Ideas for indoor macro/closeup photography ideas without fancy gear

junkyardsparkle

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Desiccated leaf in the back yard yesterday.
With the question of spelling resolved, should we start a "Show desiccated" thread? :D
I'm also going to make a reflector with kitchen foil as someone recommended.
You'll probably want to give the foil an "orange peel" texture to make the reflection more diffuse... you can do this by setting it shiny-side-down on some appropriately textured surface and rubbing it (with your hand inside a sock or some other cloth to reduce friction). 80-grit sandpaper is perfect, but otherwise a stucco wall or some rough weathered wood or... whatever you have available.
 

WaltP

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Truly, almost anything can be a diffuser or a gobo. A sheet of white paper on a piece of cardboard is the "white reflector" version of the aluminum foil. do one on each side for the silver/white effect (or pay $99.95 for the 'professional' version). And anything that doesn't reflect much light can be stuck between the light and wherever you don't want it. Other common diffusers are: white shirts, white sheets, facial tissues (double them over), or.. the CORONAVIRUS SPECIAL ... toilet paper!!! (also doubled or tripled as desired).

A simple project is to make a tiny v-flat. Add a bit of velcro to that reflector, make a second, and have a tiny standing v-flat that can reflect and block light from the lens at the same time!! I should get up and make some more (you always need just one more).
 

susannemcom

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I hope that Nissin strobe also does manual, and that it goes low enough in power to make your life easier. Otherwise ND filters (on camera or flash) can reduce that light to useable levels.
Sadly I haven't managed to make it work off-camera on anything else than TTL/remote. I've found I can set the flash power on the camera and haven't had any problems yet with too much power, rather the opposite. But I'll remember the ND filter trick in case I need it.
I'm a total beginner with flash photography at least off-camera, and I don't know the theory behind why it sometimes doesn't fire, what really makes it use more or less power, or why the image sometimes goes black when it fires, and other things. I have a document from my camera club that is good enough and there I understood that the aperture would manage the flash power, and the shutter speed would manage the ambient light, and there's also good info about different types of light there. This document is what I have so far that has been any good. I wish there was any tutorials about flash photography for dummies. Everything I've seen so far has been too advanced or at least using terminology that I don't understand.

Truly, almost anything can be a diffuser or a gobo. A sheet of white paper on a piece of cardboard is the "white reflector" version of the aluminum foil. do one on each side for the silver/white effect (or pay $99.95 for the 'professional' version). And anything that doesn't reflect much light can be stuck between the light and wherever you don't want it. Other common diffusers are: white shirts, white sheets, facial tissues (double them over), or.. the CORONAVIRUS SPECIAL ... toilet paper!!! (also doubled or tripled as desired).

A simple project is to make a tiny v-flat. Add a bit of velcro to that reflector, make a second, and have a tiny standing v-flat that can reflect and block light from the lens at the same time!! I should get up and make some more (you always need just one more).
You'll probably want to give the foil an "orange peel" texture to make the reflection more diffuse... you can do this by setting it shiny-side-down on some appropriately textured surface and rubbing it (with your hand inside a sock or some other cloth to reduce friction). 80-grit sandpaper is perfect, but otherwise a stucco wall or some rough weathered wood or... whatever you have available.
Aah so that's why it didn't work so well :( I'll definitely try that.
A white sheet on the wall worked quite well as reflector but I'll need that sheet as background. Now I'm impatiently waiting for my light to be recharged. In the meantime I could fiddle with that.. or try to build a softbox.
I've taken this so far but will start testing some macros when my light works again.

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ThereAndBackAgain

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Simply gorgeous!!! I like it with a little more left cropped out, but either way it is beautiful!!

I hope that Nissin strobe also does manual, and that it goes low enough in power to make your life easier. Otherwise ND filters (on camera or flash) can reduce that light to useable levels.
Layers of tissues reduce flash power pretty well, too.
 

junkyardsparkle

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or why the image sometimes goes black when it fires, and other things
It's possible that your camera will let you sync at fairly fast shutter speeds with the Olympus flash mounted, but if you're using that flash to trigger another one, you may need to keep shutter speeds a little longer, maybe 1/80s or so... you'll have to experiment. Most flashes that work as optical slaves have something like the two standard S1/S2 modes. S1 is for triggering with a single pulse from a manually set on-camera flash, S2 is for ignoring the "pre-flash" from a TTL on-camera flash... and then there are the optical TTL modes which are proprietary for each brand and involve arcane black magic... :rolleyes:

If you haven't already, you might want to check out the Strobist Lighting 101 stuff, it's classic by now.
 

ralf-11

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any light will work - LEDs won't heat the subject

a flashlight is $5 - and needed around the home anyway (did I read you OP correctly??)

softboxes can be made by putting a milk jug or any translucent plastic or wax paper etc. in front of the lights

Focus your nice Oly 60mm by moving it and/or the subject back and forth - use MF for close things
 

susannemcom

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any light will work - LEDs won't heat the subject

a flashlight is $5 - and needed around the home anyway (did I read you OP correctly??)

softboxes can be made by putting a milk jug or any translucent plastic or wax paper etc. in front of the lights

Focus your nice Oly 60mm by moving it and/or the subject back and forth - use MF for close things
Hi Ralf

My husband dug out a work light but it's rechargeable and he doesn't know where the charger is :( It worked like a charm until it died some hour later, now I've ordered a sort of desktop work light online that should arrive later this coming week.
I'm already using MF - but don't get good results with it. It seems to work with faster shutter speeds so the problem seems to be the tripod more than anything else.
Milk jugs could be something - thanks for that!
 
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Bushboy

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It Is as simple, or complicated as you make it...
My cam came with a tiny accessory flash that works beautifully for close up pics. 1. Select the aperture value for the required depth of field. 2. Select manual flash, dial in the power output, take pic, inspect pic, if needed, half or double, the power output for next pic. So easy!
I bought a beautiful tripod 2nd hand, online, for small change.
:)
 
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JNB

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I'm already using MF - but don't get good results with it. It seems to work with faster shutter speeds so the problem seems to be the tripod more than anything else.
Hmmm. Missed focus and motion blur usually look different. I use manual focus most often, and have dedicated a button to toggle focus magnification, which works better for me than focus peaking. With regards to motion blur, it would have to be a really crappy tripod if it's causing blur indoors, and you're using a remote shutter release (if I recall, you said you used the cell-phone app to trigger?). If I'm mistaken about that, then use the app, use a remote release, or use the self timer. There is also a possibility you're experiencing "shutter shock" at certain, slower shutter speeds. Now, some recommend turning IBIS OFF for tripod shots, but I haven't found it to affect my shots. Some recommend shooting in "silent" mode to eliminate the possibility of shutter shock. I typically use single shot with "anti-shock" (shows with a diamond in the Super Control Panel). In the menus, I have anti-shock set to 0 (seconds). I'm using an E-M5ii, so I don't know if there are differences in the menus, SCP, etc. And others may have suggestions about what works well for them.
 

WaltP

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Sadly I haven't managed to make it work off-camera on anything else than TTL/remote. I've found I can set the flash power on the camera and haven't had any problems yet with too much power, rather the opposite. But I'll remember the ND filter trick in case I need it.
I'm a total beginner with flash photography at least off-camera, and I don't know the theory behind why it sometimes doesn't fire, what really makes it use more or less power, or why the image sometimes goes black when it fires, and other things. I have a document from my camera club that is good enough and there I understood that the aperture would manage the flash power, and the shutter speed would manage the ambient light, and there's also good info about different types of light there. This document is what I have so far that has been any good. I wish there was any tutorials about flash photography for dummies. Everything I've seen so far has been too advanced or at least using terminology that I don't understand.





Aah so that's why it didn't work so well :( I'll definitely try that.
A white sheet on the wall worked quite well as reflector but I'll need that sheet as background. Now I'm impatiently waiting for my light to be recharged. In the meantime I could fiddle with that.. or try to build a softbox.
I've taken this so far but will start testing some macros when my light works again.

View attachment 812350
Lovely image!! Is that your iPad?
 

Richard_M

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@susannemcom, have you managed to sort out the auto focus issue with your 60mm macro?

As mentioned previously, I use auto focus all the time with the Olympus and rarely have an issue for small subjects, other than when there is a busy background and it gets confused what to focus on.

An Example: Elbow Orchid

These orchids are tiny. I used auto focus on the flower on the right. This is a focus stack image hence why there is so much of the plant in focus.

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Here is a snap of a flower in front of an Australian 5c coin. These coins are roughly the same size as a US dime. This was taken using AF.

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susannemcom

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Hmmm. Missed focus and motion blur usually look different.
You're right. I'm not always sure about what is missed focus and what is motion blur, at least if the (supposed) motion blur is very subtle. But now you're reminding me that most people advice on disabling image stabilisation when using a tripod. I should try that - and use magnification more too.
I've also been wondering if it really can be tripod instability. When it comes to motion blur, it shouldn't be because of the tripod as long as I use the app as remote shutter. When it comes to missed focus, it most certainly is a problem with the tripod (or likely myself) because I easily get the focus out of place when I release the camera after setting the focus (when there are very small subjects).
I reset my settings recently - will check the anti-shock settings. I know Robin Wong mentioned those in one of his videos. Thanks for the reminders.
However, I now have good lights (my husband found the charger, plus I ordered another one online) and should be able to use decent shutter speeds also inside.

Lovely image!! Is that your iPad?
Thank you! Yes, that's my iPad! Very convenient 😜

@Richard_M I've always found the autofocus very slow on this lens, and often inaccurate. But it's likely because I'm often out in the garden with it and the background is busy with leaves and whatnot. I suppose I just need to practise more to learn to handle it. I much prefer the MF but sometimes I use AF+MF (which I use most of the time with other lenses). I think the AF mostly works with single subjects on plain backgrounds (like the forks above, and I tried coins)

I do need to fiddle around more with this lens to learn what works best. I've used it a lot but haven't worked much of analysing these things. It really is one of my best lenses. I sometimes take it out for landscape shots too, because the sharpness is incredible.
 

susannemcom

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@susannemcom, are you using the latest firmware?

I have IBIS on 100% of the time with the 60mm macro lens.
Latest firmware on the camera? (saw hints that there is firmware for lenses too) Yes, I do.
With IBIS do you mean image stabilisation?
 

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