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Photo#354410
Ultra-basic studio bug photography

Ultra-basic studio bug photography
Pennsylvania, USA
Size: 6 mm
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: [0] [ ] [.], 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.

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That's what I needed
This is the level of advice that helps me. My camera has the settings you described adjusting. I wasn't familiar with them because the manual contains a tremendous amount of material and I didn't know how to pick out the relevant parts. A manual organized by "How do I . . . ?" would be easier to use.

Thanks for this series!

 
One suggestion
To help yourself and help others: Why don't you post some of your most unsatisfactory photos in the Photo forum? You could explain what camera and settings you used and ask how the picture can be improved.

i agree
i use a fuji finepix that cost 129. and i found in the macros my best pics come when i put the critter in a little tub, as the macro focuses good on em in there..or on plain paper as it seems to not know where to foucs if its a "busy" scene, and makes me take 30 picutres to get one that is in foucus of what i tried to take a picture of..it will focus on objects in the foreground or background..a little trick that sometimes works is to pretendim taking a picture of the object to the side of what im really picturing..and get it on the side of the picutre that seems to work.

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