Clean up clutter backdrops in macro photographs by recycling the trash into a beautiful close-up DIY backdrop.
Macro photography is notoriously difficult to get right. The close-up focusing of macro lenses or extension tubes decreases the depth of field available to us. A high magnification means even the slightest breath of wind can throw off composition, and then there's keeping the macro subject lit without throwing a shadow over it if shooting in available light.
Once you've nailed the camera settings though the next biggest artistic hurdle to jump is getting a nice, clean backdrop on which to place your macro subject. More often than not when shooting outside you're not in control of where that subject is, whether it's an ant crawling in deep foliage, or a spider's web covered in dew clinging to a dull metal fence. So having as much control as possible over the background can help push attention on the main subject, giving a sleeker and more professional aesthetic. But what do you need to do this? Well, there are tiles, paper rolls, vinyl backdrops, and other accessories you can buy for that, but there really isn't any need.
In fact, not only do you not need to buy anything, that piece of garbage you're about to throw in the trash can be used to create the most beautiful, natural backdrops. Allow me to show you what I mean.
Avoid Busy Backgrounds
In this image I've attempted an early morning macro shot of a spider's web covered in dew. What I love about this photograph is that the droplets of dew look like tiny diamonds clinging to the thin silk that the spider has spun. Unfortunately, the ivy is it spun around isn't so enticing. There are lots of different shades, highlights and shadows bouncing around in the background, with some upturned ivy leaves adding a stalky mess to the shot. It needs cleaning up.
Other Things Get in the Way
Use Your Trash
Get It Nice and Sharp