How to photograph details by Blue Photo
As a newborn, maternity, and portrait photographer, it's important for me to take in the small details, the little differences and the quirks in everyday life. When I'm behind the camera I always consider the details that could enhance the shot, for example focusing on the tiny wrinkles of a newborn's hands, choosing props that add details that will enhance the results such as an artificial flower as a background. When it comes to weddings, it’s capturing those small beautiful details like a wedding dress hung on a door, ring boxes, floral arrangements, flower walls, invitations, keepsakes. These can produce beautiful mementos of your special day that many people don’t even realise they want but are so delighted you as a professional taking the time to seek out and shoot.
Finding the right light
Wouldn’t it be great if the natural light outside was perfect for capturing the details? It's hard to compete with the beauty of natural lighting for capturing people and nature at its best. Shooting outdoors in the early morning or in the last light of the evening will give your photography a completely different atmosphere compared to shooting mid-afternoon. However, lighting outside is often far from perfect due to changeable conditions, so you may find you need to bring in either artificial light or a reflector to help get the images that really capture the details of a flower, or portraying subject. Even though, I love to portray my clients outside!
When photographing as part of my studio set, I find that any objects against a simple light, and background work well and brings out the colours and natural beauty. This can then be enhanced with colour co-ordinating props/fabrics (e.g. artificial flowers) and using a narrow depth of field can bring out the details. Especially during newborn and maternity sessions, I like to use natural or artificial flowers as a prop.
If you do need the assistance of artificial lighting, it is a good idea to try out different flash settings to determine what works best, but be aware that a direct flash will deliver results that are too harsh and lose those all-important unique details that can make photography special. To avoid this, I would recommend doing one of two things: bouncing the light off other objects or using a flash diffuser. Choosing a soft artificial light can make all the difference to your work.
With regards to the lens, if you are using a DSLR camera with a changeable lens, one of the best buys for photographing details must be a macro lens. There are many available from different camera manufacturers that all have unique advantages and perhaps come in different focal lengths, for example, 60 mm, 80 mm, 100 mm. I would strongly advise you to do some research before purchasing a macro lens to make sure the one you pick meets your photography requirements. Choosing a shor
ter focal length means you will need to be closer to the subject so it’s worth considering what distance you are likely to want to shoot from.
If you do not own a DSLR camera you are limited to the lens on your point and shoot camera or phone. It is worth noting many of these do incorporate a macro mode which allows you to focus a little closer and gives a wider aperture to create a shallow depth of field that will allow you to create some pleasing quality in the moment shots.
The article was created in cooperation with Gabriela who runs Blue Photo - maternity, newborn, and portrait photography in London, specialised in natural and timeless photography.