When doing studio macro-photography it is possible to get decent results with very inexpensive equipment, limited knowledge and very little setting up time.
These series of photos were taken with my cheaper camera, a Canon PowerShot A480 (about $120), a small table tripod (about $19) and a couple of desk lights; no flash.
It took about two hours to read the camera manual and to familiarize myself with things such as: white balance, exposure and metering.
It took about ten minutes to take this series of photos using several different settings. While there is room for improvement this is intended to show what anybody can achieve with very limited equipment and knowledge. Most cameras in this price range have all these settings and they are very easy to use.
1. The first shot was taken in P mode: Too dark and with very bad color.
2. To correct the bad coloration (white balance) I used the settings for white balance. There are several icons (sun, cloud, light bulb, fluorescent). The light bulb (tungsten) worked best so I used that, but it is still too dark. The exposure needs to be corrected
3 and 4. To correct the exposure I used the scale for exposure compensation which ranks from -2 to +2. It is set automatically to 0 (in the middle of the scale. In the third photo I used a compensation of +1 and in the fourth I used +2. With additional experimentation it is easy to find out what works best in each case.
5. With a dark bug in the center of a white background there is another way of correcting the exposure. The camera is set automatically to a metering mode, called evaluative; it reads the amount of light in all sectors and averages them. If one uses spot metering, it will read just the amount of light at the very center and the bug will brighten up accordingly. The icons look something like this:  [ ] [.], well not quite but you get the idea.
6. I added a second light to give the subject a little more uniform light.
I repeat, anybody can improve their photography regardless of equipment and level of know how.
Contributed by Beatriz Moisset on 24 November, 2009 - 9:56am Last updated 2 January, 2010 - 3:01pm
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