Shooting Closeups with Standard Lenses

Shooting Closeups with Standard Lenses
Shooting Closeups with Standard Lenses

Shilpa Kerur- Food Content Creator & Photographer

Hello guys! I am Shilpa, a food content creator based in Bangalore, India and the person behind my blog and Instagram page: Vanilla Trails.

A little about myself

I am an engineer by profession and quit a 9 year stint in the IT sector to  finally follow my passion for food. I discovered my love for food quite recently. Until 10 years ago, I didn’t even know I liked exploring new cuisines and flavours nor did I know that I was capable of cooking even rice let alone bake fancy desserts.

It was my love for baking and creating healthy recipes that began my journey of food photography. I wanted to be able to share these recipes and pictures with everyone.

A self taught baker and food photographer most of my knowledge is thanks to generous people who have shared their knowledge on their blogs and YouTube channels. Here is my humble attempt to share a few tips on shooting close ups with standard lenses that I have learnt along the way.

Shooting Closeups doesn’t have to be an expensive affair

We all love the magic of a good closeup shot- the beauty in the details that our eyes don’t commonly register.

For clicking a good closeup shot, one needs a macro lens. It lets you get closer to the subject, capture the details that our naked eye can’t even see. That’s why most of us find a close up shot so fascinating!

Macro lenses undoubtedly are the best way to capture a closeup. However when one is beginning their photography journey it may not always be the most economical option.

So what do you do if you love closeup shots and you don’t have a macro lens? Well, here are some things that will help you take beautiful close up pictures with your regular lens.

Things to keep in mind while shooting close-ups

The first thing to understand when you are trying to click closeups shots, is – the more enlarged an object more visible the details. So one has to focus on capturing as much details as possible to take a good close up shot. Here are some factors to consider.

Shooting Closeups with Standard Lenses-Tips & Tricks


Use a high F-stop number. This means that the aperture is high leading to a wider depth of field. Wide depth of field indicates that it keeps maximum things in the frame in focus. It is always a good idea to have as much detail of the object in focus as possible. Because when we see the object enlarged, which is what happens when we shoot close up, the details are that much more visible. Blurry closeups are hardly attractive. A good F-stop number to work with in this case, will be just 1 or 2 stops below the maximum value on your camera for that lens.

Light and ISO when shooting closeups

The second thing to consider while clicking closeup is to shoot in enough light, even if you want a moody feel to your pictures. Clicking in low light always affects the details. It will also require you to shoot with a higher ISO to increase the amount of light in the frame. But this in turn will introduce noise in the picture and the details will not be as sharp as needed for a closeup shot.

Tripod is key when shooting closeups

The next thing that helps big time is using a tripod. Clicking handheld can create a blur with even the slightest movement of our hands. A tripod ensures that there are no compromises in terms of sharpness because of any camera movement. This results in sharper images.

Minimum focus distance when shooting closeups

Another factor that plays a big role when trying to click closeup, is not to get too close to the subject physically when shooting.

What is Minimum Focus Distance?

Every lens has a minimum distance at which it can start to focus well. The minimum focus distance is the shortest distance at which a lens can focus. Set up your camera at the closest point from where you can clearly focus on the subject, without compromising the quality/sharpness.

Click pictures from this distance, even if it means you end up framing more area than needed. You can always crop out the unwanted details later.In this case, it is always good to crop the image to focus on the area you want. This ensures we do not miss out on those beautiful details and avoid distortion around the edges. 

Here are some examples of close up shots that have been well appreciated on my blog/instagram account along with  the EXIF data:

Shooting Closeups with Standard LensesBlueberries

Camera settings: F 22 | 8” | 50mm | ISO 200 

Shooting Closeups with Standard LensesCherries

Camera setting: F 18 | 2” | 50mm | ISO 100

Shooting Closeups with Standard LensesPopcorn

Camera settings: F 18 | 4” | 50mm | ISO 100

Shooting Closeups with Standard LensesSesame seeds

Camera settings: F 22 | 4” | 50mm | ISO 100 


One last thing to consider for good closeup pictures is post processing. While editing, do not be afraid to increase the sharpness and clarity just a little bit more. Also sometimes intensifying the shadows makes the image look sharper. So, play with various parameters while editing and see how you can increase the sharpness and intensify the details. And you are all set to create some beautiful closeup pictures!

For more such informative posts do follow my blog and instagram account:

Blog link:


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