The cream of my latest adventures!

Photo Experiment: Macro Photo Studio


In the end the Macro Photo Studio cost me as little as £3 (not counting the £5.20 I paid in parking and the petrol…). I managed to source the cardboard box from the office, tracing paper (or bakin parchment) from the kitchen, and scissors, carpet knife and tape from the cupboard.

In the end it was the background that would make or break the scene. Getting hold of those polystyrene boards was invaluable as you’ll see from the photos.

Looking through the house, I found a few interesting things I could use… Just like last time I used the 70-200mm F4 lens. I tried to source a macro lens, but not possible unfortunately.

In order to get as much detail as possible, which I got with a narrower apparture in my Aperture Experiment, I set the camera to aperture mode at the maximum of F32 and ISO 100. The variable was then the shutter speed.

Different Light Settings Shooting My Canon 18-55mm Lens

Firstly my kit 18-55mm Canon lens which I’m thinking of selling and replace with a better one – I don’t use it anyway. I took three different shots:

  1. Light coming from the left and right side of the light tent (left)
  2. Light coming only from the left (middle)
  3. Light coming from the left and top (right)

The photos below have not been altered. If wecompare this to the Orange Photo Experiment and Aperture Photo Experiment, it’s amazing how great it looks without any alterations!

Light from left and top

Left: Light from left and right - Middle: Light from left only - Right: Light from left and top - Aperture: F32 for all, Shutter Speed: 4, 5 and 5 (from left), ISO 100

The left and middle photographs look good with a really nice reflection in the polystyrene, but I must say I’m the most impressed with the effect of the top-down light effect creating a natural gradient where the board is bent. This is the kind of stuff you usually generate in Photoshop and try to make natural – with this method it’s already there. In the end, whichever picture I use when I sell the lens, I think it’ll make it more desirable than a normal photo like I used to take.

Beany Pig on Black Background

Why not photograph some fun things as well? I found this pig lying around and figured it’d make a nice subject for a test on the black background. The conclusion is: If you want to find out how much dust you actually have on your lens/sensor, take a picture against a plain background. I was shocked and will definitely need to clean the lens. This picture has had some dust removed and had a slight Level tweak. Other than that this is as it was shot.

Beany Pig on Black Background

Beany Pig on Black Background - Aperture: F32, Shutter Speed: 1.3s, ISO 100

The bottom line is I like this shot because it’s a fun subject exposed in my opinion really well. You also here have the gradient background, which gives it the extra edge.

The Pillars of Love

The idea for this shot is how love sometimes can be built on unstable foundations. I bought these blocks in Portebello Market in London a couple of years back as decoration for the living room. My girlfriend said I’d never find a use for them, but you were (for once) wrong sweetheart.

This is without doubt my favourite picture out of the set. It was really difficult to get the light correctly setup to give reflections so that you can clearly see that it says “LOVE”. Because the letter blocks were very dark against a very bright yellow background, it also required some post processing but only on the levels, brightening it up.

Pillars of Love

Pillars of Love - Aperture: 32, Shutter Speed: 1s, ISO 100

I love it! If you ask me it looks more professional than any shot I’ve taken before (in my opinion anyways). I’ll definitely be doing more macro shots, next time possibly with some movement – How about the love tower falling down? Will have to reduce the shutter speeds then🙂

You can see the photos at Torstein Langeland Photography on Smugmug. You can also see what the Macro Photo Studio looks like externally by going to previous posts Professional Make-Shift Macro Photo Studio and Macro Studio – The Making Of

3 responses

  1. Lars-Erik

    Hi Torstein!

    I really like your pics. I didn’t have the time to set up a micro macro studio this weekend, so I will try to do it some time next week. Too bad I left my tripod in Trondheim, I could really use it now …

    October 11, 2008 at 10:26 pm

  2. good6u

    At least now we know it works!🙂

    October 11, 2008 at 10:58 pm

  3. Pingback: Professional Make-Shift Macro Photo Studio? « Torstein’s Photo Blog

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