Are you looking for some interesting and out of the ordinary project ideas for your close up or macro photography? Want to break away from the usual flowers, leaves, plants, and mushrooms? Tired of bugs, butterflies, and spiders? All of those can make great close up subjects, but certainly not unique ones. Here are a few macro photography project ideas that may inspire your creativity:
1. Cutlery. Knives, forks, and spoons can make great macro subjects. Arrange like pieces together to create lines and patterns.
2. Feathers. Feathers are beautiful close up. The central shaft creates a strong line which may be curved or straight, while the rest of the feather provides a soft texture. Use bird feathers that you find or purchase, or pluck one out of your down pillow or duvet!
3. Water droplets. This one is a classic, but be creative, and find your water on unusual surfaces like a wire fence, a cobweb, or a rear-view mirror. Early morning dew makes almost any subject magical. In the spring or fall, your can look for frost instead of dew.
4. Glass. Close up photos of fine crystal glassware can yield wonderful abstracts filled with curved lines and reflections. For added fun, place glasses side by side, or one behind the other to create lines where they overlap. You can fill the glasses with colored water for even more creative images. Finally, you can add a sheet of clear, but textured glass (available for purchase at stained glass craft stores) in front of your glassware. The possibilities are endless.
5. Foil reflections. While you have your glasses full of colored water, why not pull out a sheet of kitchen foil or some shiny silver craft paper? Use your macro lens to shoot down into the foil and capture the reflections of the colored water in its folds and creases. This exercise is a tricky one and requires patience, but the results can be very rewarding.
6. Fruit and vegetables. They’re not just good for your diet! Fruit and vegetables make great macro photography subjects. Try kernels of corn on the cob, citrus slices, or go for more exotic fare like dragon fruit. You can place translucent slices on a lightbox for a clean, bright white background. You can also photograph the fruit or vegetables on plates in complementary colors.
7. Rust and peeling paint. Fascinating rust patterns can be found on an old car, or even a metal garbage can in the park. Peeling paint graces old fences and walls. Most people pass by such items without a second glance. Not you! Break out your macro lens, and reveal the hidden beauty. Just beware of harsh shadows if you’re photographing in bright sunlight.
8. Car details. The sleek lines of shiny chrome and trim on a polished car can provide hours of photographic entertainment. You can photograph your own car, but don’t be shy about taking your camera to an antique car show. Car owners are usually proud of their vehicles and won’t mind you photographing the details.
9. Animal bits. The texture of fur on your dog or the wrinkled skin of an elephant at the zoo can make a great close up shot. Paws, claws and teeth are fun, too, as long as you keep out of harm’s way. Finally, eyes always make compelling subjects. Shoot close ups of the eyes of your dog or cat (or a person!).
10. Tissues. For some high key abstracts, and a really unusual subject, try photographing a tissue. With a little imagination, the lines and shadows formed by the soft folds can create some intriguing images.
For a bonus, take a fresh look at ordinary objects around your home, such as light bulbs, shoe laces, book pages, clothes pegs, straws, holiday ornaments, or pencils. Try to find interesting patterns, lines, shapes, and colors, and create a little close up magic.
I hope these ideas inspire you to get out there with your macro lens and start shooting!
About the Author:
If you want to learn more about taking macro photographs, be sure to check out Julie’s two eBooks. They are filled with helpful tips, useful information, and spectacular, full color images to inspire you to create better close up photography. Julie Waterhouse also writes for Ultimate Photo Tips, which provides friendly education and encouragement for photo enthusiasts around the world.
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