You’re trying to take pictures of an exquisite white rose, and ending up with an image that looks more like a cotton ball. It’s probably not powdery mildew. Instead, it’s your picture taking technique.
Yesterday I wrote about the importance of using a macro lens and shooting pictures when the light is right. Today I want to cover the other equipment that can help you to take beautiful pictures.
The first think you will notice if you are using a macro lens or macro setting is that your depth of field (the range in which your picture stays in focus) is very narrow. Part of this is because the focus is very close to the lens and partially because the light you are taking the photo in is very low.
At this range, the slightest movement can change the distance of the lens from the flower and consequently make your flower look blurry. Even breathing can change your focus. For this reason, professional photographers rely on a tripod to take pictures. A small, table-top sized tripod is a good choice for hand-sized cameras. Some tripods even have flexible legs that you can wrap around an item to anchor it.
But if you don’t have a tripod handy, don’t give up. You can brace your camera against any sturdy surface. I’ve taken pictures by bracing my camera on the ground, a nearby table or ledge and even on my camera bag.
If your camera has an auto timer, this can also be a help. An auto timer is designed so that you can get into a picture. But it can also ensure that your shaky hands are nowhere on the camera when the shutter fires.
If the day happens to be windy, you can try to use a flash. This will allow the shutter speed to increase and the flash will freeze the motion of the subject while making the background seem darker. Your subject will practically pop out at you if you use a flash. A second advantage of a flash is that if you have to take pictures in harsh lighting, the flash will soften the dark shadows to give the picture an overall even look.
If you have a smart phone, treat it like a very unsophisticated portable camera. Most smart phone cameras do not have a macro setting and their focus is center weighted. In order to take a good picture, place the subject in the center of the camera and make sure that it never fills more than 15 to 20 percent of the frame. When you import your picture into your computer later, crop the photo and recompose it to a more pleasing composition.