How to Photograph Texture and Detail in Nature Photography

For anyone considering experimenting with photography there are all sorts of possibilities for trying to document various textures. For instance, things such as timber can often present the photographer with a series of challenges and photographic examination. Whether the photos will be shot in full-color or in the black and white style it is significant to make a good “plan of attack” before beginning to shoot the images. This would incorporate visualizing the varieties of special effects and results preferred and then figuring out a few different techniques to capturing such pictures.
Let’s first consider photos of timber or wooden objects. Due to the fact this is an organic material many people may not consider bringing wood into their photographic set up for a photo session, but if we take just a moment to consider how timber might look we can understand how it would succeed in the “sterile” or cleaner setting of a studio surroundings.
Wood may be in the form of man-made subjects ranging from coloured pencils right through to home furniture to boxes and plates. It is also naturally occurring in driftwood and branches as well. A single branch or portion of bark will expose crevices, moss or lichen, and a huge number of special tones and finer details.
A photographer might want to document the numerous textures and tones in a part of driftwood using only the black and white settings on their digital camera, or they may instead rely on the color features to take photos of the texture and various color patterns in something like Tiger Maple. Clearly, this means that a range of approaches is needed, and choosing the right setup becomes vital to to be able to get truly stunning images.
So, how do you know the right line of attack to photographing wooden textures? It all depends on how creatively you examine your subject. That piece of driftwood could be photographed along the sandy beach where it was found; with the different tones of the wood and the textures of the sand finishing and where you place things in the photo. This same piece of wood, on the other hand, might be brought into the studio and set against a solid black or white setting where its swirls, lines, ridges, and different hues will become the whole scene as an alternative.
Irrespective of the type of wooden textures to be photographed and the choice between color or black and white, it is significant to keep in mind that sharpness in texture is the ultimate purpose. For this illustration we will return to that piece of driftwood and consider looking at it “up close” and also looking at it “au natural” with the camera.
If a photographer has decided to bring the wood into the photographic studio and  shoot the patterns and different textures that have organically occurred they are going to need to assess the accurate technique to do this. Should they photograph with a macro lens or should they use the identical approach as they would with up-close portrait photography? Generally, it is best to employ the zoom lens (such as put to use in a majority of portrait settings) to get a really wonderful variety of choices. If you prefer macro for such a photo you are going to have to really struggle with the lighting development, but the zoom lens will let the skilled photographer keep at a distance and really flood the timber with a vast deal of easily controlled lighting. This means that shadowed areas can be designed when required or they can be completely eradicated by the lighting setup too.

If we head outside to capture that piece of driftwood as it lies on the sands, we are going to have to consider the depth and value of its place in the shot. Is it wise that we position ourselves above it and just shoot down into its patterns? Is it better to juxtaposition it against the pale sands, the gray waters, and the pale blue sky? Should it be photographed in black and white? Some of these queries have more to do with a photographer’s individual preferences than anything else, but for the purpose of this conversation we will opt for the colour shot of the driftwood.

It is going to be an object in dark grey and black tones placed in a setting that is full of paler and softer colors. A photographer must use many of the equivalent procedures for this shot as they would for average landscape photography. This will mean that they will want to ensure that their foreground and backdrop are in the same focal depth as the subject, and they will need to make sure that the light of the setting is balanced. Implementing a polarizing filter can lessen some reflections off the water and the beach and keep the colors a bit cooler.
Obviously, these are just straightforward examples of how a solitary piece of wood can create an enormous series of photographic opportunities, but it is important for any photographer to bear in mind that their broad background environment is an ideal scene for experimentation.

Driftwood Grain Maze

Photo by Bart Hickman

About the Author

Amy is an multi-award winning photographer from Australia. She teaches enthusiast photographers how to take beautiful, professional photos in easy, plain English. She has a monthly photography emagazine and ebooks to help you create stunning images every time.

Comments (3)

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  1. Penni says:

    Love your ezine Amy, thanks!

  2. Benjamin Ard says:

    Interesting thoughts – thank you!

  3. Raj says:

    Thanks for the awesome tips Amy. Love your ezine by the way, best thing on photography that’s on the internet today.

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