Desktop Macro Photography

After the long discussion on the gear required for macro photography, I will demonstrate some desktop shots in this one which would allow building up more for the future videos.

So, this is my “desktop”…Actually, just a corner which I use for most of my desktop macros. I recently got some small acrylic sheets just before the lockdown. It is a good replacement for not cleaning my desktop 🙂

I am using a Nikon D850 with a Tamron 90mm macro lens for this demonstration along with my Godox flash on a cord as explained in the previous video.

For this demonstration, we will see how to get objects with a black background.

First, a brief explanation as to how…

  1. Light from a flash can only be controlled by the aperture and not the shutter speed. The flash, in general, is way to fast for the shutter speeds on most cameras.
  2. Light falls off, or dims out according to the inverse square law. In simple terms, the light will get weaker with distance.
  3. Based on the above points, if we have an aperture value that is high enough (f/18 for example), it will cut out all the ambient light when shooting and only the light from the flash would have any effect.
  4. What follows is that fact that if we use a flash to light our subject and make sure the flash power and direction is just good enough to light only the subject, then, we will get a black background.

A basic understanding of the depth of field would be very helpful. In general, the larger the distance of the camera to the subject, the larger the area that appears to be in focus. A good site to get a general idea on how this works is https://dofsimulator.net/en/.

For macros and close ups, the DoF is generally very, very narrow and it becomes critical to have the focus exactly where we want it.

Another critical term to understand is the flash sync speed. This is essentially the highest shutter speed you can use when using a flash. There are ways of using a higher shutter speed, but, we are not going to get into that for macros.

We will discuss all of this in more detail in the future videos.

For now, let’s just check the settings that I am using for the demo desktop shots and how to improve them in post using Lightroom or any equivalent application.

I have my shutter speed set to 1/250 which is the flash sync speed for the Nikon D850. The aperture is set to f/22 and ISO to 100 (I would take it down to 64 for the D850 most of the time). The AF is set to single point, multiple shots AF-C/S (this is another one we will look at in more detail later).

My flash it set to manual mode at 1/16 power and a zoom of 50mm. Yes, I know I am using a 90mm macro lens, but, we will get into all those details, one by one, later.

One word of caution before we start, when shooting desktop macros, make sure the object is clean otherwise the shot will show all the dust and stuff on it. If possible, wash with soap and water.

I have these 5 objects that we will shoot and see how changing the angle and distance of the flash changes the image.

#Photography #Nikon #Macro #Wildlife

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