chore into a little photographic excursion. Thank you to the nurseries for giving me permission to photograph there!

It is the small but high quality lens that becomes an asset for close-up photography with your smartphone. Usually in macro-photography, the area in focus is limited to a narrow depth of field.  The small lenses of smartphones have the beneficial effect of a greater depth of field – more of your subject is in focus. Your depth of field can be increased further using the zoom function.

Smartphones are also easier to manipulate close to your subject than a heavy SLR (single lens reflex) camera. The bright displays also let you readily gauge your composition.

The disadvantage of the small lens is that it captures less light. Photos become washed out when photgraphing in dim light conditions indoors for example. Look more closely at your photos taken with your smartphone, comparing those on a bright day to those taken, say, at an evening party.

How to take your smartphone macro-photographs.
  • Choose a bright day and subjects outside so that they are well lit
  • Switch on your smartphone camera and hold it close to a variety of nearby objects
  • Find something that looks interesting on the display
  • Move the camera back a bit
  • Use the zoom to get close again for the same picture
  • Have a main point of interest at about 1/3 from the edge of your picture rather than having it slap bang in the centre
  • Tap your smartphone touch-screen to focus on your point of interest
  • Take the picture
  • Take several shots so you can choose the best later

Have fun taking your own close-ups with your smartphone and feel free to send me a link to your online album :-)

Helping you communicate in print, pictures and person.

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