Florida Wildlife Photography Closeup Techniques

Taking Close-up Portraits

Florida Outdoor Photography Tips






Florida Everglades


Taking Close-up Portraits

Closeups of strange-looking insects and plants are one of the more unusual photo opportunities in Florida's swamplands.

Unless the situation poses some kind of problem (such as deep water preventing the photographer from getting closer to the subject), the best type of lens to use is one that allows the photographer to move within a foot or so of the subject.

Within that range, it's possible to capture a life-size image, referred to as a reproduction rate of 1:1.


When photographing such subjects in the subdued light of a swamp (or even on a cloudy day), it's often necessary to rely on a strobe for illumination.

Otherwise, detail and color are apt to be too muddied. Unless the strobe is designed for closeup work, it will probably be necessary to underexpose the picture by one-third or two-thirds to keep the flash from overpowering the subject. Once again, a tripod is a valuable asset.

Taking closeups of large round objects, such as the hood of a carnivorous pitcher plant, is best achieved with a wide angle lens, such as a 28mm or even a 20mm.

A wide angle lens provides tremendous depth of field so that more of the subject ends up in sharp focus. Contrast this to a 1:1 closeup lens where only the first layer of the subject is sharp and clear.


Using a telephoto lens to take closeup pictures often presents the same problem. The closer a telephoto lens is to a subject, the less detail in focus behind it. Of course, this can work to a photographer's advantage  if the background is cluttered and distracting.

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Lenses: What Sizes Work Best?
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The Problem of Bright Sunlight
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Creating Good Sunset Silhouettes
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