Enhancing Texture and Better lighting in Your Photography

There is very much to discover in taking photographs. Not only do we require to master our camera but we should recognize how lighting manifests as a photo. We need to comprehend how light works for the reason that we can utilize this wisdom to create spectacular photos. Beautiful images refers to clarity, power, colour and tone.

A most ideal way to turn out to be expert in photography is to start photographing various surfaces of different things. Different textures will include wood, metal, trees and terracotta. These types of materials can really highlight intensity and an interesting light very rapidly and effortlessly. We can discover a lot through shooting these surfaces of different things. Once we get the right light to draw attention to these textures our photos suddenly have intensity and come to life. You can prove these textures a number of ways. I recommend photographing these attractive textures with well-balanced light spread evenly right through your image. If you are unable to get evenly spread lighting then shadows may work to an advantage.

A very good photo that has fascinating textures are dried plants drapped over a timber exterior. You can wait until the sunlight has gone down in the sky to get some shadow areas underneath the plants. You may discover that your shadow areas becomes part your placement of subjects within the photo. What this will mean is that shadows can work to your advantage.

A pastoral look and feel is a wonderful place to start. Photographing aged wooden fence posts with nails and wires can certainly bring wood as a texture to life. You see what we want is make the wood and the nails look so they look authentic. In other words make it stand out by increasing the depth of the photo. We would like the viewer to think like they can reach out and touch the texture.

In order to create this realism in your picture making you need to construct a little list of things to shoot. The fence line and nails are a terrific starting point. You may also like to photograph contrast in textures such as metal and wood. A metallic band wrapped over a wooden fence post can make for a good picture. A distinction in different textures such as this can be shot in an antique tone and monochrome for extra effect. They can also be shot in a variety of other tones that you can make up yourself in Photoshop or Lightroom.

What is a tone? A tone relates to light and colour. Saturdated colour, deep tones mean that your image may have a lot of black and grey, deep yellow and deep orange to it. Light tones may mean that your shot has lots of shades of pale shades. In rural photography, where we want to shoot breathtaking textures, we often find that saturated tones are a factor.

Deep tones can accentuate the shadow. In order for your shots to look like they have real live texture then we should draw attention to the intensity and light range within your image. You may choose a deep or shady tone to give that nail more rust or that metallic band around the wood more brightness.

When we use more contrast in our pastoral photography we get a better looking surface. This is since the a distinction in the light brings up the detail of the surface of the textured subject. The lighting works to bring out the finer details in the light parts and deepen the shadow in the dark areas.

A key to creating thriving textured surfaces is to keep your composition simple. Genuine textures, such as trees and wood, work best when there is nothing to clutter the shot. Simply shoot the main subject and make sure there are no distracting elements in the backdrop or the forefront. Once you’ve taken this you can work to boost the contrast, perfect the light and intensify the tones. There is nothing more distracting than a messy shot.


Old abandoned cars are an example of how you can create wonderful textures in your photography. When my husband and I were traveling to a country town we stumbled across an old abandoned utility. This vehicle was from either the 1940s or the 1950s. It looked like it had been forgotten about for for years and years. As soon as I saw this car I became very enthusiastic. The second I saw it I knew I wanted a monochrome.

I knew that the steel, oxidation and discolored paint would look absolutely fantastic in antique. Once I took a string of photos of the old vehicle I then opened the photo in Lightroom. I boosted the white and highlights, amplified the blacks, and played around with the tone curve. What does this signify? It simply means that I manipulated the tone of the photograph to highlight the fascinating points of the car. I wanted to increase the illuiminent steel against a gentle, natural backdrop. Once you amend the light all of a sudden your different textures come to life.

Depending on how you want your textures to appear, you can use brilliant or filtered light. Soft luminosity is always best because it supplies us more choices in the long run. Bright light can produce highlights and shadows that put emphasis on contrast. This can actually work to your advantage.

Filtered light can work very well for surfaces of different things because it accentuates the detail. it can give your texture a more three dimensional look. If you are photographing an old fence post then the lack of bright will bring out the detail of the wood. You will get to see the designs, outline and shapes of your texture a lot more in gentle light. In harsh bright sunlight you may miss these fine points completely.


If you want to capture gorgeous different textures and not be troubled about the tiny features, then a country scene with excellent differences between light and dark may work beautifully. A fence line sitting in overgrown grass can be a wonderful textured image to begin with. Once you angle the camera so that the fence line is running into the distance you not only have superb textures but you have great composition.

There are a lot more things you can do to draw attention to your textures. There is a cell phone application identified as Instagram. It has recently hooked up with Lightroom. This is a marvellous thing! Instagram is an app that generates antique, sepia, black-and-white and the whole other number of tones for your pictures.

Instagram gives you the option of antique tones. In other words if you apply an antique tone over your image it looks like it was captured in 1977. Once Instagram meets Lightroom, you have the alternative of generating a special look and feel over your textured photographs.

Instagram also supplies you the selection of different borders. You can have a stark deep black border to emphasize the deep hues and tones in a photo of dried golden leaves. Or, you can have a soft white border to match the muted tones of a photo of a car park. Or you may have no border whatsoever.

Remember that producing different textures is easy. Once you have photographed it then the fun begins. Make sure that you choose contrasting subjects like dead plants or shiny metal. Take photos of them at the same time. Then try improving the contrast and lighting of the image once you open it up in your prefered editing software program.

I recommend that you let originality and wonder be your guides. Open up your photograph in your favourite editing program and try a variety of different things. Boost the contrast, diminish the yellow, reduce the blue, alter the white balance etc. These are just examples of things that I tried when I was learning how to perfect my different textures in my photos. I got to a point where I understood what I loved and created many different alternatives for myself.

These various options I created gave my pictures a look and feel that I loved. Some were heavily saturated in deep yellows and warm tones. Some were a slight sepia, and some were a very high contrast in the monochrome medium. These lights, colours and looks, applied over rustic things, made my textures look amazing. Rusty fences took on a strong presence. Metallic bands wound securely over wooden fence posts seemed interesting and old. Hanging metal bells looked classic and timeless.

Just think about texture and daylight first. Then your editing comes afterward. Think about the light and how it interacts with your background to highlight physical surfaces. Think about in what way lighting acts and makes things seem different at different times of the day. Photograph various natural and man-made physical surfaces jointly. This will let you to explore contrast within your textures. The examination of light will enable you to photograph out the depth and the detail within the photograph. Then apply some simple editing. This will enable you to alter the tone. Changing the tone gives you the opportunity to generate some extraordinarily imaginative photographs.

This is an experiment in creative  pursuit. This is not about winning awards or being better than anyone else. This is about how this makes you feel. You can impress people later but to begin with learn to examine your light on how it works with the textures in your environment. Once you’ve shot this you can create extraordinary textured photographs. Have fun and happy shooting!


When The Sun Went Behind The Clouds…And The Natural Colour Came Out

A few hours later, in addition to my recent post, I noticed that the sky was pretty overcast and looked like it was about to rain.

Out I went again with my camera:

Photo copyright by Amy Renfrey

F 16
1/60 Shutter Speed
ISO 800
Focal Length 42mm
WB Auto

Photo copyright by Amy Renfrey

F 22
1/50 Shutter Speed
ISO 800
Focal Length 43mm
WB Auto

Photo copyright by Amy Renfrey

F 20
1/50 Shutter Speed
ISO 800
Focal Length 55mm
WB Auto

Photo Copyright by Amy Renfrey

F 20
1/60 Shutter Speed
ISO 800
Focal Length 55mm
WB Auto

Photo copyright by Amy Renfrey

This one above is the same rose, I’ve just played around with taking some red out of it to try and reflect the true colour. It’s much more true to life than the first.

I think I like these ones better than the first ones- the filtered light brought out the colours and softened the light. And the rose IS hot pink….vibrant hot pink, not red.

What do you think?

Now you see what I mean about working with light.

Happy shooting,

P.S All the photos on this page are copyright to Amy Renfrey.

Flower Photography- What To Do, What Not To Do

Can't Do With Out It

This morning, after a night of heavy rain, the sun shone through the scattered clouds and warmed the cool morning air. As I poured my regulation morning coffee, I shot a glance through my kitchen window and noticed how the sunlight seemed subdued, almost filtered. It was almost as if someone had turned down the intensity of the sun to allow for morning people like me, to get their bearings.

Doing photography for the past 8 years has taught me that subdued sunlight doesn’t happen all the time and is considered a fortunate thing. (It also happens to be Winter morning light too, which is why it looks so beautiful.) So I grabbed my camera and headed out to shoot the rose that’s starting to bloom. The one that I’ve been nurturing everyday so it will bloom for me.

When I lived in cold Melbourne, I never used to pray my roses would bloom. They just did, and abundantly I might add. But here in Queensland? Getting roses to grow is like, well, I don’t know what, but it a major pain in the butt.
It’s the climate change. My roses hated it. If they were people, they’d need a therapist to work out their issues. And they ‘d be peed off with me.

The problem with moving from a cold climate to a subtropical one is that the beautifully delicate, English cottage plants you love so much, wither and die in the intense sun. You are left with nothing but a brown stump where your best rose used to be. Amidst the frustration of this I decided I would not be beaten. Dammit, it I was going to have roses in my garden. So off to Bunnings I went.

(For those of you who do not know what Bunnings is, let me delight you. Bunnings is a gardeners paradise! Just think of anything associated with DIY home reno, gardening, planting, growing, mowing, busting your butt doing something around the house and Bunnings will have something to suit you. And the prices are dirt cheap. Righto, no plugs here, on with the story…)

Bear with me, I am getting to the photography part of all this.

I bought this stuff called “Sea Mungas.” Nope, not straight from the sea, but a brilliant “bring you back to life” fertiliser that seems to resurrect plants who are on their death-bed. Don’t ask me why it’s called “Sea Mungas”, I really don’t know.

“Ok, what the heck” I said pouring this stuff into the base of my beloved dead, brown stump of a rose and waited….

Within 4 weeks I was seeing tiny dark pink shoots spring forth from the dry, brown stick like rose plant. And within 4 weeks of that, look what sprung into life:

Beautiful Rose- Photo Copyright To Amy Renfrey

1/50 shutter speed
ISO 400
Focal Length 55mm
White Balance Auto

Ok so this is not a gardening blog, so how did I take this photo?

Well the first thing I did was examine the light I had to work with, that’s always the first thing you have to do before anything.

Secondly, I grabbed my camera, and thought about what types of shots I wanted. I aimed for nice clear close-ups without too much colour saturation. I can’t do much about the colour saturation because that’s the camera, and fortunately, not me.

Because the light was subdued, (I hope you were taking note of that), I chose a “middle of the road” ISO. Why? Well, simply because the sun was not blaring down and over exposing everything in sight, so I didn’t need to reduce the light sensitivity much. Also, there was sunlight present, so it would have been silly to whack it up to 1600. That would have potentially overexposed the picture.

Thirdly, I wanted detail and clarity so I stood in the way of the sun and shot the flower within my own shadow so the detail would be there. Plus I know how my camera behaves now, and it loves medium close up filtered shots it just likes it that way. Hey, I don’t argue with it, I just work with it.

Fourth and last point, because I was standing over the rose within 30 centimeters of it, without a tripod (because I was being a bit lazy) I knew that focus would be paramount. For this reason I made sure I had a relatively good shutter speed without diminishing the sharpness that a small aperture brings.

Photography is really about compromise sometimes. You gotta work with what you have got- especially outdoors. You can get the best lenses and camera gear in the world that make you look like you know what you are doing, but if you can’t work with light and be intelligent about it, then you are better off buying a point and shoot.

Sorry if you didn’t want to hear that, but it’s the truth. People hang a lot of expectation on the camera to do the performance for them, without being smart about working with light first. So do yourself a favour and be smart- work with light first, then get the gear.

This photo is copyrighted to Amy Renfrey

1/100 shutter speed
ISO 400
Focal Length 55mm
White Balance “Sunny”

Oh what the heck, I might as well put this one in too:

Maiden Hair- Picture copyright by Amy Renfrey

1/60 shutter speed
ISO 1600
Focal Length 55mm
White Balance “Sunny”.

And if anyone can tell me what this plant is, I’d be mighty grateful:

Photo Copyright By Amy Renfrey

1/60 shutter speed
ISO 1600
Focal Length 55mm
White Balance “Sunny”.

Flower Photography Video Tutorial

[splashcast CNOH1894DP]

How To Work With Flowers And Depth Of Field In Digital Photography

This week, I’ve had the privilege of being very busy with photography. Included in my great fortune was a question by a lovely gentleman by the name of Steve asking about depth of field. He asked me about taking photos of flowers and getting the “perfect depth of field.”

In an email to me, Steve explained “ I like to photograph flowers, very close. OK, no problem if the flower is fairly flat…needing very little depth of field. The problem occurred when I tried to get the outside and inside of a 1 and 1/2 inch flower at about 1 inch away. There is just not enough depth of field! Got any more ideas for me? Thanks again, Steve.”

If I am correct in my understanding, what Steve is asking is about getting a depth of field close enough for digital macro photography shots of flowers but not getting too close where the parts of the flower is in focus and parts are out of focus. Without actually seeing what he is referring to, I beleive I can help.

In digital macro photography and traditional macro photography taking photos can be a fine balance between distance and the camera lens. You certainly can take ideal macro shots but you need to look at the lenses you are using. If you are using a high magnification in your macro lenses then you will find your depth of field is shortened considerably. The more magnification you go in your digital photography lenses the less depth of field you have. The less magnification you have, the more depth of field you have and the more the camera will look further a field.

So what’s the answer? In my experience I have found that the right depth of field was obtained (take this picture for example) by taking off the “flower Setting” on auto, and using macro lenses instead. (You can certainly use the flower setting if you don’t have enough magnification in your lenses.) I used mag x 7 for this one. That means that I used one macro lens that screwed onto the front of my lens with a magnification of 1. I stood up close and realized I needed to be closer in, so I added another lens that was a magnification of 2. Hence magnification of 3. I felt I still wasn’t close enough so I used another lense with a magnification factor of 4 and then I was satisfied with my result. That’s when I ended up with beautiful magnification of 7.rose-2.jpg

Mag 7 is pretty close. The closer you are the sharper your nearest points will be, but you may find the depth of field is very touchy. What I mean buy that is that if you take a flower that’s 5cm across, the first section will be in focus which may only be the first centimeter, yet the rest of the flower will not. This is why you need to remember to experiement with taking the flower setting off and just using different macro lenses to give you the most accurate depth of field instead. The right magnification will create the right depth of field for you.

Don’t forget to use a tripod, or monopod. Outside even the slightest breeze can ruin your flower macro photo. Any slight movement, even you breathing accidentally on the flower, can blur the whole picture.

To summarise, its your lenses and distance of the camera that will provide the most accurate depth of field for your flower photography.

Happy shooting,

Amy Renfrey

Ten Tips For Working With Macro Digital Photography

Macro photography is a fun way to get close up shots look stunning. If you want to get technical, the real definition of macro is the image on the film or sensor being as big as the actual subject. In this case, the camera lens must have the capability to focus on an area as small as approximately 24x36mm because this size is the size of the image on the sensor. This is commonly referred to magnification of 1:1.

What makes macro photography so admired by many is that its intensely creative and powerfully flexible. You have many opportunities around you right now that exist for beautiful macro shots with your digital camera. And you don’t need expensive digital photography equipment to do it, in fact the secret is in your lens.

Before we get into lenses in full detail, if you’re starting out in macro this type pf photographic category can be a helpful starter to gaining new knowledge very quickly. You can learn new tricks and have fun experimenting in the comfort of your own home. Here are ten tips to getting sensationally clear, beautiful up close macro shots;

  1. Always use a tripod. It’s important to get yourself a good quality tripod. A poor quality tripod will slip, and won’t hold the camera steady. You will get a lot of use from your tripod, so see it as an investment. You can use a good tripod for table work too, which is ideal for taking macro shots of flowers in a vase in your own home.
  2. Look at your lens. Its very important to get some good extension from your lens when taking macro shots. If you already own a macro lens have a look at the 2x tele-converter to double its effective focal length. A tele-converter lens will work to provide greater maximum magnification at the minimum focusing distance.
  3. Use a shutter release cable. Using one of these very handy things will reduce any potential vibrations, movement or harmful blur. Add a self timer to your macro along with your shutter release cable to add razor sharpness to your images.
  4. Don’t forget your mirror lock-up if you have this available to reduce camera vibration, movement or blur even more.
  5. Remember that aperture affects depth of field. Using an aperture of between f16 and f32 is a good place to work with. You can also use a while aperture such as f2.8 which will give you a very shallow depth of field and then you can be very selective on what you want to focus on.
  6. For beautiful flowers or parts of trees or bushes, remember a windy day will just frustrated you as it will most likely create blur and it will be very hard to capture your flower well. Try cutting it off the branch (if possible) and bring it inside. You can peg it up or put it in a vase to keep it still and out of the wind.
  7. Keep a clean background in mind. A background with a lot of busyness is distracting. It will take the viewers eye off your main subject. Try a pure white background to emphasise cleanliness, or a pure black background to enhance bold colour. You can use neutral tones for macro such as pale blue or brown. All you have to do is use coloured paper.
  8. Break the rules. I have never listened to anyone when taking macro pictures. I love to take weird, unusual, totally abstract subjects to include in my macro collection. You can also use metal as an interesting subject. (Jewellery, pins, forks, spoons, etc.)
  9. If you don’t have adequate lighting then use your own. Don’t be afraid to use a lamp, or flash off-side, but not too close. You don’t want to overexpose your subject. You can try a torch if you like to create interesting shadows. And don’t forget black and white macro shots look fantastic too.
  10. If you use a low ISO such as ISO 50 for example, just remember you’ll get better results for your macro shots. Since you should be using a tripod, a low ISO should not hinder you. Its fine to use anywhere from ISO 50 to ISO 200 for your macro shots. Any higher and you’d be getting nosier images. I’ve always set the ISO to the lowest setting when dong macro, such as ISO 50. I would recommend to use a noise reduction filter on your camera if possible or you can use some very nifty tricks for reducing noise after the shot has been taken. (See my blog with article about reducing noise at: www.DigitalPhotography.WordPress.com) If possible try shooting in RAW mode for the absolute best in image control at the post process level.

You will get a lot of inspiration by looking at images from professional photographers. Look and learn and then find your own style.

By Amy Renfrey

How To Get Clarity In Your Macro Digital Photography

If you’ve ever wanted to get a really good, clear close up shots with your digital photography but haven’t had much luck then here’s a bit of good news.

There are a lot of wonderful aspects to digital photography and getting close up digital photos are one of them. When I say ‘close up’ I am talking about taking a digital photo with a very short depth of field. To understand how to get suburb results for close up digital photography I’ll first explain some of the photography terms so you can learn faster.

Here is a definition:

“Digital photography with images that are life size or larger.”

That’s a good description, lets look at another way to describe close up digital photography:

“A method of getting close-up pictures of a subject by using Marco accessories attached to the camera’s lens.”

This second close up digital photography definition is definitely worth learning. It simply means that when you are getting close up shots, the image is very large. In order to make something very large you simply zoom in right? Well yes and no. You can zoom in all you like but you need to get the digital photography image looking clear, not just large. And in order to understand how to get good, clear close up digital images we have to first work with our depth of field. (And just on digital zoom- I would recommend you zoom with an optical lens over a digital lens any day.)

Depth of field simply means taking two objects in your digital image, the furthest and the closest, and then seeing how much focus is there. In other words:

“The amount of distance between the nearest and farthest objects that appear in acceptably sharp focus in a photograph. Depth of field depends on the size of the aperture, the distance of the ca
mera from the subject, and the focal length of the lens. The bigger the aperture, the greater the depth of field.”

So in order to get good, clear close up digital photography images you first have to work with a short depth of field (only the closest thing is in focus) and add some macro lenses so your subject that is in focus retains sharpness and clarity.

In digital photography terms a macro lens is what gives you the clarity up close because it has the capability to focus extremely closely (like a magnifying glass would for your eyes) and the minute detail of your close up subject is in clear focus. You can usually fill the frame quite confidently, giving you an enhanced clear digital image.

You will notice on your digital camera setting the icon for flower. This setting is not only to take flowers, it is there so you can get a bit better focus up close than you would on your other setting such as a landscape setting.

What happens is the camera changes its focus from usually a fair way in front of it to abut 30 cm in front to get good clear digital photos up close.

So now I have told you the definitions and given you a basic understanding of what means what in close up terms, now I’m going to tell you how to get good, clear close up shots.

Firstly when ever you do macro photography consider your lenses carefully. They are sometimes called magnifiers, or magnifying lenses or macro lenses. Then work out how close in you really need to get and pick your lens accordingly. Don’t just get the standard pack of macro lenses because the shop assistant tells you to, get the right ones that fit your camera and that you can work with easily, in other words only spend what will give you the desired result.

Next understand that when working with a very short depth of field the less light there is on your subject. It’s a common problem with macro photography, so make sure you have a lot of light on your subject. It’s quite simple really, there is less space on something close up because of just that; it’s a smaller space. If you can’t light up your subject then try increasing your exposure. Open your aperture more to get the desired effect.

Thirdly always get the digital camera to help you. Just because you are now using a macro lens doesn’t mean you can’t still use the flower icon setting on your digital camera to increase the desired close up effect. On most digital cameras doing this makes macro photography a little easier as the camera “knows” what you are doing and aids you accordingly.

So there you have it- the beginnings of macro digital photography. Always get good lenses and make sure you have plenty of light and use the flower setting if you need to.

Macro digital photography is a lot of fun. You can black and white digital photography using abstract subjects- that’s always fun, and you can really get creative and experiment with some amazing effects.

Good luck!

Amy Renfrey