Colourful & Creative Potpourri Macro Photography Tutorial

Colourful & Creative Potpourri Macro Photography Tutorial

March 3, 2020 20 By Bernardo Ryan


I n today’s macro photography tutorial
we’re shooting potpourri this stuff smells amazing it’s really nice to have
around your house but for macro photographers it’s a really great
subject because it’s got such a huge variety of different shapes sizes and
textures to get to grips with using our macro lenses I’m going to get my camera
out and I’ll see you in just a sec to get started hi guys i’m ben from adaptalux and
welcome to a brand new year before we get started with today’s shoot which is
potpourri i just wanted to say a massive thank you to everybody that supported us
in 2019 it was a really great year for us due in no small part to everybody
watching our videos liking commenting subscribing and just joining in the fun
now we’ve got a lot more content to come in 2020 so if you haven’t already
subscribed now would be a great time to do that so that you don’t miss out on
any videos coming in the next year for now let’s talk about today’s subject
which is potpourri i’ve got lots of really interesting little pieces of
potpourri that i want to put in front of the macro lens and see what they look
like now your potpourri at home if you’re going to follow along might be a
little bit different to mine that is kind of the nature of the stuff it’s all
different and that’s going to give us a really great variety of subjects to
shoot and explore using our macro lens using some creative colored lighting all
of this potpourri that I’ve got is pretty colourless so I’m going to be
adding a little bit of colour using our light I’m going to jump in get my
macro lens out and start looking at some of this potpourri todays setup isn’t going to be too
complicated or elaborate or anything too specific we’ve just got a fairly
standard camera in the Nikon d5600 i’ve got 100mm macro lens on the front
there and i’m just going to be popping it onto my tripod so that i’ve got both
of my hands to take my subjects and manipulate them in front of the lens
which is going to be taking an initial look at our potpourri and exploring what
we can actually do with it we’re going to need some lighting in order to do
that so I’ve got the Adaptalux Studio here just on a little mini tripod and
I’ve got a single white lighting arm that I’m just going to plug in here just
so that we can get a little bit of light onto our subject so how subjects I’ve
got a big pot of potpourri here all different varieties of bits and bobs so
I’m just going to grab a few of them put them in front of the lens and see if
there’s anything interesting that we can then explore a little bit more firstly
I’m taking a look at this big ball of sticks of twine all tangled together I
think this is going to make some really interesting abstract shots especially if
we can introduce some color I’m going to pop this down in front of my camera and
take a look at what this looks like just using a single white light now it’s not
particularly interesting at this point but I think if we start moving our
lighting around adding some diffusion and some colors this could be really
interesting so I’m going to put that to the side and we’ll experiment with it in
just a second next up I’ve got a big curly piece of wood which has a big curl
in the middle and then some interesting ridges on the outside let’s pop this
down in front of the camera and see what it looks like up close we do you need
to focus in a little bit there but you can see that those ridges are really
interesting if I move my lighting around a little bit and compensate for the
brightness you can see that we’re going to get some really interesting shadows
coming off this Ridge probably the same for the little curl in
the middle that I bet we can do some really cool effects using some colors
maybe some diffused lights in the background there but it’s definitely
worth experimenting so I’m going to put that one to the side as well and pick
another piece of potpourri out of my pot this one looks like some sort of dried
plant potentially a seed pod of some sort at some point if you recognize what
this is definitely let me know down in the comments because it’s one of the
more interesting ones at at first glance as I place this down on the table here I
can see that we’ve got quite an interesting texture on the front of
those let’s call them dried leaves for now they do look quite similar to the
dried leaves video that we that we shot and I’m wondering if we shine some light
through the actual leaves themselves whether they’ll behave in the same way
that they did in that previous video and yeah it looks like we’re gonna get some
really interesting effects as we shine light through this thin organic material
I’m definitely putting that one to the side so that we can try out some colors
and interesting effects later on next up we have this nut which seems to have
been painted white probably for decorative purposes but let’s put it in
front of the camera and see if the textures on this surface are something
worth investigating further now that does look pretty cool but I think with
some lighting coming in from the side it would probably look even cooler coming
in from the back there it looks almost like a planet or a moon it reminds me
of the shots that we were taking of marbles creating solar systems by using
a single white light and shining on two different types of marbles now because
we’ve already done that I’ll link that video up there if you want to go and
check out some shots of small round pieces like this I’m not going to spend
too much time shooting this one today let’s move on to another piece of
potpourri next up we have these little pieces of wood which have a bark on one
side and then on the inside it’s quite a soft wood with lots of fibers and lots
of texture on the side let’s pop it down in front of our camera and see what we
can see now that’s looking pretty cool just from the outset picking up on those
fibers is going to be really interesting but I noticed that there’s a little bit
of texture on this front engine as well so it might be quite cool to shine
lights in from the side and pick up on all of this texture and detail on the
edge of the piece of wood I’m sure there’s some of you at this point in the
video are already thinking just get on with it take some pictures show as the
results but I wanted to make a point of showing you this little process because
I think it’s pretty important especially for new photographers people that are
new to macro photography in particular and anybody that’s starting out shooting
a new subject for the first time simply putting some subjects in front of the
camera in for just a few seconds with some basic lighting can really give you
some inspiration some ideas about what you’d like to focus on I don’t think
there’s much point in wasting time on something that’s never going to look
really good so you want to find your ideas really quickly focus down on
something that you want to achieve now I found these subjects to be really
interesting so I’m going to try a lot of different things but I might find that
one of those things captures my interest more than the others and I’ll focus down
on that if you guys just want to experiment then by all means just keep
putting things in front of the camera and keep experimenting for now I am
actually going to take some pictures and I’ll try and show you exactly what I did
for each one of them and my thought process behind them so firstly I’ve been playing around with
this little ball of sticks now something that I notice in those initial shots was
that that white light was kind of harsh and that I want to get some difference
between the foreground their sticks on the front of the ball and the background
the sticks on the back of the ball so what I’ve done is introduce some color
I’ve got a red color filter on my white lighting arm and then Ive plugged in a
blue lighting arm with just a diffuser on the front of there to give us some
blue color now this together doesn’t do very much until you start placing these
in different positions on your ball of of sticks so I’ll just hit record here
and show you some of the difference that this makes as you move the light around
your your subject you can create a lot of different effects with something like
this you can also change your focus so focusing in on the front sticks is one
thing but you can then go and focus in on the back sticks you can go and move
your subject around to find interesting compositions this is a pretty tricky
subject to get your composition to be not too abstract not too conventional
but just in the middle there where you’ve got something eye-catching I’m
going to keep playing around with this a little bit more change my colors around
maybe and definitely play around with the light a lot more on the background
of the sticks see if I can’t get some really interesting effects going on I’m finding that this stuff because it’s
so colourless we’ve got some really great opportunities to play around with
different colors and especially with the ones that have a lot of relief on the
surface a lot of texture it’s great to play around with shadows as well right
now I’m taking a look at this curled piece of wood but I’m not taking
a look at the curl I’m taking a look at this texture that we have on the back
it’s quite it’s quite a rough texture and it’s also a pattern so I think
that’s going to create some really interesting images if we can get our
lighting right I’m just going to place this roughly in focus here and you can
see that because my white light is coming from the side as opposed to the
front is creating these really deep shadows along those ridges that in
itself is really interesting but what happens if we start to add some color as
well because we’ve got no light in those recesses we can play around with adding
a little bit of color I’ve got a green lighting arm plugged in here and as I
bring it in just very slowly with a diffuser we can get a little bit of
green into those shadowy areas and almost bring this dead dry piece of wood
back to life it’s going to give it a little bit of green again giving it a
bit of an organic feel you could even sort of make it look a little bit like
dragon scales or something quite surreal like that changing the color filters
around also gives it a really cool effect but I want to flip this piece
over now and try and investigate the inside of this little curl I think we
can get some really smooth lighting effects in this background while getting
a nice sharp image of the little flick at the front so having flipped over my little my
little piece of wood I found that it actually looked kind of a little bit
like a shell so I really wanted to exaggerate that curve with a little bit
of lighting again trying to separate out the foreground from the background so
what I’ve done is I’ve actually moved my studio underneath my glass coffee table
I’ve brought one lighting arm up and around over the top and that’s a red
lighting arm with a white diffuser on the end and then I’ve brought a green
lighting arm underneath the table shining up through the glass now this is
giving me a really unique look on my on my piece of wood making it almost seem
like it’s glowing from the inside I want to take this go a little bit further and
see if I can’t get some blues and greens in there as well to emphasize that sort
of seashell underwater look in almost a fantasy type way my next subject out
of the pot of potpourri are these little pieces of wood on one side we’ve got
some some bark on the other side it’s got a nice texture with some fibers
coming off the sides and then a texture on there on the edge of the wood as well
all of this put together creates a really really varied subject just in
this one little piece of wood we can take a look at the fibers we can take a
look at the end and we can take a look at the bark now choosing where to focus
is going to be up to you it’s going to be up to your specific subject I’ve got
a little piece here with a bit of a fissure on the end and when I introduced
some Reds lights and some orange light it almost looked volcanic like dropping
off the edge of a crevasse down into a lava lake or something like that using
your imagination is clearly a big part of finding some interesting shots in
subjects like this I’m going to keep experimenting with these and see if I
can’t come out with some even more interesting images on to the final subject of this
potpourri shoot then and what I think is the most interesting as well the little
seed pod slash dried out flower whatever it is it’s really really interesting
when you get some bright white lights shining behind the subject what I’ve
done here is put the little seed pod into a clamp so that I can stand it
upright I’ve got my camera nice and level with the front of those leaves so
that I can get them all in focus and then I’ve brought two lighting arm-s’s
which are our brighter version of a normal white lighting arm I brought them
in from the back shining on the backside of two of the leaves of the petals
that are pointing outwards almost like this what that’s doing is actually
allowing us to see through those petals bringing out all of the detail as the
light shines through it’s definitely worth checking out whether any of your
subjects are slightly translucent because shining a bright light through
them can create some really interesting effects if you want to see some more
images and the full process of going through getting shots like this
definitely go and check out our dried leaves video and even our normal leaves
video because we spend a lot of time shining lights through leaves there to
pick up on all of the missing detail that’s hidden when you’re not shining a
light straight through your subject once again we found an amazing macro
photography subject in a pretty common household item potpourri is a really
cool subject that you guys can shoot at home with very little effort all you
need is some thought behind your composition and your lighting and you’re
going to get some really cool images and I think I’ve said the words cool and
interesting about a thousand times during this video because that’s exactly
what it is when you get up close using your macro lens seeing that detail
that you can’t see with the naked eye certainly my eyes which aren’t very good
then you very quickly reminded how popular macro photography is simply for
that ability to see the unseen if you enjoyed this video as much as I enjoyed
making it do leave a like down below and leave a comment to let me know how you
get on shooting your own potpourri also don’t forget to subscribe for all of
those new videos coming in 2020 now though guys thank you so much for
watching and I’ll see you next time