Using patterns in close-up photography
While you can literally start with any object, anywhere, it’s useful to know what to look for.
Close-up photography is located in an interesting place, on the border between casual photography and more artistic styles. It can swing in either direction, and good macro photos often have elements of both.
The simplest kind of photography is the casual snap, which is a semi-random point of view scene. It’s not until a photographer deliberately decides on what’s in a frame that photography starts to acquire some of its mysterious appeal.
The rules of composition are surprisingly simple and easy to follow. One of the simplest is to divide the frame into thirds.
Putting significant elements on thirds, such as the horizon line in a landscape, doesn’t just create better photos, it also garners a more artistic approach to photography.
Using the Rule of Thirds is one of the first steps in thinking about composition in a more abstract way.
Objects become less important, and the shapes, curves and lines they make in the frame matter more.
The photo composition will work if a line on a third is a horizon, the edge of a laptop, or a lamp post – as long as there’s a third for the eye to follow, the composition should work well and abstract forms will start to appear.
Another rule is to use groups of similar things. This works best if there’s some visual relationship between them. If they’re arranged completely randomly, the composition will look cluttered.
But if a viewer can see lines or curves in the repetitions, they’ll find the photo more enjoyable to look at.
A third rule is to use strong, broad areas of colour. This is more of an optional extra for colour work. The first two rules will get you a long way without using colour at all.
But if a photo uses colour, it seems to be most enjoyable to look at when it’s uncomplicated, and there’s a lot of it.
Black-and-white photography uses a similar rule where interesting textures take the place of colour.
Most black-and-white photos have much crisper and more exaggerated textures, and much stronger shadows when compared to colour photographs.
Finally, there’s the geometry of the composition. Look for strong curves and lines to tie everything together. Better still, try to make the geometry lead a viewer into the image.
Good photos will have some of these elements; better photos will have all of them – all it takes is practice.
PAGE 1: First steps in close-up photography
PAGE 2: Using patterns in close-up photography
PAGE 3: How to make an interesting photo with anything
PAGE 4: How to disguise objects’ identities when close-up
PAGE 5: Close-up photography using food
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