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Book Review – Closeup Shooting: A Guide To Closeup, Tabletop and Macro Photography By Cyrill Harnischmacher

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According to the author's definition, closeup photography is a photograph taken at close range. Macro photography is a photograph where the subject has at least a 1:1 ratio with the photo negative. This means that the image is the same size or larger than the actual object. Since there is no predefined dividing line between the two, the author is treating both, along with tabletop photography, in the same vein.

Closeup Shooting breaks down into 28 sections that I will classify as short chapters. They are not so much chapters as much as they are focuses within the scope of closeup photography. I will break down the sections into five areas. The titles I give these sections are my own and do not appear in the book, but I think they will give you the idea of how the book flows. The whole book is 122 full color pages in length.

Chapters 1 and 2, "The basics", cover "what is closeup photography". Here you will learn many of the technical details, such as magnification ratio and circles of confusion. You will see how depth of field, aperture and shutter speeds affects the closeup. You will also learn about choosing the right camera.

Chapters 3 thru 10, "Lenses", describes the different types of such equipment, beginning with standard lenses. Harnischmacher then explains closeup lenses, extension tubes and teleconverters, reversed lenses, bellows, closeup lenses, Zoerk Macroscope and Zoerk Multi Focus system. In each of these, it is explained what they are and where they would be used.

Chapters 11 thru 13, "Equipment", is focused on accessory stands, bushes, air-blowers, reflectors and other things that will be helpful in producing closeup work. He also talks about tripods, ball heads and filters as well.

Chapters 14 thru 18, "Light", explains the differing types of lighting situations that you will find yourself in or creating to capture your shot. These include daylight, artificial light, flash lighting. It also explains how to control your flash lighting along with how to use it creatively.

Chapters 19 thru 28, "Strategies", encompass how to go about your closeup photography. Whether looking out in a meadow or underwater, winter, summer, fall or spring time there is always an opportunity for closeup images. He also introduces tabletop and product shooting. This is often referred to as still life photography. There is also imaging techniques for setting accents and mood. Finally Harnischmacher finishes with "Building your own Equipment", in which he gives you ideas on how to make some of your own equipment for your close up work.

Closeup Shooting provides a good overview of what all is needed for taking quality closeup pictures. The book is filled with stunning images throughout and might be worth the price as a picture book. Toward the end the author spent more time showing the set up and the after picture, I wish there would have been more of that throughout the book but it is evident that the author knows his stuff. The book is really well put together and will certainly get you started down the road into closeup photography.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.