Don’t get me wrong: I love a sweeping landscape shot as much as the next person. But there’s something beautifully intimate about a photo taken from a few inches away. Perhaps it’s because our instinct for personal space means we typically crave a buffer of a couple of feet—especially in Western cultures—so photos taken from within this “comfort zone” feel very personal to us. Getting close is also a great way to focus on interesting details that many of us overlook.
For March, try to examine the world around you from a new perspective. Whether it’s a flower, a bug, or a line of freshly sharpened pencils, see what details stand out to you once you get in close. This is also a great opportunity to practice playing with abstract shapes and colors to create an interesting composition.
When thinking about your shot, here are a few things to keep in mind.
- You don’t have to have an DSLR with an expensive Macro lens to take great close-up shots. In fact, most compact cameras offer a Macro mode that will let you focus from a very short distance.
- When shooting up close, sharpness matters. I recommend using a tripod if you have one. If you don’t, try to find a way to brace the camera to make it more stable.
- If your camera lets you manually control focus, turn this feature on. This will let you be more precise about which part of your object is in focus.
Any subscriber can participate in the monthly P.E.T. Photo Challenge. In addition to photographs, you can also submit collages or other images you’ve created in Photoshop Elements. Submissions must follow a few simple guidelines:
- You must take the photo within the challenge month (after all, there’s not much challenge in digging through your library to find an old photo).
- You must own the rights to any image you submit. (If you use third-party frames or embellishments, please make sure this usage is allowed under the sale terms.)
- You are encouraged to interpret the theme creatively, but keep in mind that photos that seem entirely unrelated may get overlooked.
You can submit your entries to either the P.E.T. Gallery or Elements Village Gallery. When uploading your image to the Elements Village Gallery, please enter the phrase “Photo-Challenge” exactly as shown (without the quotes) in the Keywords field. For the P.E.T. Gallery, please enter “Photo-Challenge” in the Caption field when uploading the photo.
When the month is over, we’ll showcase our favorite entries on the website. A few entries may also be featured in the magazine. (You can see the top picks for all of our past photo challenges.)