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As always projecteducate is ever evolving and developing new ways to allow Deviants to get involved whilst not having to tackle the (sometimes daunting!) task of writing a full length article, or taking on a whole seven days of Education! Therefore the Handy Hints & Tips Blog Series has begun!

What's the Idea?
Some of us love reading long articles, but many of us prefer to be able to read something short, concise and to the point perhaps including an image to illustrate the point - but nothing more. So the idea is that members of the Community Volunteer team and of the wider deviantART Community (YOU!) can start blogging a handy hint or tip related to Art or deviantART, via our blog.

How can I get involved?
All you need to do is note the projecteducate group with your Hint or Tip! This is so that we can be sure we don't have any double-posting going on and we'll always work with you to adapt your idea if someone else has proposed it already. Once you and the team are happy with everything, we'll invite you into the group as a contributor, help you access the journal skin and you can go ahead and post! It's that simple. :)

What about normal Project Educate Weeks?
These won't be affected at all. We'll encourage everyone to look at the projecteducate Schedule before posting their blog to ensure they don't post in the middle of someone's week! Alternatively though, if your 'Hint or Tip' is relevant to an upcoming PE week then why not wait and negotiate a slot in the schedule to post it then?! If you need an idea of how it might work, check out the example below!

What does the ø symbol on my lens mean?
After the focal and aperture ranges, the other measurement you'll see on most dSLR lenses is preceded by ø and describes the diameter of the screw mount on the front of lens barrel. Check this number each time you head out to buy a filter or hood as you can't guarantee that it will be the same for each lens in your collection, even if they are all designed to be used on the same camera.
Sonyhandytips by Kaz-D
Image Source:

Conceptual Creations

Mon Apr 7, 2014, 9:00 AM by Kaz-D:iconkaz-d:

This month there have been some incredibly inspiring Conceptual Photography works uploaded into the gallery here on deviantART. Here's just a small selection of the awesome pieces that can be found.. don't forget to show the artist some love and :+fav: this article too!
Sound of Silent by DigitalDistress

The thinker by Hidanna

in a land of glass by Nilanja

no tittle selfportrait by davidvelezfotografia

Bus Stop by oO-Rein-Oo

78/100 AND 10/52: FAIRIES by Foufinha

It's Spring in your veins by Wnison

I See Through You by reylia

A cold resurrection by iNeedChemicalX

Consumer waste by moppaa

February 2014 DD Roundups

Sat Mar 29, 2014, 12:57 AM

Macro Photography Week Roundup

Sun Mar 23, 2014, 1:01 PM

The Contest Winner! (Winning 500 deviantART points)

Macro selfie by Gallynette
By Gallynette

The Other Entries!

Untitled by IndigoSummerr
Blue Mirror by Windthin
Eye contest Eye by enzedgreen
20/31 by Purple20
Eye Project: Impaled (re-shoot) by ShineeDragon
Frozen by iAmoret

The Critiques!

A couple of deviants gave and requested critiques. If you have any feedback for the below works then please visit the deviation and give them some comments and critique!
Fragments of Color - Pile of D20s by HowManyDragons
White Petals by splash-light

The Blogs

This week with the incredible help of MarcosRodriguez - we've bought you lots of articles and interviews focusing on Macro. We've given you the basics to get started and if you have any further questions please drop them on this article and we'll do our best to help you!
:bulletblack:The Intro
:bulletblack:The Equipment
:bulletblack:What is Macro?
:bulletblack:An Interview with ColinHuttonPhoto
:bulletblack:An Interview with Marcos
:bulletblack:Ten Macro Photography Tips
:bulletblack:Macro Human
:bulletblack:Shooting Right in the Eye
:bulletblack:Macro Droplets
:bulletblack:Macro Groups
:bulletblack:Macro Objects
:bulletblack:An Interview with GrotesqueDarling13

Macro Photography - The Equipment

Sun Mar 23, 2014, 11:27 AM

Firstly, this article is intended as a guide and only provides the research from one singular person - Me! There is so much out there, you can Google until the cows come home but sometimes it's quite a puzzle trying to figure out what is what on the big old web. So this article is aimed at those starting out with Macro Photography, those on a budget and those who just like reading about Photography Equipment. As always do feel free to add your own experiences in the articles comments.

Your camera will be the most expensive piece of equipment when undertaking Macro Photography. A good lens is vital and an optical zoom of 10 - 12x is useful. There's not much point in getting a camera that lacks the ability to interchange lens's unless you can use an adaptor (but then we get a little more complicated and a lot more pricey.)

My Macro lens is a fairly simple, basic lens that most people laugh at when they see. Yet it does the trick. It may be small, but small, in this case, is best. It fools people into thinking that it's a Portrait Lens and actually for £149, it doubles up as both quite nicely. It has even been known to capture the odd landscape without completely ruining the photograph. But as a macro lens, it's what I need.  The below image was taken using it and as you can see, it has a nice sharp focus and a soft depth of field.

Day 15: Charmed Life by Kaz-D

I use my Macro lens for jewellery, still life, food, flowers and insects to name a few things. Therefore the spec of this particular lens is pretty good for what basic photographers might need. You're looking for something that fits the following...

"Light, compact macro lens ideal for photography of flowers, insects and other small subjects 1:1 magnification ratio with 2cm minimum focusing distance for extremely clear, life-size close-ups."

If you're unsure what you need, or you're looking to work with an adaptor because your camera does not allow lens changes, then pop over to Lensmate and use their comparison guides. It's worth noting, as they suggest, if you purchase an adaptor and the interior barrel is not black, consider painting it black. Silver interiors give washed out colours in images.

People + Portraits Exposed

Sun Mar 23, 2014, 11:00 AM by Kaz-D:iconkaz-d:

Since the People and Portrait Galleries on deviantART are so expansive and vast, I get a lot of Daily Deviation suggestions on an almost daily basis for just those sub-categories. Of course, 3wyl and I can't feature them all - so this is what this article is about. Every fortnight I try and choose a selection of the images that have been sent in and share them in a feature. This week the suggestions come courtesy of ejrotsih, Andaelentari, Mrs-Durden, xthumbtakx and ABipolarTeddyBear plus a couple of awesome pieces I found myself. Do keep the suggestions coming - send them via note to either myself or 3wyl.

As most of you know, 3wyl and I take care of most of the sub-categories of the People and Portrait Gallery for Photography. However there are a few specialist CVs to send some specific suggestions to! They all have recent articles which explore the areas they cover:

:bulletblack:Shadow Play from Nyx-Valentine who covers Artistic Nude and Fetish Photography.
:bulletblack:Fashion this Week from Pixel-Spotlight who covers Fashion Photography.
:bulletblack:Lush! from DistortedSmile who covers Pinup and Glamour Photography.
:bulletblack:Cosplay DDs from pullingcandy who covers Cosplay Photography.

lady noir. by ankooru

For The Times When You Feel Like You Own The World by arisV8

One By One by Vladimir-Serov

A. by RonnyEngelmann

raise it up by justashadowleft

Rift by charleshildreth

Matilde by Grooveinjector

An interview with Grotesquedarling13

Sat Mar 22, 2014, 11:00 AM

We are delighted to have carried out an interview with GrotesqueDarling13 who has been on deviantART for over six years and who has a varied Macro Photography gallery covering everything from objects to humans and insects.

.learning to c h a n g e as we grow. by GrotesqueDarling13

1) Firstly, tells us a bit about yourself and how you find yourself undertaking Photography. Is it a job? A hobby or a pleasant mixture of both?

Well, I first got into Photography back in 2005, when I got my first camera. Ever since then I haven't been without a camera. I do to it as job, but it is first and always a love & a strong passion at the end of the day. But yes, it is a bit of both.

2) Could you tell us a bit about your style as a Photographer and what led you to undertaking Macro Photography in particular?

I love to capture what I see, how I see it. I am all over the place when it comes to categories and subjects, my interests are very varied. Macro and the small details of life have always caught my eye, before I joined, I never thought I would be able to capture such photos. A lot of dA Photographers inspired me to try it out for myself. I am happy I did!!

Day 64 of 365 Project by GrotesqueDarling13

3) What equipment do you use in particular to capture Macro Photography and what would you recommend to somebody starting out?

I have a Sony dslr and I have to say getting this camera helped me to become more serious about Photography but also Macro because the Macro setting and quality were just wonderful, opening me to new worlds.

:bulletblack: Camera body - I highly suggest getting a dslr camera, and start from there. Because I found out that even though a camera can zoom up really close, it isn't capturing those tiny details that make that Macro so interesting and beautiful.

:bulletblack: Lens - Start with the kit lens, work from there. Get a Macro lens when you have learned your camera and know what you want to capture. And the more you progress and learn, you will be ready for the real deal.

:bulletblack: Tripod - I personally never use a tripod for my Macro. But if this is more comfortable for you, go for it because we are all different and things work differently for us all.

:bulletblack: Filters - I use & love Macro filters, colored Filters, etc. Anything to capture the subject the best and to enhance the photo in slight ways without over doing it.

:bulletblack: Flash - I use the flash when the situation calls for it. A lot of people seem to be against the flash all together. But for Macro gravity droplet work, it is a must for sharp & detailed shots!!

:bulletblack: Camera bag - A camera bag is a must if you have a lot to carry. If not, don't worry about it. You will get a bag when you get what you need to fill it. I see a lot of people getting a lot of camera stuff but they don't know what to do/take with it. Start small and work your way up. We all start somewhere, don't rush your journey because where other people are on theirs.

Nothing W i l l Stop Us by GrotesqueDarling13

4) What are the challenges of undertaking Macro Photography?

The biggest challenge is trying to take sharp photos and trying to stay patient as you try to capture and focus in on such small details. That is my case. I learn a lot each time I pick up my camera. I learn something new each day.

5) Do you find there are some subjects trickier than others to capture? For example how on earth do you manage to capture such crisp images of live creatures?

Yes, I so find that to be a true statement. And I would also agree that live creature captures are extremely hard but I love that, that is where the challenge comes for me and I can't wait to attempt to beat that challenge. I have learned to stalk them in a way, watching what little movements they make, so I can expect them more, so less blurry shots in the end.

The Cool Mixed With Warmth by GrotesqueDarling13

6) Are there any photographers on deviantART that you believe have inspiring Macro photography works?

Yes, there are many- but to name the select few that inspired me from the start with my Macro Photography, would be - MarcosRodriguez, pqphotography, and s-kmp

7) Would you recommend any groups on deviantART that help promote Macro Photography?

There are a few good groups left! My group is MarvelousMacro and is still quite active. Others include macro-addicts and MacrosOfNature.

8) If you could work alongside another artist, dead or alive, Photographer or otherwise - who would it be?

I would love to sit and write with Johnny Cash. I believe he was poet and his guitar was apart of his soul. I love to write, his music helps me to write. Simple but memorable!! That is how I approach a lot of my Photography subjects and also my writing.

C r e a t i n g Worlds Around You... by GrotesqueDarling13

9) Is there a piece of advice that you know now, which you didn't know when you started photography?

If you don't have passion for what you are doing, there is no reason to do it. Because even when I am tired and not thinking the best of my work, ya know the normal artist self doubt, my passion keeps me going, keeps me moving, keeps me inspired. So, in the end, I keep moving and growing, never letting anything stop me or my own personal growth as an artist and a Photographer. Passion pushes me with every shot I take, it is my fuel.

10) Who are your influences, Photographic or otherwise?

My influences are really everything. Light from the window, an old saying, the music in my ears, the blue hue of the sky, the dew drops on the grass, the sparkle in someones eye, a great movie, a loving friend, life as a whole. I can pull inspiration and beauty from the smallest things. I hold them in a specai place in my mind.

” If you don't have passion for what you are doing, there is no reason to do it.”

.w h e n you care to look. by GrotesqueDarling13

This blog will particularly help those hoping to take a Macro Eye photograph for this weeks mini contest! Hopefully the title caught your attention...anyway...Macro photography can be challenging at the best times. So it's even more difficult to photograph an eye (watery e.t.c) least of all your own. As photographers, most of us are obsessed with eyes. We endlessly try to capture eyes at their sharpest in portraiture photographs, so starting with the basics (just capturing the eye) can help us get to grips with the fundamentals of Eye photography. There are many photoshop actions and brushes out there designed to make the 'eyes' pop - but for now this tutorial will just focus on the basic tools - the camera.

Eye -. by BaselMahmoud

:bulletblack: You'll need a macro lens - or another means of obtaining 1:1 magnification of an object. You can use a close up filter (fairly cheap on Ebay), lens reverse ring or extension tube.

:bulletblack: Your light source needs to be continuous, but soft. If possible, use soft filtered sunlight. This is what I did for the image below (selfie, yes!) With the sunlight
off to the left, it filtered in nicely to highlight the colours. It was a little too strong, you can see the slight watering as I took forever to find the focus button!

Sometimes When You Fall - You Fly by Kaz-D

:bulletblack: Experiment with your angles, because as we know, the eyes are a great reflector. You can get all sorts of awkward shapes and objects, having a clear view in front of your subjects eye can help with making sure the shapes captured look as natural as possible. Above, I was staring out of a window, so the window gave a slight glaze on the eyeball.

:bulletblack: Low-light is most often, a no no. When the Iris is photographed in low light situations, the pupil expands which gives less of the lovely colour and more of a huge black circle.

:bulletblack: Using an aperture of (minimum) f/8 will give a great depth of field and capture all the detail needed. Keep the shutter speed fast to eliminate any blur by camera shake or blinking.

:bulletblack: Subtle editing afterwards in editing software such as Photoshop will help greatly. Reducing the clarity just a tiny bit helped hide the little flaws around the eyes in the image I took above. Upping the vibrancy a tiny bit brought out the green of the tree.

Reflective Eye by opticalsonnet
The Eye by Brookie7
Eye by limejellybean

MarcosRodriguez is a Photographer from Spain and has been on deviantART for over 5 years. His work focuses mainly on the Macro Photography Galleries and as well as being a keen Macro Photographer himself Marcos works hard on deviantART to feature other Macro Artists. He is the author of the Macro Spotlight which has reached it's 100th issue this year!

Self by MarcosRodriguez

1)Tell us a bit about yourself and how you find yourself undertaking Photography...

My name is Marcos Rodríguez, I come from the northwest of Spain, I live in the magical and beautiful Galicia. I started taking pictures as a hobby, as many of other deviants...when I got my first point and shoot camera for Christmas. That camera has shot more than 15000 pictures, and still it's my only hobby apart from deviantART of course. My interest for Macro photography started when I joined this site almost six years ago, I was amazed by those pictures that showed us common things that we usually don't pay attention to, from another fantastic point of view.  


2) Could you tell us a bit about your style as a Photographer and what led you to undertaking Macro Photography in particular?

Now I'm on a kind of break from photography, I got stuck some months ago, without ideas or inspiration, but it seems it slowly came back. I'm not sure I have a defined style yet, for macro I like my pictures to have a sharp and focused subject and a small DOF. I sometimes crop my pictures into a square and I like saturated colors instead of soft tones. Why do I like Macro Photography? Well, mainly because it allowed me to learn a lot of photography, because it forces you to shoot in manual mode, and that's the best way to understand for example what the f number is and how it affects your pictures or how to bounce and modify your flash to achieve the light you need... everything helped me to learn a bit of general Photography.

Hpider by MarcosRodriguez

3) What equipment do you use in particular to capture Macro Photography and what would you recommend to somebody starting out?

:bulletblack:Camera body - D600 and D3000    
:bulletblack:Lens - for Macro photography I have a Tamron 90 mm f2.8. I also use a Nikkor 24-70 f2.8 and a Nikkor 50mm 1.8.
:bulletblack:Tripod - Not yet
:bulletblack:Filters - Just a UV filter
:bulletblack:Flash - I use a Sigma EF-610 DG ST
:bulletblack:Camera bag - Lowepro Slingshot 200 AW, I also have the Deviantart camera bag! But my D600 with the 24-70 doesn't fit on it.

I sometimes use a DIY flash modifier made with an orange juice package with a bag of some kind of cloth as a diffuser. If someone would like to attempt Macro Photography, I would recomend them to start with a simple technique: the reversed lens. Any DSLR with a kit lens mounted reversed against the camera body is automatically a Macro camera.

4) What are the challenges of undertaking Macro Photography?

The biggest challenge for me is finding interesting subjects to take pictures, and to transmit to the viewer that "something" an image must have. Macro sometimes is full of cliche pictures, but it's a kind of photography that lets you be as original as your imagination wants. It's also challenging getting close to a wasp or any kind of dangerous bugs that can hurt you, and also playing with water and electronic equipment is quite dangerous, Specially for your camera.

"Macro sometimes is full of cliche pictures, but it's a kind of photography that lets you be as original as your imagination wants."

Do you find there are some subjects trickier than others to capture? For example how on earth do you manage to capture such crisp images of live creatures?

Yes, I admire those photographers that get so close to small creatures, imagine yourself sitting in your yard and suddenly a massive round and shiny lens appears in front of you, centimeters away from your face... you'd be also scared!! :D. So, yes I think that's pretty tricky. One of the most common creatures shot are the jumping spiders, because they are very curious and usually stare steady at your lens. Also the shots of drops splashes seem very tricky and usually you have to do a lot of pictures till you get "that shot".
My Eyes by MarcosRodriguez

6) Are there any photographers on deviantART that you believe have inspiring Macro photography works?

There are quite a few that I admire, any of the ones I've already featured in my Weekly Macro Spotlights like ColinHuttonPhoto, AlHabshi, Kara-a pqphotography, melvynyeo, BenjaminPuppel GrotesqueDarling13,.... and many, many others

7)Would you recommend any groups on deviantART that help promote Macro Photography?

There are quite a few good groups around the site: MacroPhotographers, MacrosWorld, Macro-Magic, Closeup-Photography, MarvelousMacro, Tiny-Worlds-Photo, True-Macro, Natural-Drops....

8) If you could work alongside another artist, dead or alive, Photographer or otherwise - who would it be?

Tough question... after all this time around deviantART I've made a lot of good friends which I would like to meet and to learn from!

9)Is there a piece of advice that you know now, which you didn't know when you started photography?

I think I have a lot to learn about photography yet, and that would be my advice to everyone starting in this world: read, learn from others, ask others and the most important thing, if you don't shoot you'll never get a good picture, but if you shoot 1000 pictures you'll probablyget at least one decent shot so practice is the key!!

10) Who are your influences, Photographic or otherwise?

I usually pay attention and try to learn and get inspiration from the works I find here so I must recognise that deviantART and the artists that I follow are my main influence, not only for photography, as I started out here doing crappy digital manipulations and such..

"read, learn from others, ask others and the most important thing, if you don't shoot you'll never get a good picture, but if you shoot 1000 pictures you'll probablyget at least one decent shot."

The One by MarcosRodriguez

Macro Photography: Nature

Wed Mar 19, 2014, 3:00 AM

There are a few sub-categories of Macro Photography here on deviantART and throughout this week MarcosRodriguez and myself will talk you through some of them. Firstly we’ll start with Macro –Nature, which is probably the most straightforward of the three and can be found here.

Don’t be afraid of categorising your work. It can quite likely fit into two categories particularly if it has a nature focus as we also have the Animals, Plants and Nature galleries. But if Macro as a technique was used to capture your image, then it’s probably best to slot it into a sub-gallery of Macro to get it the best exposure here on deviantART. Remember also that Community Volunteers won’t award Daily Deviation to clearly mis-categorized works. So it’s a benefit all round to get it in the right place to start with. Below are some examples of ‘Nature’ Macro Photography to give you an idea of what we’re looking for…

Can't Help Falling In Love Wit by augenweide

Platycryptus undatus by BenjaminPuppel

Heaven above by diensilver

A Necessary End by augenweide

Harvestman by melvynyeo

Vega by ChaoticMind75

Eye of a killer by SIM0N2

Scoliid Wasp (Campsomeriella Thoracica) by AlHabshi

With You Forever by John-Peter

An Interview with ColinHuttonPhoto

Tue Mar 18, 2014, 11:00 AM

We are honoured to share with an interview with ColinHuttonPhoto who has a breath-taking Macro Photography gallery here on deviantART. Colin is based in the United States and has only been on deviantART for just over a year. He has made a name for himself already having received one daily deviation and reached an extensive audience with his macro works. Read on to find out what inspires Colin and the equipment he uses…  

Cuckoo Wasp - Chrysis angolensis by ColinHuttonPhoto

1) Firstly, tells us a bit about yourself and how you find yourself undertaking Photography. Is it a job? A hobby or a pleasant mixture of both?

My educational and professional background are in ecology and conservation. I don't have any formal training in photography or entomology, but I love both fields. I've always enjoyed chasing after insects, reptiles, and amphibians, but I didn't actually start photographing them until I got a point and shoot in college. Several years later I bought a DSLR and a macro lens and became hooked on photography. I just recently finished graduate school and now I'm trying to turn my photography obsession into a career.

Planthopper by ColinHuttonPhoto

2) Could you tell us a bit about your style as a Photographer and what led you to undertaking Macro Photography in particular?

I like to get up close with my subjects. I do a lot of portraits and usually try to have the insect fill the frame. One of the main reasons I'm drawn to insects is that they often look very different up close so I aim for very sharp, clear images that capture the true appearance of these creatures. Soft, even lighting and blurry, non-distracting backgrounds also help achieve this effect.

3) What equipment do you use in particular to capture Macro Photography and what would you recommend to somebody starting out?

Camera body - I use a Canon 7D, but the body isn't really that important. If it feels good in your hands then it should be fine. If you shoot a lot with live view then you may want one with an articulating screen. I If you plan to shoot at magnifications higher than 1:1, I would recommend going with a Canon body. This suggestion has nothing to do with any opinions on quality, just that you will be able to use the Canon MP-E lens.

Lens - Something in the 100 - 200mm range (I use a Sigma 150mm) and the Canon MP-E. A wide angle lens with a high native magnification is also good if you want to do wide angle macro shots.

Tripod - Go for one that doesn't weigh too much and can go level to the ground because a lot of macro shots will be taken from a very low angle. I use have a Manfrotto 190cx

Flash - Twin lights are great, but you can also get good light from speedlites for a lot less money. Either way, the lights will need to be diffused. Proper diffusion is the key to soft lighting. I have several speedlites and the Canon twin light.

Camera bag - I like Clik Elite bag, but I've never used anything else so I don't know how it compares to other bags.

”I think insects are amazing and beautiful, but most people don't realize this unless they get the chance to see what these creatures really look like up close.”

4) What are the challenges of undertaking Macro Photography?

It depends on how long you've been shooting. At first, just focusing can be tricky because the depth of field is so shallow. Getting sharp images is more difficult with macro as well. You have to learn about insect behavior and master your approach so that you don't startle them. Currently, my biggest challenge is finding new species of insects to photograph.

Leafhopper from Colombia by ColinHuttonPhoto Caterpillar from Colombia by ColinHuttonPhoto

5) Do you find there are some subjects trickier than others to capture? For example how on earth do you manage to capture such crisp images of live creatures?

Subjects that fly are usually more difficult to photograph. I find that wasps in particular are very skittish, even in the early morning when other insects are very calm. Smaller insects are usually more challenging as well because they require higher magnifications which makes focusing and tracking that much more difficult.

Sleeping Bee by ColinHuttonPhoto

6) Would you recommend any groups on deviantART that help promote Macro Photography?

Yes, quite a few. Tiny-Worlds-Photo, Raw-Nature, BugZoo, MarvelousMacro, MacroPhotographers are a few, but there are many groups that focus on nature and macro photos. Others, such as devPREMIUM showcase a variety of photography genres, but they have a special macro spotlight feature each week.

Peacock Katydid by ColinHuttonPhoto

7) If you could work alongside another artist, dead or alive, Photographer or otherwise - who would it be?

I honestly have no idea. I think I would much rather work alongside an entomologist so that I could learn more about the creatures that I'm photographing.

8) Is there a piece of advice that you know now, which you didn't know when you started photography?

Yes, that would include pretty much everything that I know now because I didn't really know much at all when I was starting out. There's enough information to write a book, but I'll just pick one thing: don't stress too much about picking the perfect gear. Beginners, myself included, worry a lot about buying the 'best' camera body and lens for macro, but pretty much every macro lens is sharp and will produce great results, and as long as you can attach a lens to it, the camera body should be fine as well.

Panacea prola by ColinHuttonPhoto

9) Who are your influences, Photographic or otherwise?

When I was starting out my biggest influences were Igor Siwanowicz, John Kimbler, and Thomas Shahan. Now that I've been at it for a few years and been exposed to numerous other talented artists, there are just too many to name.

Anole by ColinHuttonPhoto

Ten Macro Photography Tips

Tue Mar 18, 2014, 3:00 AM
Macro photography is photography magnified. It is generally recognized as “macro” when you are increasing the size of an object in your picture from about half life-size, as represented on the image sensor, to five times life-size. Here are some top tips for capturing great Macro Photography. If you have any to add please leave them in the comments below the article!

1) Lens choice...

Many lens choices have that very tempting 'Macro setting' on them which supposedly allows your camera to magically transform itself into the ability to be a complete perfect macro lens. It works sometimes! Depending on your camera. However if you want to capture true Macro photography then you need a true Macro Lens. What Digital Camera? gives readers some advice on which lens to choose and Techradar have compared 8 macro lens to give the best results.

Lens by Altingfest

2)  Using Aperture...

Selecting a small aperture gives you the best depth of field result. An aperture such as f/16 or f/22 will help with this. However there are pros and cons to using different apertures and rather than re-generate an awesome article that's already out there I would recommend that you read Digital Camera World's best camera settings for Macro Photography.

3) Get help!

Not that kind of help. But have you ever tried photographing something and it's just not in the right place? Consider getting an extra pair of hands in the form of a wedge, clamp or some kind of hook in order to suspend the subject that you are trying to grab Macro captures of. Fishing wire is fantastic if you don't want it to be seen.

week51: Merry Christmas by cloe-patra

4) Focus

It's important that you focus on your subject as much as you allow your camera to focus too! There are simple in-camera settings to change the focal points (those small dots that your camera picks out the central focus with) to ensure that you are getting the best kind of focus within your image.

Focus by Ebrahim-des

5) Think Background

Think carefully about the background you are choosing to use when shooting up close. This applies to all sorts of photography, in particular still life. But with Macro it's important that your background compliments or works nicely with your topic. Windows are often a great source of light and colour. If you're lucky you can get a great bokeh effect as shown below as well.

Warm Your Bones by ClaireWeller

6) Source your subjects...

Macro doesn't have to be about just insects and wildlife. You can take Macro photographs in your own home using everyday things such as different foods, spices or objects. You don't have to wait for an awesome butterfly to come your way, or that amazing spider pose to land in your lap (who wants that anyway! :fear:)

7) Invest in water!

Water is such a free and simple tool to use to enhance your Photography. Consider utilising it to bring out the definition in leaves, to create beautiful reflections or even to give the 'fake' rain effect. Invest in a cheap 'spray' bottle that you can use to create the effect of a fine mist or hard raindrops. You won't regret the results.

A Time for Magic by MyLifeThroughTheLens

8) Stabilise

You don't necessarily need to use a tripod or a monopod, sometimes they help. But there are other ways to stabilise your camera, I often find my dog provides quite a good leaning post! You could use a beanbag  type tripod, or a gorilla tripod which allows you to wrap the camera around a tree/bridge/shelf e.t.c. Use your own body and practice keeping as calm and as still as possible to minimise blur.

a calm moment by leelloor

9) Flash

Most of the tips shared in this article can be utilised whether you have a compact camera or a D-SLR. Artificial light in photography is important, however it can be difficult to manipulate the flash with a compact camera as they don't give you much control. Use natural light as much as possible and diffuse light if needed by using tissue paper or sellotape over the flash area.

Little diamond. by dragonfly-oli

10)Remote Release

The final tip, but also one of the most useful. Investing in a simple shutter release set up will allow you to be away from your camera whilst taking a shot. This can help with several things include stabilization of the image and with that extra pair of hands that was mentioned back in tip 3. You can hold, arrange and manipulate your shot a lot better if your hands are free from the camera.

For more inspiration and some great ideas, check out the Macro Photography Gallery here on deviantART. There are also some great deviants to follow including dragonfly-oli and MarcosRodriguez for starters!

Macro Mini Contest + Critiques!

Mon Mar 17, 2014, 6:00 AM

Macro Week Begins!

This week we've got lots going on to get you interested in Macro Photography, or help you if you've hit a stumbling block. Your week will focus purely on Macro Photography and if at anytime this week you have any questions, just note projecteducate and we'll try and help! Below is a bit more information about the Contest and Critique sessions with the chance to win points on both occasions to spend in the deviantART print store! Your hosts this week are 3wyl, Kaz-D and MarcosRodriguez.

Macro Photography Mini Contest

As part of the Macro Photography projecteducate week on deviantART, we're encouraging you to take part in a mini contest! You'll see lots of tips and tutorials about Macro Photography this coming week which will help you with the contest if you're a little stuck about where to start. Read on for more details of how to take part...

I see you by ruloso

The Theme

The theme is Macro Photography and as we already know, Macro Photography usually requires a specific Macro Lens for your camera. However we know that not everybody has access to these sorts of things so if you don't, you can try as accurately as possible to get as close as possible with your normal lens/camera.

The idea is to capture an eye - preferably your eye! (Because that's very tricky) but if you do find that a struggle then by all means use somebody else's including pets!

The Dates

Start: 17th March 2014
End: 22nd March 2014 midnight PST
Results: 23rd March 2014 with the PE roundup!


You can submit your work
here. Please allow time for it to be approved by the group admins. If you haven't received a response in three days then do contact us via note.


:bulletblack: Work must be your own.
:bulletblack: Entries must have been created on or after the start date of the contest (see above)
:bulletblack: Macro is the theme!
:bulletblack: One entry per person
:bulletblack: Please state that it's for the projecteducate contest in the artists comments.
:bulletblack: Prizes - 500 points to the best entry.
:bulletblack: Minimal manipulation please!

Giving and Getting Critique this Week!

It's important to give and receive good feedback in order to improve or allow others to improve with their work. Critique on deviantART is quite often seen as a way of heaping a lot of praise on a singular piece of a persons work. However within that praise it's always a good idea to give some constructive feedback. Therefore throughout this projecteducate week we are encouraging you to drop one deviation into the comments of this article and ask for some feedback. At the same time, we ask that you kindly give some feedback to a piece of work too. Please, where possible, do this on the artists work NOT in the comments of this article. The idea is to gain exposure for the artist - not for this news article!

We will give 500 points away to the most useful piece of feedback given. Once you've critiqued or commented on someone's work, just pop back here with the link!

Summarised Rules...

:bulletblack: You may request one critique by linking your work in the comments of this article
:bulletblack: You can give as much feedback to other people who have requested critique, by visiting their work and commenting or critiquing directly on their deviation
:bulletblack: Once you've done all that, head back here and link us to your constructive feedback for the chance to win 500 deviantART :points:!
:bulletblack: Work must all be Macro->Photography.

Macro Photography PE Week Schedule

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 11:54 PM

Here’s a brief overview of what you can expect from myself Kaz-D and MarcosRodriguez this coming week as we cover the basics of Macro Photography. Please be aware that some of our nature articles will feature close up macro photographs of spiders – and we know some people (myself included!) don’t like that!  Also stay tuned for our contest and critique blog which will be launching later today…


:star: Introduction Blog and Macro Challenge and Critique Session by Kaz-D
:star: What is Macro Photography? By MarcosRodriguez



:star: Top Ten Macro Photography Tips by Kaz-D
:star: Interview with ColinHuttonPhoto



:star: Macro Photography – Nature by Kaz-D
Interview with MarcosRodriguez


:star: What is Macro –Human? By MarcosRodriguez
:star: Shooting the Eye – Tips and a Feature by Kaz-D


:star: Macro droplets by MarcosRodriguez
:star: Macro Photography groups on deviantART by MarcosRodriguez


:star: Macro Objects - by MarcosRodriguez
:star: Interview with GrotesqueDarling13


:star: Macro  Equipment from Kaz-D
:star: Roundup blog and Macro Challenge Winner!

I have a phobia

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 2:25 PM by Kaz-D:iconkaz-d:

Actually, I have a few. But this one only really came back into the foreground since flight MH370 disappeared over a week ago. I joined the crowd-sourcing project from Tomnod whereby lots of people were able to view hundreds upon hundreds of areas of sea and then lately, land, where the plane is thought to have disappeared. Tomnod provides the satellite images, and people tag things that they think are of importance. In fact, one satellite image has been tagged several times and appears to show some wreckage (or could be fish, or reef) and a boat is allegedly on its way there. Anyway, I digress. So it was only when I started doing this that my phobia resurfaced and I realised I had it - and this time, decided to do some digging.

I have what seems to be an irrational fear of empty spaces on maps. Namely, the sea. I thought it was just the sea until Tomnod put up images of forests, and the endless trees also sparked anxiety in me. My thirst for figuring out things, for finding things and in general, for helping, took over the phobia for quite some time. I became anxious each time I unearthed another bit of map, but the desire to find something seemed to keep me distracted just enough that I could keep going without being too worried. This evening though, people in an online facebook group sharing these satellite images, started, well, sharing. And squares of blue endless sea were popping up everywhere, all over my facebook news feed. At this point this evening, I had several Tomnod tabs open in firefox and was accidentally clicking between them and other things. I needed to close them, but the colour of the tabs hid the 'x' button and therefore I had to open them to get rid of them. It was awful. At times, I was opening the tab and closing my eyes and guessing where the 'x' button was to try and shut them down.

So I googled a bit, and nothing much came up until I found a Blogpost written by somebody who thought they were the only person to have this irrational fear. Then I scrolled down and the comments coming in from other 'sufferers' were in their plenty. But nobody has a name for it, and nor can anyone really explain it. I love the sea, I love being in it, I love being in boats on it and I love looking at it from a distance and taking photographs. None of my photographs of the sea, scare me. Looking at the sea in the dark, does scare me. Looking at images from above of it whether it's light or dark, scares me. Yet these satellite images, google earth and map books that show the large areas of sea in the world freak me the hell out. Why? Can anyone share this phobia? I know it sounds completely and utterly ridiculous to have it, but it's there and it's bothering me now. I also have a fear of pipes, drains and toilets without windows but we'll tackle that one another time... ;)

Conceptual Creations

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 12:09 PM by Kaz-D:iconkaz-d:

Here are some of the top submissions to the Conceptual Photography gallery in the past month here on deviantART! Don't forget, if you'd like to suggest a Daily Deviation for conceptual photography you can send your suggestions to either myself Kaz-D - or 3wyl :)

Realm of the Dead - The Conjuring by RebeccaLitchfield
Death, Come Near Me by ZewarPhotography
The Shores Of A Dream by Philomena-Famulok
Inhabiting The Concrete Jungle by oO-Rein-Oo
Last hope by Piscisvolantis
scars by ErinBird
River v.2 by bwaworga
be by all17

Our Still Life Photography Week has come to an end! Huge thanks goes to those involved including those who wrote articles and agreed to be interviewed. We hope that the things we shared were able to inspire some of you, educate and just give a little insight into the lives of some Still Life Photographers here on deviantART. If you missed anything this week - and want to know the winner of the challenge, read on!

The Articles This Week!

:star: Still Life Tutorials and Articles
:star: Still Life Groups
:star: Interview with Andokadesbois
:star: An Interview with Theresa!
:star: Still Life Objects
:star: Cut Flower and Plant Arrangements
:star: Nom Nom 71
:star: An Interview with Sabrina.
:star: Natural Still Life Photographs
:star: Still Life Dolls and Figures
:star: An Interview with Dollstars
:star: What is still life photography?
:star: Getting started with Still Life
:star: Still Life Other

Still your life Challenge!

We had some beautiful entries to the challenge this week but there can only be one winner! Congratulations to FrancescaDelfino with her deviation 'Our Time.' She wins 500 point to spend on deviantART!

Our time by FrancescaDelfino

There are many tutorials and articles out there that can help you with your Still Life Photography. If you'd like to share your favourite, just drop a comment on this article and we'll update the list so that over time, this article hopefully becomes a great resource for old and new still life photographers alike.

Online tutorials and useful articles

:star:5 Still Life Lighting Tips for Beginners
:star:How to take Product Photos (Video)
:star:How to Backlight Photographs
:star:7 Still Life Photos you don't want to miss!

Previous Still Life photography articles

:star:Still Life Photography: The Beginnings
:star:Enhancing Still Life Shots with Lieveheersbeestje
:star:Getting started with Still Life
:star:Still Life and Irving Penn
:star:Still life with Orwald
:star:Still Life with ClareManson
:star:The Traditional Still Life with Somebody--else
:star:Still Life with LuizaLazar
:star:Still Life Education Continued

An Interview with Dollstars!

Sat Mar 1, 2014, 11:00 AM

dollstars has been on deviantART for over six years and has made a firm impact on the Still Life Photography community with her Doll Photographs. She has already received a Daily Deviation for her work and has been featured as Photographer of the Week over at Still-Life-Stills. In this interview we find out a bit more about the person behind the camera who proclaims she likes 'Dolls and shiny things!'

1)Hi Nix! Tell us a bit about yourself and how you find yourself undertaking Photography...

Hello! I'm a twenty-something graphic artist from the sunny-rainy Philippines. I love art, music, food, anime/manga and dolls. Though I'm a graphic artist, photography isn't in my job description. So it's a hobby of mine. :) I am truly honored to be here.

Boss by dollstars

2) Could you tell us a bit about your style as a Photographer and what led you to undertaking Still Life Photography in particular?

I've always been interested in photography as a craft (I've been taking pictures for as long as I can remember), but what led me to doing mainly Still Life was when I began collecting Asian Ball-jointed Dolls (which I will call BJD from hereon) as a hobby in 2008.

"BJD's are highly customizable, pose-able and made of resin. You can paint their faces, change their clothes, shoes, wigs and even eyes to make them one of a kind and all your own. These dolls are expertly crafted and are too beautiful not to photograph and share, so I found them becoming my main focus as a photographer."

3) What equipment do you use in particular to capture still life Photography and what would you recommend to somebody starting out?

:bulletblack:Camera body - Canon EOS 500D
:bulletblack:Lens - Canon 50mm f/1.8 and 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 (a.k.a. the kit lens)
:bulletblack:Flash - I sometimes use my Amaran AHL-C60 halo light, but I only got it really recently. I don't really use a flash.

As for starters, I'm by no means an expert but I believe anything--from an ordinary point and shoot or a cellphone cam or a proper dSLR will do. A person can start out by practicing composition and angles with any camera they have, and when they feel it's their thing, they can invest in a dSLR. I've always used the Canon EOS line, and I would definitely recommend it. I've been using them for over a decade now, I think.

As for a starter lens--the kit lens is already pretty great if you have good enough lighting, but I cannot recommend enough the 50mm f/1.8 (or if you've got a bigger budget, the 50mm f/1.4), which is great for portrait and low-light photography. Not to mention it's really cheap! These lenses are the only two I've been using ever since I started, and I haven't felt a great need to get anything else.

Onward March by dollstars

4) What are the challenges of undertaking Doll Photography?

BJD's are already beautiful as they are, so it's easy to just snap a photo and be satisfied with it as it is. But BJD photos can be made even more beautiful by paying attention to details. Brush their wigs, make sure their eyes are placed correctly (the slightest offset in position can make or break a doll's look), check if their clothes are put on right. Is the lighting good enough? Maybe they look better from another angle? Are they posed naturally?

The biggest challenge I guess is to make an already beautiful doll look their best in your photos. It's also another challenge to make them look as natural as possible--more like a human than just a doll--since sometimes dolls can be poorly strung leading to posing becoming more difficult. But there's always a way to make it work, I believe!

A Time for Giving by dollstars

5) Do you find there are some subjects trickier than others to capture?

Dolls won't pose themselves like humans do. Dolls don't know their best angle. Everything is up to you to decide. It's also tricky when you want to photograph them in more complicated poses but they won't hold the pose--or when they do, there's the risk of them falling over and breaking! So you've really got to be careful.

For subjects other than dolls--I find food pretty challenging to photograph because you really have to go the extra mile to make it look great. The slightest off in color/detail can make the food look pretty horrible, so kudos to all the food photographers out there. You are amazing.

6) Are there any photographers on deviantART that you believe have inspiring still life photography works within their gallery?

There's a lot! But I'll share some of the doll photographers I love that I feel deserve more attention--amadiz, SaikoXIX, AyuAna, Hannahsemptyspaces, Nomi800, Ylden, RodianAngel, Aatospaatos…there's so many...

7) Would you recommend any groups on deviantART that help promote still life photography?

bjd-club, BJD-Obsession and BJD-Photography are great general BJD groups. Resin-Aperture, BJD-Sparks and BJDPhotostories are a little more specialised. If you're from the Philippines, hello, join us at BJDPilipinas! :XD:

8) If you could work alongside another artist, dead or alive, Photographer or otherwise - who would it be?

I would be extremely honored to even just attend a shoot by miss Zhang Jingna a.k.a. zemotion. She has been an inspiration to me ever since I discovered her during my first year on dA. :)

9) Is there a piece of advice that you know now, which you didn't know when you started photography?

Lighting and focus are extremely important--until now I have problems with proper focus, but I'm working on it! As for lighting…LIGHTING IS EVERYTHING. Lighting sets the entire mood of a photo. Lighting will make or break your photo.

What He Sees by dollstars

10) Who are your influences, Photographic or otherwise?

She isn't really active now, but hiritai/oki-oki's dolls, photos and ideas inspired me from the very beginning of my life as a BJD owner. She's probably my greatest influence as a doll photographer. I've also got to mention the ladies from 1 Magic Hour, who really want to make me do better and become as amazing as they are with their photos.

And I'm not sure if they count as an influence, but my local doll community ManikaManila is full of really creative people that constantly inspire me. :) It's great to be surrounded by so much talent. You really want to try and keep up!

Fleur de Vanille by dollstars
"Lighting will make or break your photo."


February 2014 General Photography DDs

Fri Feb 28, 2014, 7:11 AM