Home Photography Ideas: Take Stunning Abstract Macro Images

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Macro photography opens new doors to creative and abstract photography. With the use of a lens that lets you capture fine detail, in addition to a very reduced sense of context, the close-up genre offers a tremendous opportunity to capture new subjects in a world of their own.

A popular subject is water and its interaction with natural scenes. Droplets on leaves or, as is the case with the image shown here, suspended in a spider web are very effective because they distort an already unknown worldview.

By cropping the droplets up close, you can resolve background details through them – or your surroundings can reflect off their surfaces, as if they were miniature lenses.

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Front: Looser cropping, at lower magnification, incorporates too much peripheral detail into the frame

Front: Looser cropping, at lower magnification, incorporates too much peripheral detail into the frame (Image credit: Avenir)
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After: Through close focus, context is controlled and intriguing droplets and reflections become the clear subject of the image

After: Through close focus, context is controlled and intriguing droplets and reflections become the clear subject of the image (Image credit: Avenir)

Indeed, there are now products on the market designed specifically to produce the same effect on a larger scale – the Lensball for example.

How to shoot with a Lensball

For the most dramatic results, it’s often best to use the extreme focus distances and take a composition that fills the frame. This removes peripheral detail and allows the viewer to focus on the image in the droplets.

This “field” composition technique creates the feeling of repeated detail extending beyond the edges of the frame, forever, adding to the abstract nature of the scene.

Do macro magic with amazing summaries

(Image credit: Avenir)

01 Find a suitable topic

Look for a spider web in your garden that hangs from enough space to allow the droplets to be isolated from the surrounding elements. You should be able to move the camera from multiple angles.

(Image credit: Avenir)

02 Use nearest focus distance

To make sure you’re shooting at the closest focus distance to your lens, set the closest value in the focus window. Then move the lens toward the subject until it is focused in the viewfinder or on the LCD screen.

• The best macro lenses

(Image credit: Avenir)

03 Vary the angle

Try varying the pitch and yaw angle of the lens to bring different background details visible in the frame. This can create different images of the same subject with minimal shift in camera position.

(Image credit: Avenir)

04 Fine-tuning the focus

Make micro adjustments to focus using a magnified view to ensure critical sharpness. Decide whether focusing on droplet surfaces or reflected images gives the best apparent overall sharpness.

(Image credit: Avenir)

05 Use spot metering

Change the measurement mode and take a reading of the highlights on the water droplets. This ensures that unwanted background details are removed, creating a studio-style lighting effect and selecting fine details of the subject.

(Image credit: Avenir)

06 Add background effects

A dark background acts as a blank canvas to which we can add selective detail. Here, an LED torch replicated the speckled light created by the foliage, producing a tunnel-like edge effect and a ledge illuminating the droplets.

Read more:

The best macro lenses: get closer than ever to your subjects!
The best lenses for food photography: make your dinner the star
5 things to know before buying a macro lens


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