On bright Autumns days, the leaves shine in the sun like multicoloured jewels. Each one is not entirely the same as another, and by moving in closer we can see the details that might usually escape us. With its emphasis on pattern and detail, macro photography allows us the opportunity to look at our world in an entirely different way.
Doing these photographs reminded me of my days as an art student in highschool, using the artists light table to back light my project so that I could trace images onto another page. The technique used in these macro photographs is similar, except you don’t need a special light table… only a window.
Creating Stunning Backlit Macro Photographs of Fall Leaves
You will need a camera with a macro lens, you can still zoom in and crop with a normal lens but macro is preferable here. Look for leaves with interesting colours, textures or patterns for this project.
Find a window with good light, full sun works well with these photographs for a more dramatic effect but you can also try this in overcast conditions and see what happens.
Tape your leaves to a window that is exposed to the sun. You can try to tape the leaves so that they are entirely flat, or let them curl a little if you prefer.
Although it is tempting to use a wide aperture for macro, experiment with smaller (the larger number) apertures (such as f/8), the broader depth of field will allow you to get more of the leaf in focus, which is especially helpful if you have a particularly wrinkled or dry leaf. Alternatively, if you are not entirely comfortable with aperture now is the perfect time to experiment and see what effects both wide and small apertures have on your final image.
A small aperture will also help you with focusing. I prefer to use manual focus when shooting macro because of the detailed nature of the resulting shot, it is much easier for me to be able to fine-tune my focus that way and get exactly what I want. If you are having trouble experimenting with your settings while keeping your composition and focus, try using a tripod.
You may find it difficult to compose your shot with no leading lines or other compositional elements to help you. Instead look for interesting patterns within the leaf itself. Use the veins of the leaf, the colours, and the imperfections to guide you.
I’m teaming up with Kristi of Live and Love Out Loud to bring you the Nurture Photography Autumn Challenge – a photography challenge aimed at capturing the beauty of fall.
Just a few details:
All are welcome regardless of skill level, camera equipment or geographic location.
Share your favorite images inspired by our weekly prompts each Friday and grab our lovely button while you’re at it!
The linky will remain open from 9am Friday – 9am Thursday CST. Link to your Nurture Photography blog post or Flickr photo, not your blog’s home page or Flickr photostream. Don’t forget to visit and comment on the previous entry in the linky list.
We’ll be showcasing some of your lovely photos by pinning some of our favorites to the Nurture Photography Inspiration Board.
The Nurture Photography Challenge has taken to Facebook! Stop by, “like” our new Facebook fan page, ask questions and share your work on our wall as well.
We love Instagram just as much as you do! We’ll be on the lookout for your beautiful fall photos, so be sure to use the #nurturephoto hashtag to receive a little bit of Instagram love.
Next week’s prompt will be Purple/Halloween. For a complete list of prompts, head on over to the Nurture Photography page.