9 creative photo ideas to try in March

9 creative photo ideas to try in March 2014

As part of our ongoing series to help you get more creative with your digital camera, each month we publish some fun, seasonal, creative photo ideas to help inspire your imagination. Along with some amazing images, we’ve also provided some quick photography tips by both amateur and professional photographers who are experts in these fields.

This month we kick off March with a slew of fun projects like using ring flash with portraits, multiple exposure landscapes, vertical panoramas, reinvigorating old slides and focus stacking macro still life photography, among many other fun and creative photography projects that are perfect for this time of year.

On each page you’ll find a stunning image and an explanation from the photographer on how it was made.

If you attempt any of these photo ideas, don’t forget to share them on our Facebook wall!

Creative Photo Ideas for March: 01 Shoot a dewdrop flower refraction

9 creative photo ideas to try in March 2014

This is one of those shots that many macro photographers attempt, but few master. But with the right conditions and some essential kit, beautiful refraction images are within everyone’s reach.

“You need a minimum of a 1:1 macro lens with a set of extension tubes so you are shooting at 2:1 magnification or higher plus a flash set up,” says retired PhD microbiologist and celebrated macro photographer Brian Valentine.

SEE MORE: What is a macro lens – magnification and minimum focus distance explained

To achieve this sort of magnification, 68mm of extension tubes fitted to a 100mm macro lens should do the trick.

“Shoot in Manual with exposure settings of around 1/200 sec at f/8-f/11, ISO somewhere between 100 and 400,” Brian continues, “and place the flower around one flower diameter behind the drops.”

For instance, if you’re shooting a daisy that’s 2cm in diameter, the optimum position is around 2cm from the dewdrops. Check the position through the viewfinder; if you need to adjust it, remember that the flower is upside-down in the dewdrop.

If you want both the droplets and the refracted flower to be in focus, you’ll need to use focus stacking.

This involves taking several pictures, nudging the camera backwards and forwards between each frame to cover all the points that you want to appear sharply focused.

“Shooting a sequence to get a good focus stack is the hardest part,” admits Brian.

You’ll need to use software such as CombineZ to merge the images together.

SEE MORE: Focus stacking – how to extend depth of field when shooting close up

Get started today…
* Get up early for the best dewdrops.
* Shoot handheld, with the lens supported low to the ground. A beanbag can help here to steady the camera, but a tripod is too cumbersome for this project.
* Use a rubber car mat for kneeling on grass.
* Focus manually – use the magnification feature of your camera’s Live View mode to precisely position the focus point.
* Use the flash in its automatic TTL mode, ideally held off-camera on a flash bracket.
* When shooting focus stack frames, you’ll only need to move the camera slightly backwards and forwards to cover all the focal points.
* Try replacing the flower with other items, such as images of film characters and logos.

Creative Photo Ideas for March: 01 Shoot a dewdrop flower refraction
Creative Photo Ideas for March: 02 Shoot portraits with props
Creative Photo Ideas for March: 03 Shoot outdoor art
Creative Photo Ideas for March: 04 Give slides a new lease on life
Creative Photo Ideas for March: 05 Shoot with a ring flash
Creative Photo Ideas for March: 06 Use the Orton Effect
Creative Photo Ideas for March: 07 Shoot a rainbow
Creative Photo Ideas for March: 08 Shoot a multiple exposure landscape
Creative Photo Ideas for March: 09 Shoot a vertical panorama


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