Shooting for Success: Closing In

Daring Lady Bug
The Daring Lady Bug. Copyright Timothy Reynolds.

For me, a close-up image is one where the subject is everything and the overall setting is nothing. It’s all in the details.

Close-up photographers see things that most people would walk right past. Whether it’s the perfect green grapes in the flat grey light of a cloudy damp day in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, purple irises in the sun at Lake Louise, a daring lady bug gingerly scaling a Scottish thistle or a set-up image with an Ontario maple leaf brought to Alberta and posed on the frosty ice of the freshly frozen Lake Louise.

These images all have quite a bit in common. The images were all shot using tripods, they were all shot using shallow depth of field (f 4.5 – 5.6) and they were all shot in natural light.

Grapes at Greymonk Winery
Young wine on the vine. Copyright Timothy Reynolds.

They were also all cropped tightly, in camera, for the most part, to better draw attention to the subject of the image.

The lens used for the grapes and the leaf on ice was a Canon EF 28-80mm zoom at 80. A Canon EF 100-300mm zoom at 200 was used for the flower and the thistle. The camera was either a Canon EOS 10S or a Canon EOS A2E.

I find that one technique which works well to make images stand out is to use contrasts.

  • The purple flower against the predominantly green background (with the touch of purple and yellow out of focus).
  • The round smooth lines of the ladybug against the sharpness of the thistle as well as the red ladybug against the greens of the thistle.
  • The roundness of the green grapes against the sharper edges of the green leaves.
  • The orange and black of the maple leaf against the nearly colourless ice.
Purple Irises. Copyright Timothy Reynolds.

These are the details people often walk past without noticing, but which we photographers love to capture.

So, go out and find the details, and have fun capturing it all.

Ciao for now,


All Images Copyright 2010 Tim Reynolds.

Ontario Leaf on Alberta Ice
Ontario Leaf on Alberta Ice. Copyright Timothy Reynolds.

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