Getting close

Creative Photography with a seasoning of Mindfulness.

Getting close

The art of photography at home


There are a few reasons to want to create images at home.

  • Product images of stuff you want to sell
  • Learning to deal with TV, AV and manual mode
  • Learning more about composition
  • Learning to harness all sorts of light sources
  • Just because it is a really fun way to create art

In this post you get to scratch the surface on a few of these topics.
Later you will be able to read in more detail as we start discussing flash.


You will want to have a steady camera, so if you have a tripod clean the feet and get ready to use it.
If you do have a tripod, find a pillow that is firmer and learn to setup the shot and leave your camera on the pillow.

Here are two images from last year.
I must admit, in spring, summer and fall I would much rather be outside and don’t do much inside.
Neither of these images are prize winners, but let me explain things that you can take with you.

One thing you can take away is get in close. You usually don’t want too much in the image, less is more.

Another thing you may notice is that the background color does matter.
I used a dark green background because I felt the orange background clashed with the oranges too much.
Personally, I like the second picture more than the first.

Setting the stage

What you cannot see here are the many different images taken as well as the many different setups.

Once you have an idea of what image you want to create; you will learn by doing.
Setup the stage as if you are the stage director for a play.
In the images above, you chose oranges, nuts and a nutcracker as your actors.
Green napkins on the plate under the actors, as well as a backdrop for the stage.

Take a test photo and see what you want to rearrange, three oranges become two.
The light isn’t right and you want a different background.

Wash, rinse and repeat!
If you’re like me, you will rearrange and adjust many times until you have the image you want to keep.


I don’t want to get into ambient light, built in flash, on camera flash unit or off camera flash too deeply here.
We will do this in time.
However, I would like to demonstrate for you the difference that it makes simply moving the light. (or the stage)

Looking at the top of the glass – or the stem – you can see that the first image had my flash just off to the left of camera.

Because this wasn’t the effect I was after; I moved the flash way over to the right.
The second image has the look and shadows I wanted.

Back-light is a powerful creative element. The flash is behind the flower.

Flash unit(s)

Above is the flash and controller I use.

If you’re interested in getting into this sort of creative work you can of course buy Canon, Nikon or whatever brand of camera you use.
I, however, don’t have that much money to spend and the quality and price for my set is excellent. I am not endorsing or denying any brand name here.

With the controller and the upcoming winter – it’s only September! – I could invest in a second flash if I’m sure I’ll be using it this year.

Capturing modes and tips

You need to think deeply about a tripod if you don’t already have one.
You will be getting up close and the chances for camera movement are exaggerated.

You will either want to use a remote shutter release, or as I do, use the self-timer set at 5 seconds.

Most of the time you will not be worried about the background being out of focus, so you won’t need AV mode.
You can capture very well in TV mode or use the experience to practice manual mode.

There may be times when your auto-focus fails, now is the time to switch to MF (manual focus) and turn that dial.

For the right composition, you can use whatever floor, table, desk you have. See my images above.

In order to get the right background, you can use a blanket or get some large sheets of colored paper.
You can also use these as the floor of your stage.

Have fun

Now, if you don’t have any accessories – tripod, flash – it doesn’t matter at all.

Just go ahead and set your own personal stage and do the best with what you have.

Creative art is fun, it should never be seen as work.

Share your images and experience with us. Comment or email me directly.


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