Photo challenge: Close Up

This challenge is all about being close to your subject and fill the frame with it

A couple of years ago when I first got interested in close up (and macro) photography, I always used the largest aperture possible to get the shallowest depth of field (blurry backgrounds). However, that also meant that only a small part of my subject was in focus, which was very frustrating. In this challenge I have expermimented with smaller apertures to extend the focus over the whole subject and still keep the background blurry.

Close up should not be confused with macro. They are similar but not the same. Close up is basically when you take a photo of a butterfly and let the butterfly fill up most of the frame. Macro is when you take a photo of the eye of the butterfly. See the difference? In close up you capture your subject as a whole or larger parts of it. With macro you capture only a very small part of your subject.

Here are some of my images from the challenge. I wrote down the settings I used for each image if you want to try it out yourself. I found that f/7.1 quickly became my favourite apeture for this purpose.

Leaf with raindrops
Canon EOS 6D + Sigma 50mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro
@ 50mm • 1/40 • f/4 • ISO 800
Leaf with a raindrop
Canon EOS 6D + Sigma 50mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro
@ 50mm • 1/25 • f/7.1 • ISO 800
Green leaves with raindrops
Canon EOS 6D + Sigma 50mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro
@ 50mm • 1/60 • f/7.1 • ISO 800
Purple coral
Canon EOS 6D + Sigma 50mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro
@ 50mm • 1/400 • f/6.3 • ISO 800
Butterfly on a yellow flower
Canon EOS 6D + Sigma 50mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro
@ 50mm • 1/250 • f/7.1 • ISO 800

Small vs. lagre aperture

It’s true that large apertures result in a blurry background but it’s not the only thing. The focal length and the distance to your subject also have an impact. The closer you are to your subject, the blurrier the backgorund will be. This means that if you are taking close up/macro shots, you can get away with using a smaller aperture to get you subject in focus and still get a blurry background.

Just to show you the impact of using a smaller aperture when shooting close up (in comparison of using a larger aperture), I have provide you with two comparing images.

Aperture comparison f/7.1
50mm @ f/7.1
Aperture comparison f/2.8
50mm @ f/2.8

The first one is taken with f/2.8 and the other with f/7.1. As you can see in the second image the transition between the sharp and unsharp parts is smoother and more of the subject is in focus. The background has a nice blur in both images. If you want to know more about the apeture and depth of field, I have wirtten a whole post on the topic.

This post is a response to the post “Photo challenge: close up” by Daily post.

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