Here are seven macro photography ideas you can take at home and on a budget
When the weather is bad or you’re confined, taking photos at home is one of the best ways to spend time. And there can never be enough ideas to spark an inspiration if you ask me. So, Spencer Cox created a video to show you seven low budget ideas for macro photos you can take at home right now. He also shares a bunch of helpful tips for getting the best results, which will be especially helpful if you’re new to this kind of photography.
To take macro photos, you’ll need a camera with a macro lens (obviously), a tripod, an external flash, and a backdrop. You can just use a T-shirt or a piece of fabric if you don’t have a real backdrop. This is what I always do, honestly. You can also make a DIY diffuser for your flash from a box of Pringles if you are feeling very creative. But even if it doesn’t, all of these ideas will work with naked flash as well. So here are Spencer’s suggestions:
1.CD and water: I think we all have old CDs lying around the house. Take one and spray water on it. Put it on your backdrop and experiment with the light to get a bunch of different looks in your photos.
2. Patterns and textures in the ice: The cloudy ice cream you get from your freezer isn’t particularly photogenic, but Spencer shares a few tips for making clear ice cream. Fill a saucepan with salt and water and freeze it for an hour. Also boil a separate pot of water, pour it into containers and let it cool. Then freeze it in the pan from earlier.
It works best if you light the ice from below. So you can take a piece of glass, put a sheet of paper on it, then ice on it, and light everything from below.
3. Water splash: Take a clear plastic or glass bowl and fill it to the brim with water. Put paper towels around so your desk doesn’t get messy and wet. Now, drain the food coloring in the water from a good height. This is the kind of shot you need for good timing, so it will likely take a few attempts to get the best results. I suggest you use continuous lighting if you have it and shoot in burst mode. Spencer adds that you have to bounce the flash off the ceiling to get soft, diffused light.
You can take this technique a step further and experiment by changing the color of the food coloring, the light, or the backdrop. You can put something interesting behind the container (Spencer added an orange) and add water droplets in place of the food coloring. You will get the subject from behind refracted in the droplets.
If you want to be really whimsical, you can even make your own double drop system, and you’ll find the tutorial here.
4. Oil on water: place a white sheet on a low table and place two stable objects on each side of the sheet (buckets, books, etc.). Place a clear glass dish on top and fill it halfway with water. Then stir in about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Drag different objects under the container to get different colors on your photos and shoot straight away. You can also add food coloring to the mixture or add gels to your flash. All of this will create different looks in your images. When it comes to lighting, it’s best to bounce the flash off the tablecloth so that it shines through the glass container from below.
5. Fruit slices: cut the fruit into thin pieces and fill a glass vase or an old aquarium tank almost entirely with water. Throw the fruit from a height and take the photos. Just like you did with the water splash, make sure the timing is right.
6. Paper: Take a stack of paper and curl it into different shapes. You can play around with the color gels and the depth of field to get some pretty interesting abstract shots. Spencer adds that you can do something similar with fabric. It’s great how totally epic everyday things can look in macro photos.
7. Sponge: take a sponge and light it with a flashlight from the side or from below. It has a very unique appearance, almost like lava or the surface of Mars. It looks really cool!
There are lots of other things around the house that can become the subject of your macro photos. You can find more ideas here and here. Plus, there’s also a lot you can build on your own to take your macro photography to the next level. Take a look at these macro platforms, for example. Hope you’ve found some inspiration and have some new photos in mind, and if so: feel free to share.
[Macro Photography Ideas You Can Do At Home | Spencer Cox]