Focus On Close-Up and Macro Photography (Focus On series)
Focus on the Fundamentals
Taylor & Francis Group
This photography book is very readable and filled with beautiful pictures and hints about how to produce your own. The book is divided into six chapters – What is Macro Photography?, Composition, Flower Photography, Lighting, Subjects to Photograph, and What to do with Your Images.
Clive Branson begins by defining macro photography and talking about the strengths and weaknesses of various kinds of cameras and lenses. Beyond the equipment, he talks about the need to be able to see differently to photograph images that are unusual and attractive. He talks about composition and the rule of thirds next making the important statement that sometimes good composition involves breaking the rules. He deals with the importance of background here in his discussion of negative space, but also in the section on flower photography. It was the flower photography that was my favourite section as it is a hobby of mine. The use of reflectors to add and control light and to manage backgrounds is very important and it isn’t necessary to spend a lot of money to get good results.
The section on lighting is also a great read as he discusses the merits of different angles of lighting as well as different sources. In the subjects chapter he takes several common subjects, the frozen water droplet, smoke and refraction and gives short how to summaries to start a beginning photographer on experimenting with these kinds of photographs. The main ingredient for each is patience and a willingness to take a lot of pictures to learn the best way for you to accomplish the photo. The final chapter talks briefly about how to sell your photographs, which while interesting will require a great deal more practice and the equipment to produce the highest technical quality shots.
I enjoyed reading the book and plan to try out his suggestions for the subjects to shoot. It is always good to find a book that is clear, easy to read and challenging.