Three Quick Tips For Close-Ups

California Wild Rose / Photo by Steve Berardi

California Wild Rose / Photo by Steve Berardi

Now that spring has arrived here in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s time to start thinking about photographing all those wonderful wildflowers and insects. It’s the perfect season for close-up photography.

So, here are three quick tips to get you started:

#1 – Get down to your subject’s level

Many of the plants and insects that come out in the spring live very low to the ground, so your first reaction may be to photograph them from where you first spot them (standing up and looking down at them). But, many times it’s better to get down to your subject’s level and photograph them from there because it captures a more friendly point of view (almost as if you’re seeing eye-to-eye with your subject).

#2 – Choose a good background

When you stumble upon a beautiful wildflower or butterfly, sometimes it’s easy to concentrate entirely on your primary subject and completely forget about the background. But, a good background is essential to a good close-up photo because it can tremendously help draw attention to your subject and make it really stand out.

What makes a good background? For close-ups, you’re usually looking for two things: a background that’s far away and contrasts well with your subject. The distance helps keep your background out of focus, and the contrast will help make your subject look sharper.

#3 – Be patient!

Remember, good nature photos take time. Sometimes you’ll encounter an awesome subject like a rare dragonfly, but it has the worst background. Don’t give up hope! Keep looking! It may take awhile to find the perfect subject in front of the perfect background (and under perfect lighting and wind conditions), but your patience will pay off in the end :)

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steveb2About the Author: Steve Berardi is a naturalist, photographer, software engineer, and founder of PhotoNaturalist. You can usually find him hiking in the beautiful mountains and deserts of southern California.


  1. cool phenomena in the coming weeks in Va Beach. We live on marshy waterfront with several large trees. In the near future, not certain the exact timing, the termites will swarm by the thousands. Last year I saw at least 200 dragonflies simultaneously attack these termites, eat there bodies and the wings would flutter together down to the ground still attached to each other. If you know anyone with a camera to capture this event, please do not hesitate to contact my email. Just saw a dragonfly today so we are not far off. royalties can be discussed if there is a market.

    appreciate your time, great website!


  2. Very useful tips…

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