Andy Hawthorne

Thoughts, stories and ideas

Closing in on Your Subject

This is about getting in close to your subject. Closing in to see the world around you in a different way. That doesn’t always mean macro photography. That’s something a bit different. Closeups are still fun, though. Here’s why…

Looking at ordinary, everyday stuff with your photographers eyes in shows you a whole new world. You will do some post processing of the photos you take. But the initial picture you see is where it all starts.

In the photo above, it’s my watch on charge. So what? Boring and ordinary, right?

I don’t think so. When you move in close you can see the simplicity of design, the clean lines and the precise placement of each component. Turn it greyscale and you get a stronger sense of those things. Closing in gives you options you might not have seen otherwise.


Here’s another example. A couple of spoons, nothing special, right?. I’d just washed them up. The metallic surfaces and the foam created an interesting set of shapes and patterns. That’s what caught my eye. Closing in on the spoons let me see that.

Again, the greyscale (or monochrome if your prefer) post processing has made for a strong symmetrical image.

Moving in close emphasises shape, form and patterns

While you are wondering about all the monochrome stuff…


Colour works too. But for me, only where the colour palette is simple. These apples caught my eye because the light was revealing the texture of the skin.

Sometimes, a moment in time helps the photograph you want. In this next shot, it was the shadow on the wall behind the pencils as much as the pencils themselves that caught my eye.


Seeing ordinary things in closeup does open up a world of new photographic subjects. You will learn stuff about depth of field. And you’ll learn to see shape, form and pattern more than you have before.

I took all the above photos with my 18-55mm kit lens set to 55mm. I used natural light, usually with f/5.6 aperture. Most DSLR cameras have a macro setting. I wouldn’t bother with that. Use aperture priority mode to get control over the depth of field.

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