What a wonderful tutorial we have for you today! Anna Aromin is a very talented photographer in not only capturing her children, but with nature subjects as well! I’m thrilled to be able to share her tips and gorgeous images with you today!
It’s important to be observant. When you pay attention to details, you can find almost anything to photograph, even right in your very own backyard. There are so many tiny details out there that are often overlooked, but if you take the time to notice those details, you will most likely find something special that is longing to be photographed…and you’ll be glad that you did!
Look for the light and watch how it falls on the details. Backlight is my preferred light since I’m often drawn to photographing bokeh around my subject, but I also like soft directional light to capture shadows and highlights for a more 3-dimensional look.
Look for unique shapes, lines, curves, textures. You can find these interesting elements in even the most mundane plants. I often like to photograph ferns since they are abundant here in WA, and even though they may all look the same in plain view, if you look up close in all angles and look for unique features, you can actually photograph them in infinite ways. Each plant is unique in its own way.
Be mindful of your plane of focus and your aperture. Majority of the time, I shoot wide open to get the narrow slice of focus I want on my subject. Because of this, I need to be very mindful of where my plane of focus is in order for me to get all the necessary details I want in focus to draw the viewer into those details, so the angle and positioning of my lens is very crucial.
Have fun with bokeh – look for reflective surfaces such as water droplets in backlight. Freelensing is another fun way of adding oomph to the out-of-focus areas in your image.
No macro lens? Turn your nifty fifty 50mm around with the front of your lens facing towards your camera lens mount to turn it into your very own macro lens. This technique is called reverse macro or reverse freelensing. (Do this at your own risk and do your research first before doing this technique.)
Get creative! I’ve used the surface of the hood of my car to photograph flowers and leaves and I love the reflections I get when I do this. And a few months ago, I’ve also experimented with using a triangular prism to disperse light onto a baby cactus plant, creating a rainbow effect.
Equipment and editing – I use a variety of lenses to take photos of details in nature: Canon 100mm f/2.8L (for up-close shots), Canon 50mm f/1.8 for freelensing, Canon 135mm f/2L, Helios 44M (58mm f/2) and Helios 40-2 (85mm f/1.5), and recently I just got another vintage lens that I’m absolutely in love with right now which is the Pentacon 50mm f/1.8. I’ve looked into extension tubes, but I don’t currently own any. However, I have combined two lenses (Canon 100mm f/2.8L with a reversed Canon 50mm f/1.8 and Helios 44M and got not only extra magnification, but really interesting results, although nailing the focus with two lenses can be really tricky. For editing, I use Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop CC.
Since I don’t have to worry about skin tones, I find the editing process to be more quick and flexible where there is more room to edit more creatively in terms of color-toning as opposed to editing portraits. I typically like to change the color temperature and manipulate colors to convey a certain look and mood in my images. Looking back at my work, I have done a lot of bold edits with my nature photography, but I also like to keep things simple and I want my work to reflect the simple yet complex beauty of nature as I see it while also enhancing the magic in those details that are already there.