Here are some more photo tips. I probably could've done a better job on this, but I'm quite tired right now. I hope you find it helpful anyway.
Also, I feel bad using examples from my own gallery, but I'm tired and it required less effort.
If you haven't read my first article yet, here's the link.Photo Tips #1 - Small things that make big differencesCarly's Photography Tips - Setting up a Macro Shoot
I will start off with a few disjointed thoughts:
I am a firm believer that it is possible to take a beautiful photo of absolutely anything. But that being said, I do not believe that any one person can take a beautiful photo of absolutely anything. We all have a different vision; we all see the world differently, and there are certain 'ordinary' things that strike some people more than others. Now I don't say this to discourage, and I certainly don't want anyone to limit themselves, this is just a personal belief of mine that seems to prove itself true on many occasions.
One of my favorite parts of being a photographer is the adventure; pulling myself out of the house and climbing a mountain, or scrambling over rocks alongside a river and encountering a wild animal. If you are able to go out into the world and find a subject that is indesputably extraordinary, then by all means do so. I believe this is a big part of photography; the willingness to go out into the world and experience incredible things.
Be that as it may, I think it is just as important to be constantly pushing your limitations as an artist; trying to create an incredible work of art from something that may be percieved as insignificant or even ugly when viewed from an ordinary perspective.
This is something that I see attempted very often by beginning photographers; a photo of some window blinds, or a cup, or a pencil, etc. Now all of these objects have potential to be gorgeous, but on their own, the majority of people would see them as quite ordinary. So the trick is to bring your vision to life; take the ordinary and make it extraordinary. This can very rarely be achieved by just photographing the item, because all you're viewer is going to see is a boring old object that they encounter every day. You need to bring it to life, to make it unique. Here is the typical method I have for setting up a shoot, but remember, it's up to you to draw a little something extra out of that artistic little brain and truly make it yours.Creating the illusion: make an environment for your subject
It is very rarely advisable to photograph your object on the carpet, or your desk or kitchen table. This is going to leave you with tons of distractions, and frankly quite a boring and expected atmosphere. So the trick is to create a beautiful background for your subject. You can start by propping up a piece of posterboard to create a solid, single colored background. If you're going for simplicity, leave it as is, but if you're looking to spruce it up a bit, then use some supplementary objects to create multiple colors, textures, or bokeh.
The first photo was taken using just a regular piece of posterboard. In the second photo, I used a sheet of blue bubblewrap to create bokeh. In the third photo, I placed a flower behind the subject to create a background with multipled shades and hues. As long as you set your camera to a wide aperture, creating a beautiful, distraction free background isn't too difficult, and is really quite fun to experiment with. Using glitter, or a piece of glitter posterboard, will create a background with very small and plentiful bokeh. The bubblewrap that I used creates a larger, more sporadic bokeh. Any wide object that has multiple colors (but isn't too complicated and distracting) can be used to create a multi-colored background. Just keep in mind the effect that you're going for with your photo, and remember that the majority of the time, less is more.Attention to detail: Don't forget the basic rules of photography
In lieu of actually writing these out, I will refer you to my other article: Photography Tips - Small things that make big differences.
However, one thing that I did not mention in that article is lighting. Since shots like this are typically done indoors, the lighting you'll have to work with will usually be insufficient on it's own. If you're shooting during the day, open up some blinds and find a spot with nice, strong natural light. When shooting without daylight, I typically like to use a desk lamp. Using a lamp on it's own will usually create harsh shadows, so it's advisable to place a piece of thin cloth or tissue paper over it to make your lighting a bit more diffused. (Be careful not to set anything on fire though, some lamps get really hot!)
And of course, make sure you're utilizing your camera's settings properly to get a good, even exposure. In this sense, you also need to know your camera very well, as electronics tend to have their own little quirks. I know that on my camera screen, the image appears more underexposed than is actually is. I've taken many photos where I thought I had a good exposure, but when I uploaded it to my computer it was actually a bit too bright. Strong lighting and an even exposure can be the defining difference between a stunning image and an amateur image.
It is also important to pay particular attention to your angle in a macro photo. Since you're working on such a small scale, even a slight change in angle can completely transform your image. Experiment with your angle to portray your subject in a unique light, and make sure to fill your frame!Concept: Bringing your vision to life
Ask yourself what it is about this item that is beautiful, and find a way to physically portray that thought. Maybe instead of just photographing a paintbrush or pencil, find a way to portray the creation that comes from these objects. This isn't something that has to be done every time, but typically, a photograph with a concept/story behind it is going to have a greater impact than a photograph without one. This also isn't something that can really be taught; these ideas have to come from your own artistic inspiration. Just keep your mind open and don't be afraid to try things that may be a bit outside of the box.
Here are a few examples from my gallery of portraying a concept using an ordinary object:
Thanks very much for reading!