- My "macro studio" is two pieces of white foam-core posterboard (I like the foam-core since it's not so flimsy), plus two cheap desklamps. I move the lamps around a lot, to avoid glare or make shadows or whatever.
- I use my tripod whenever possible, along with the timer function of my camera (I can set it to two seconds, so the wait is short), which means my camera will be completely still when the picture snaps. Sometimes I want to get in spots where my tripod won't work, so I have to shoot handheld (I really need a beanbag or monopod to help with this!).
- I manually set my camera's white balance to Tungsten (because getting a pure white is the most important thing to me), and I actually over-expose by "two notches" (that's my technical photography term) to really make the white glow.
- Obviously, I set the camera to macro mode so it will know to focus so close, and turn off my flash, since the desklamps can handle the job (and using flash close-up makes for terrible photos!).
- I also use my camera's "vivid" mode to make the colors really intense. I'm not actually sure what vivid mode does, but I love the results!
Macro secrets revealed
If you've had a look at my Flickr photos, then you know that I'm obsessed with taking pictures of my toys, PEZ dispensers, Japanese snacks, and of course, Disney collectibles! It's so much fun to have nice photos of cool things, so I've done lots of experimenting to find a style that I like. I was first inspired by Paul Watson's On White photo set, so I started asking my photography pals (Barron and Matt) for tips on how to achieve the effect I wanted. Getting my Canon SD400 was a big help, since its macro capability is astounding - it also has lots of settings that I figured out by trial and error. My goal is to get nice sharp close-ups of my stuff (sometimes with cool shallow depth of field effects), along with a nice "blinding white" background, hopefully with no Photoshop editing at all, and I've been really happy with the results! So, in case you're wondering, here's my simple method: