David Johnston

How to Photograph Dreamy Macro Small Scenes

David Johnston
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Duration:   7  mins

As an outdoor photographer, do you like exploring the forest in search of unusual images? Macro photography can take you into the exciting world of small scenes. In this premium video lesson, professional outdoor photographer David Johnston goes into the woods to capture creative small scenes though what he calls macro ethereal photographs.

David focuses on small plants on the forest floor. You will learn how to move your camera around, getting low, and shifting positions in short increments. In small scenes, perspective is the goal. Using a lens baby 85mm velvet macro, David hones in on the brown dead part of a green fern. As always, his goal is to find interesting contrasts on plants, curling and criss crossing shapes, or changes in color due to decay.

If you don’t have a velvet lens or a filter, you can create an ethereal effect with a zip lock bag. But you also want to use a wide aperture. In David’s fern image, he shoots at f1.4. He frames his image through different ways, high, low, vertical, horizontal. For small scenes, patience is the key. In his own small scenes, David keeps the blurred look, in this case bringing out the contracting green versus brown.

To take your small scenes to the next level, you want to concentrate on creating a glowing look, especially emphasizing the background through a soft effect. This is known as the Bokeh effect, the soft out-of-focus background that you get when shooting a subject, using a fast lens at the widest aperture such as f/2.8 or wider. For his small scenes, David sets up angles where the background is either a shadow or there is a solid color background. It’s called negative space. Your goal is to seclude the subject from the surrounding background. You are trying to create unique small scenes.

Join Outdoor Photography Guide’s professional photographer David Johnston who shows you how to create dreamy macro small scenes.

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