10 Macro Challenges to Flex your Photography Muscles

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Getting out and about, taking photos of the clouds, buildings, skies and trees is something we all dream of doing, cooped up in the office from Monday to Friday. It can be easy to daydream about shooting all the things you can see, but sadly without taking the actual photos for yourself you’re never going to improve. While we can’t jet off to a tropical island to shoot spectacular shots of palm fronds in the summer sun, there is a world of things to shoot from the comfort of your home or garden which will allow you to flex your photography muscles. It’s a big world out there – and it only gets bigger the smaller you go.

We are, of course, talking about macros. There’s no denying the unique appeal that macro photography holds – taking a shot which is impossible to see with the naked eye, which turns an ordinary bug into a marvel of nature worthy of a spot on a gallery wall. Here’s 10 things to try shooting this summer around your local neighbourhood, or from the comfort of your own home. Once you’re done you can impress your friends and family by printing your favourite, most abstract shots on a high quality photo canvas like the ones our friends at Parrot Print Canvas produce.

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The Caterpillar
Starting with the most basic, a good macro shot can transform an ugly caterpillar into a beautiful work of nature. If caterpillars aren’t your thing, try ladybirds, spiders or even spider webs. Pro tip: lightly spray water on the webs with a small glasses cleaner bottle filled with water for a morning mist look.

The Pet
The next time your pet falls asleep try taking a macro shot of its skin, nose, paw or whiskers – you’ll be amazed at what it looks like up close and personal.

The Flowerbed
An oldie but a goodie – a carefully cropped, well shot macro of a flower in bloom is a tried and tested favourite. Once again the spray bottle will come in handy to really bring out the colours – just don’t overdo it or you’ll be shooting water – that’s the next challenge.

The Fish Tank
Ever tried photographing your fish? You’ll need a polarising filter in most cases, but with a bit of luck you can get an incredible shot of a passing fish. No fish tank? Try water droplets after the rain once the sun comes out for a mind-blowing shot in each droplet.

The Pencil Tip
Even something as mundane as a freshly sharpened pencil can look amazing up close. Pencil sharpenings and shavings work just as well, and make for awesomely arty photo canvasses to give your favourite artist or teacher in your family.

The Chopping Board
Is your other half a chef, a baker or just an enthusiast in the kitchen? Try arranging different fruits, veg and other ingredients on a chopping board. Experiment with depth of field and see what works best. For those shallower depths of field, try dusting with flour to taste.

The Instrument
Have you ever examined the neck of a guitar up close? What about the keys of a flute or saxophone? Try it with a macro shot with a shallow depth of field – the reflections, wood grains, strings and mechanisms look fantastic up close.

The Chronometer 

Simply put, a macro shot of a clock or watch has a timeless appeal.

The Glass of Water

Fill a glass with water, swirl it and take a shot. If your hands aren’t steady enough, try putting it down in front of some colourful objects and go for a macro shot of the refracted image. Experiment with different objects and see what you end up with – colourful pens can work well as a starting point.

The Crystals 

Have any amethyst or pyrite lying around? Take a macro shot of the crystalline structure for some impressive abstract shots. You’ll have to play with the lighting until you find what works for you. If you’re short on crystals, try semi-precious stones, diamond rings or even just grains of course salt and/or pepper.

Parrot Print Canvas is a UK provider of high quality photo canvasses. Their award winning satin print varnish has been Archival Certified by the Fine Art Trade Guild for its quality and protection.

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