Category Archives: Macro Photography

Macro tips, techniques, and equipment.

Link Roundup 07-07-07

  • Mark Story Photography — Living In Three Centuries
    Amazing portrait photography project. A must see.
  • Fredrik Ödman Photography
    Amazingly screwed up and beautiful images.
  • How To Photograph Dragonflies @ Wonderful Photos
    Dragonflies are very photogenic and easily approachable once you understand their behavior. This article features an in-depth tutorial to shooting dragonflies and a collection of fantastic photos.
  • Photographic Lights And Lighting @ Food Photography Blog
    Lights are tools to be used by photographers to create their final products. There are many different kinds of lights, but this article deals with those light sources related to studio strobe lighting.
  • The Discipline Of Composing Full Frame @ Beyond The Obvious
    There’s an aesthetic discipline in photography which has all but dropped off the radar these days. It’s to make your composition in camera using the full available frame and keep that through to the final print without any cropping.
  • 5 Ways To Make Your Texture Photos Pop! @ Goldengod
    Highlighting an important photographic element such as lighting, composition, or subject matter can make your photo attract attention. One of the most commonly overlooked elements you can focus on is texture.

MORE Equipment Options for Macro Photography

Most of you seemed to find my “Equipment Options for Macro Photography” fairly useful, so I thought I’d follow it up with some more macro equipment. Last time I focused on the lens options — so this time I’ll focus on all the other stuff that’s also used in macro work. Basically, I’m talking about anything that doesn’t attach to the front of the camera body, so these are things that can be used for any type of camera.



Camera shake is more prone to occur while shooting macro, due to the high magnification levels. A tripod is the best way to battle shake issues — and a good tripod is almost critical. Look for something sturdy enough to hold up during a breezy day, and something flexible enough to get into tight spots. In macro, you’re working up-close so it’s nice to have a tripod with independent leg angles and lengths. Also look for a tripod that can get real low and/or invert the center column to get right on the ground. The tripod in the picture is the Slik Pro 700DX tripod with independent legs that are adjustable to 3 different angles. The center column is two pieces and it can be inverted, so it can reach really high and and really low. I chose to buy one of these mainly because of their rigidity and sturdiness. It’s practically indestructible.

Tripod Head


Almost any good tripod head will do fine for macro work, just as long as it’s sturdy and predictable. The slightest movement in the head can cause your entire macro composition to be thrown out of whack. Leveling indicators are nice to have, but aren’t completely necessary in most macro work. If you’re concerned about being level, look for a head with two tubular levels rather than a bull’s eye level (though most ballheads have a bull’s eye). The tripod head in the picture is a Slik AF2100 Pistol Grip Ballhead. I picked up one of these when I bought my tripod, and I absolutely love using it. It’s very sturdy while locked, and very easy to operate when released. I like using this head because I can aim and lock the camera with one hand while I manually focus with the other hand.

Slider Rail


Often times when shooting macro photos, you focus the image by moving the camera rather than using the focusing ring on the lens. On a macro lens, the focusing ring changes the amount of magnification, and thus the composition of the subject. Macro shots also have a very small depth of field (unless you stop the lens WAY down), so the slightest movement can throw the image out of focus. A macro focusing rail (or slider rail) sits between your tripod head and your camera, and acts as a precision moving platform for your camera. You can find them in single-axis or double-axis (as shown in the picture) models. I don’t have one of these yet, but it’s probably my next piece of macro equipment I’ll buy.



Sometimes tripods just can’t get you where you need to be — like on the ground. A beanbag is a good way to stabilize your camera on top of other objects or the ground. The nice thing about these tools is that they conform to the camera resting place and the camera so you don’t have to worry about your camera falling off of something or getting dirty or wet from the ground. Most of them are small enough to fit in your camera bag, and they typically don’t weigh much. I keep meaning to pick one up, but it keeps evading me. At around $10, it’s hardly worth NOT getting one.

Ring Flash


When shooting at close distances less than one or two feet, a traditional flash just won’t work. You end up with half-covered lighting, shading from the lens, and harsh directional lighting. A ring flash mounts to the front of the lens and directs light straight at your subject. Some ring flashes even have the capability to turn down or turn off certain sections of the ring in order to give slightly directional lighting for higher impact. Ring flashes can also be used in non-macro photography, and I’ve often heard of them being used for portrait work in conjunction with other studio lights. I don’t have one of these either, but it’s next on the list after the slider rail. The downside to these flash units is that they cost just as much as a traditional flash.



If you can’t afford a ring flash right now, a small reflector might be a good thing to have handy. A reflector can be placed near the subject to redirect available light. You can find these in all different sizes and colors, but for macro work you really shouldn’t need anything bigger than 24 inches in diameter. Most of the reflectors you find will fold down to about 1/3 of their expanded size, making them easy to pack in your camera bag. Again, this is one of those things that I keep saying I’ll pick up, but I keep forgetting. They’re a handy all-around tool to have in your bag.

Angle Finder


When working near, or on the ground, it’s really hard to see through your viewfinder. On SLR cameras, that’s the only way to see your subject since most don’t have a live LCD display (it’s that darned mirror that gets in the way). Fortunately you can attach a right angle viewfinder to the camera’s existing viewfinder so you can look straight down into the camera rather than straight through it. The one I’ve shown in the picture is purely optical, but there are digital models that have a flip-out LCD screen that shows what’s in the viewfinder.

Shutter Release Cable


Even when using a tripod or beanbag, your camera is susceptible to shake and blur. At a very minimum, you should use the short time-delay function on the camera to lock the mirror prior to taking the picture. That can get to be tedious sometimes, especially when you just want to take some shots! A shutter release cable allows you to trigger the shutter without touching the camera. This helps prevent camera shake and it also prevents the tripod head from shifting when pressing the button on the camera.

Head Medicine


Macro photography can be very straining on your eyes and body. Long periods of staring through the viewfinder at strange angles and positions will really drain you. You’re looking for that fine line between in-focus and out-of-focus, you’re making dozens of tiny little adjustments to get the composition right, and you’re usually not sitting comfortably in your recliner while doing these things. It’s probably a good idea to carry some head medicine and pain killers in your bag to keep your stamina up during your day of shooting.

So these are some of the common items found in a macro photographer’s bag, but I’m sure there are a few other obscure pieces of equipment I’ve missed. The thing about these tools is that most of them can be used for other forms of photography, so if you decide to buy them you’ll probably be using them more often than you think.

Did I miss any major items? What other tools do you use for macro work?

Equipment Options for Macro Photography


I’ve been getting into macro photography more and more lately — partly because of Michael Brown — and I’ve found that there are a number of ways to obtain macro images, some of which are fairly inexpensive. Really, all you need to start with is either a camera with interchangeable lenses or any other type of camera that allows the attachment of filters — such as many of the ultra-zoom models. If you have at least that, there are several methods of getting macro photos out of your camera. Beware, though, once you start getting into macro photography, you’ll likely get hooked on it.

Red Tree Blooms

So what is macro photography? Many consumer level cameras have a “macro” mode on them, and many SLR lenses claim to be macro. But what is it really? Macro refers to close-up photography. In a strict sense, macro means that the subject being photographed is projected onto the image sensor at a lifesize scale, or 1:1 (one to one) magnification. So those cameras and lenses that say macro, but do not produce 1:1 images, are usually refering to their ability to focus on things closer than normal. In fact, many of the SLR zoom lenses that say macro on them are only capable of producing images at 1:2 magification, or half-lifesize.

Miniature Daffodil

What can you do to get 1:1 (or better) images? There are a multitide of options for going macro, and each of them has their own ups and downs. Not only do you have several options, but you have the capability to combine various pieces of equipment for different effects and magnifications. Use the right combinations and you can actually achieve greater than 1:1 magnification, such as 2:1, 4:1, 6:1, etc. Most of the options shown below are aimed at SLR or other removable lens camera systems, but there are also options for compact and ultra-zoom cameras.

Dedicated Macro Lens


A dedicated macro lens is by far the best option for producing 1:1 macro images, but these are only available for camera systems with interchangeable lenses. A macro lens has a fixed focal length and can produce 1:1 images in addition to focusing out to infinity. This means that you can take super close-up photos of a flower or bug, then refocus and take a landscape or portrait photo without having to switch lenses or remove special macro equipment. These lenses are typically very sharp and fast (large maximum aperture), but a little expensive compared to the other macro options. They come in a variety of focal lengths, but they all have the same magnification capability. The difference is in standoff distance — with higher focal lengths giving you a greater working distance from your subjects. I have a 105mm f/2.8 macro from Sigma, which gives me a 12″ standoff height at 1:1, and it cost about $350.

Extension Tubes


Extension tubes (also only available for interchangeable lens cameras) are a cheap method of decreasing the minimum focusing distance of a lens. This means that you can get closer to your subject, thus giving you more magnification. The longer the extension tube, the closer you can focus. The downside to using one or more of these tubes is that you lose the ability to focus out to infinity. The light intensity reaching the sensor also decreases as the lens is moved away, so you’ll end up with a slower lens. The upside to them is that they’re simple, contain no glass, relatively cheap, and stackable. They typically come in sets of 12mm, 20mm, and 36mm, but you can also find them as single tubes in various lengths. A bellows is simply an adjustable extension tube that costs a lot more. These tubes can also be added to a dedicated macro lens, increasing it’s magnification past 1:1. I have a 25mm extension tube from Kenko, which gives my macro lens a magnification of about 1.25:1 and costs about $60.

Reversing Ring


A reversing ring is similar to a step-up or step-down ring, but it has male filter threads on both sides. This allows you to attach one lens in reverse to another lens. So what does this do for you? It allows you to focus closer to the subject while also magnifying it by some amount (which depends on the focal length of the reversed lens). The most common setup with reversing rings include a 50mm f/1.4 or f/1.2 prime lens attached in reverse to either a 100mm dedicated macro lens or a standard telephoto over 200mm in focal length. The reversed lens needs to have a large maximum aperture and the other lens must have a long focal length so vignetting doesn’t occur. This setup can be done with fairly little money if you opt for an older prime lens intended for manual cameras. It works best with an SLR system, but I wouldn’t doubt that you can do it with an ultra-zoom camera that allows threaded filter attachments. I have a 50mm f/1.4 prime lens that I can use with two of my other lenses, and it cost me $40 on eBay.



A teleconverter is an extra lens that is typically placed between the camera body and another lens on an SLR system. I think there are teleconverters for non-SLR systems that attach to the front of the lens, but I don’t know how well they work. The teleconverter just adds extra magnification to the existing lens. Used alone, and depending on the lens you use it with, you may be able to get greater magnification of the subject at close focusing distances and allow you to get closer to “macro” shots. The real benefit to these is that they can be used with other macro equipment such as reversing rings and close-up filters. I don’t have any of these yet.

Close-Up Lens


A close-up lens, or close-up filter, is basically a magnifying glass that attaches to the front of your camera lens. It allows you to focus at closer distances than usual, thus creating more magnification. The upside to these is that they are small, lightweight, and easy to remove from the lens by unscrewing them from the filter threads. The downside is that they add another piece of glass (usually of lower quality than in your camera lens) between your subject and your sensor, possibly affecting the overall quality of the image. I don’t have any of these either.


When it comes to macro gear, you’re not limited to one or the other — you can stack for added magnification! For example, I will typically add an extension tube to my macro lens to get a little closer. Then I can screw on the 50mm lens in reverse and get really close. This same setup also works with my 200mm non-macro lens for even more magnification. You can also add in more extension tubes, teleconverters, and close-up lenses. The things to watch out for when adding equipment together are vignetting and loss of image quality. In the animation above, here are the equipment setups shown:

  1. 105mm Macro Lens
  2. 25mm Extension Tube, 105mm Macro Lens
  3. 105mm Macro Lens, 50mm Reversed Lens
  4. 25mm Extension Tube, 105mm Macro Lens, 50mm Reversed Lens
  5. 25mm Extension Tube, 200mm Telephoto Lens
  6. 200mm Telephoto Lens, 50mm Reversed Lens
  7. 25mm Extension Tube, 200mm Telephoto Lens, 50mm Reversed Lens

So there you go, the basic optical equipment for macro photography. If you’re interested in getting into macro, it doesn’t have to be expensive and you don’t have to do it all at once. Start gathering up the different pieces, and experiment with combos as you go.

Also check out my follow-up post that talks about more macro photography equipment — including things like tripods, sliders, ring flashes, reflectors, and more.

Self Critique of my Best Flower Photo

Critiquing the photos of others can be difficult, but critiquing your own work is downright near-impossible. It’s easy to point out the good points of a photo you’ve taken, but the bad points are another story — especially if it’s a photo you really like.

Mike Brown at “Macro Art In Nature” is asking us to do just that — pick your best photo (flora/foliage closeup) and self critique it. He’s turned this into a group project that he coined “The Self Critique Project”. If you’re interested in participating, head over there and read the rules.

At first, I thought it would be no problem picking out one photo and critiquing it. I’ve spent the last several days going back and forth between 2 or 3 photos, unable to pick what I consider the best. It’s a very hard thing to do. Nevertheless, I’ve managed to choose just one. On with the critique…

Golden Hyacinth


There are several things I like about this photo, but the strongest point is the color. Originally, it was a purple flower and I accidentally turned it gold during post-processing (click here to see how). I don’t know why I like the color so much, it just has the look and feel of fire to me. Another thing I like about the photo is the shallow depth of field and the location of the focal plane. At a glance, the photo looks very abstract with most of it being out of focus and very soft — except for the very tip of the nearest petal, which is quite sharp. The last major strong point in the photo is the shapes formed by the highlights and shadows within the flower itself. Though most of the photo is quite out of focus, there are a handful of tonal trails and geometries living in the sea of golden color.

Of course I have a bunch of little things I like about the photo, but it’s hard to describe them without pointing at the photo. Even if I point, I have a hard time placing words to some of these things.


I had a hard enough time describing what I like about the photo — this is going to be rough. I guess there are a couple of things that just don’t sit well with me on this photo. One of them is the point of focus. I said I liked how it turned out, but I think I’d be happier with a little more sharpness on the tip of that petal. The right side of it is slightly out of focus, and I think it would be a stronger photo if the entire tip was sharp as it trailed off to blurriness in the background. The other thing that doesn’t sit well with me is the overall composition — but I can’t figure out what it is that’s bothering me. I thought it might look better if the entire flower was shifted upward in the frame, but I tried that in Photoshop and I didn’t like it. Maybe a shift to the left or right… I don’t know. Or maybe it’s missing something in the frame; like something to fill in some of the blackness — maybe some texture or something… again, I don’t know. These are the things that don’t quite sit well with me, but I can’t put my finger on the exact problem.


Part of Mike’s project involves deciding if you’re open to the critique of others. Typically I don’t invite the masses to critique my work, because I end up getting a lot of technical advice on an artistic piece from people who missed the point of the photo entirely. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind comments and critiques from other photographers with whom I have some sort of relationship — I just don’t care for the 30 second photo-bash from somebody who didn’t take the time to digest the photo.

That said, I’m going to break stride and declare this photo available for open critique — even if I have no idea who you are, and even if it’s a 30 second photo-bash. Now go on, tell me what you really think about it — no hard feelings, I swear.

My Favorite Photo and Background Story

Jim Goldstein at JMG-Galleries is running a photography blog project with the topic being your Favorite Photo and Background Story. The deadline is May 18th, so there’s still plenty of time for you get over there and check out the rules — all you need is a blog, a favorite photo, and a story that goes with it.

Under the Weather

I’ve posted this one before (about 1 month ago), but I’ll add a bit to what was in the previous post. Also, you can see how I did the editing in that previous post.

This photo is one of my New York photos that turned out pretty good, and I wasn’t really expecting it to. I took this shot while standing on the Staten Island Ferry as I was returning to Manhattan. My brother was out visiting from Idaho, and I was showing him around the city. I was a little upset because of the weather, but now I’m actually glad it wasn’t sunny and dry — otherwise this shot wouldn’t have happened. It was kind of a cold drizzly day with low cloud cover and a bit of fog and light rain. Luckily it wasn’t too dark out because I was shooting handheld on a moving boat zoomed in at 200mm (that’s like a triple offense or something), but I managed to squeak out a shutter speed of 1/200 seconds with a decent aperture. I was also standing on the front of the boat, kind of tucked back into the overhang to avoid the rain drops trying to get at my lens. I managed to get a few shots off before a gust of wind blew water all over the front of the camera.

I composed the shot in the vertical direction so that the low clouds and the water would occupy about the same amount of space within the frame. This would effectively center the background of hazed out buildings. I did my horizontal composition to offset the boat just slightly from the center, giving it extra room in the direction is was heading. This all took several tries since I was wobbling around on a boat, but I finally got one that turned out just right. This shot wasn’t rotated or cropped in the post-processing — just a black & white conversion.

There are several elements of this photo that make it my favorite. The fog and low cloud cover was just thick enough to fade out the buildings and bring focus to the boat. The long focal length compresses the perceived distance between the boat and the buildings, making the boat appear larger and closer to the shore than it really was. I like the dark tones and amount of contrast in the boat as compared to the washed out background. And I like the small amount of exhaust smoke rising from the top of the boat, just barely visible. Aside from those things, I suppose the main reason it’s my favorite is because I never imagined that it would turn out well because of the conditions — I actually didn’t touch it in Photoshop for the longest time because it just didn’t do anything for me. I gave it a chance in black & white, and I was hooked from that moment forward.

Photo by Brian Auer
06/26/06 New York, NY
Under the Weather
Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D
Konica Minolta AF DT 18-200
300mm equiv * f/8 * 1/200s * ISO100

Dandelion Dandy

Big beautiful spring flowers are great for macro photography, with their brilliant colors and interesting shapes. I was in the mood for taking some macro shots, and I wanted a bit of a challenge. So rather than shooting some brilliant spring flowers, I chose to challenge myself by shooting an everyday weed. My goal was to capture the pesky dandelion in a non-typical way. I picked the flower, brought it inside, and set it on a black background. I set up next to my south-facing sliding glass door in order to utilize the available light. I also placed a white foam board on the back side of the flower to get a little more even lighting. I set up the tripod with the macro lens set to full magnification and started shooting away. With the composition of this photo, I tried a couple different apertures to vary the depth of field, but I settled on an f-number of f/32 because I thought it looked better in full focus. I ended up with a couple other compositions I liked, but this one was my favorite.


The JPEG (1) of this photo turned out pretty bright and contrasty, but it was a bit cool on the white balance. You can see the background material actually came out sort of blue rather than black. The RAW file (2) was processed to fix this, though I might have gone a little too far. The first thing I did was a curves adjustment (3) to get some of the contrast back from the RAW file. Then I Isolated the flower from the background by using the red channel to create an advanced layer mask. I applied the mask to a levels adjustment (4) and forced the background canvas to go black. Then another minor curves adjustment (5) on the entire image. I then sharpened the image (6) and masked using a soft brush at 10% opacity along the interfaces between the petals and the background in order to reduce the halo effect from the sharpening. I wasn’t happy with the color of the image (seemed too orange to me), so I applied a yellow photo filter (7) at 100% while preserving the luminosity. The last thing I did was some burning with a curves adjustment and a layer mask (8). I did some very selective burning around the center of the flower to give it more contrast and perceived sharpness.


Photo by Brian Auer
04/29/07 Flemington, NJ
Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D
Sigma MACRO 105mm f/2.8 EX DG
158mm equiv * f/32 * 4.0s * ISO100

Golden Hyacinth

Here’s another photo of the purple hyacinth flowers in my backyard, but now they’ve opened up a little since the last time I shot them. I took this photo with the intent of leaving most of the subject blurry, so I shot at f/2.8 — wide open on my macro lens. I focused (by moving the camera) to leave only the tip of the closest petal sharp. I framed it vertical because the flower was pointing upward, and I intentionally cut off parts of the flower from both sides because it looked better to me that way. The only thing I wish I would have done differently is place the subject a little higher in the frame — but it’s not completely terrible now.

Golden Hyacinth

The editing on this photo was part intentional and part accidental (I’ll get to that). The JPEG image (1) turned out okay, but you can see that the white balance is a little warm and the dynamic range is not wide enough for this photo — the highlights and shadows are both clipped a little bit. You can see from the RAW conversion (2) in Adobe’s ACR that I managed to save the highlights and fix the colors. The bright spots on the nearest petal was a little too bright for me, so I painted in some color (3) on an additional layer to dull it down a little bit and prevent it from being distracting. Then the whole image got a curves adjustment layer in Photoshop CS3 to darken it (4) — I tried going bright, contrasty, dark, and I liked the dark photo the best. The next layer was a slight dodging (5) done with a curves adjustment layer and a mask, followed by a slight burning (6) with another curves adjustment layer and a mask. The mask on these adjustment layers started off completely black, and I used a soft brush with 5% opacity to paint in some white on the mask. The next step is where the accident happened. I opened up the channels palette to turn a layer mask visible (to check on something), and I accidentally turned off the blue channel instead. The while image went from purple to gold! I actually liked it, so I decided to apply this effect to the photo. To turn off the blue channel (7), I applied a channel mixer adjustment layer, I went into the blue channel output, and I pulled the blue slider from 100% to 0%. Presto! Then I went back and did a few touch-ups to my burning and dodging adjustment layer masks. The last step was a targeted sharpening (8) with the unsharp mask on a copy of the merged layer output. I masked the sharpened layer and painted in the sharpness just on the tip of the closest petal. Done!

Golden Hyacinth

Photo by Brian Auer
04/14/07 Flemington, NJ
Golden Hyacinth
Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D
Sigma MACRO 105mm f/2.8 EX DG
158mm equiv * f/2.8 * 1/30s * ISO100

Purple Hyacinth

Here’s another flower from my backyard: a purple hyacinth (somebody correct me if I’m wrong). I just got out and shot by hand because it’s a short plant — so I got on my stomach and rested my hands on the ground. Once again, we’re overcast today so no harsh shadows. With spring coming so quickly, I wanted to get some shots of these flowers before they opened up all the way. I took most of my shots with a fairly wide aperture because I wanted to try for a blurred shot that was a little more abstract. Plus it wasn’t that light out and I didn’t have much of a choice.

Purple Hyacinth

I did my basic editing in Adobe Camera RAW to get the exposures and colors pretty close. Then I applied a curves adjustment layer to the entire image (no mask) to brighten it up a little bit. Then I created two duplicate layers of the merged image. The first layer (2nd down on the stack) I blurred using a Gaussian blur at 25 pixels to completely soften the image. Then I blended the 2nd duplicate layer (top of the stack) using a Lighten blend at 70% opacity. This helped to lighten up some of the darker spots and give the rest of the image a bit of a glow. That’s it, no sharpening on this photo!

I was trying to get the Michael Brown look in this photo, but I don’t think I completely succeeded. He’s too darn good at this macro stuff, check out his blog if you haven’t seen his work yet — the guy is truly an artist.

Purple Hyacinth

Photo by Brian Auer
04/06/07 Flemington, NJ
Purple Hyacinth
Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D
Sigma MACRO 105mm f/2.8 EX DG
158mm equiv * f/3.5 * 1/45s * ISO100

Glowing Daffodil

This was another photo taken using the method I talked about in my post Indoor Macro Photography Project for Rainy Days. It’s the same miniature daffodil as some of my other photos, but I decided to go black and white with this one. I also decided prior to editing that I wanted the photo to be a bit high-key and soft. The image below shows each step in the editing process — click for a larger view.

Glowing Daffodil

I started this one off by converting to black and white using the Photoshop CS3 Black & White adjustment layer. I applied 220% red, 100% yellow, 85% green, 175% cyan, 50% blue, and 0% magenta. This brightened up the petals quite a bit while brightening the trumpet even more. Then I adjusted the levels by bringing the graypoint to 1.14, which lessened the contrast a bit. After this, I applied four curves adjustments for both brightening and darkening, and I used masks to target certain areas and give the trumpet more contrasting tones to help create depth. Then I merged a copy into two new layers and applied a Gaussian blur of 16 pixels to soften the first layer. The second layer (on the very top) was blended into the blurred layer using a “Lighten” blend at 100% opacity and 100% fill. This step brought back some of the sharpness while brightening the highlights to create that sparkly look — it has more of an impact on the full size image.

Glowing Daffodil

Photo by Brian Auer
04/01/07 Flemington, NJ
Glowing Daffodil
Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D
Sigma MACRO 105mm f/2.8 EX DG
158mm equiv * f/32 * 15s * ISO100

Miniature Daffodil on Blue

This photo was taken using the method I’ve outlined in my post titled Indoor Macro Photography Project for Rainy Days. It’s a miniature daffodil I took from my backyard and brought inside to photograph using my macro lens.

I didn’t do any major editing with this one, just some color correction and curves adjustments — 4 curves adjustments to be exact. One for an initial adjustment, one for the highlights, one for the shadows, and one for a final adjustment. The two curves adjustments were coupled with layer masks and blacked out to start. Then I “painted” in the extra highlights and shadows by brushing onto the masks — kind of like a non-destructive dodging and burning, except I could go back and modify the intensity by editing the curves adjustment layer. The final step was a slight sharpening using the LAB method I outlined in my post titled Photo Sharpening Techniques.

Miniature Daffodil on Blue

Photo by Brian Auer
04/01/07 Flemington, NJ
Miniature Daffodil on Blue
Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D
Sigma MACRO 105mm f/2.8 EX DG
158mm equiv * f/32 * 15s * ISO100