How to take good close up photos with a phone?

Tigger

Arachnopeon
Joined
Apr 25, 2020
Messages
36
I got sick of my photos looking like they were taken with a potato so I splashed out and spent a whopping £10 on a clip on macro lens for my phone. The results are definitely an improvement but I was hoping someone could advise me on basic settings like ISO, etc or anything else that will help get nice sharp close up photos of my tarantulas.

Below are a few shots I took to test the lens. At first I tried to take the photos with the t in it's enclosure but it seemed like I had to get within an inch before it would focus. It wasn't until after I got her out I figured out that screwing the wide angle lens onto the macro lens let it focus from more of a distance, although I still needed to be somewhat close. All the photos were snapped in a couple of minutes with no care going into anything other than them being more or less in focus. I didn't want to bother her too much so I got it done and then put her back.

She (fingers crossed) is a two inch T albopilosus.

T albo macro test 1.jpeg T albo macro test 2.jpeg T albo macro test 3.jpeg T albo macro test 4.jpeg T albo macro test 5.jpeg T albo macro test 6.jpeg T albo macro test 7.jpeg
 

basin79

ArachnoGod
Active Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2013
Messages
5,158
I got sick of my photos looking like they were taken with a potato so I splashed out and spent a whopping £10 on a clip on macro lens for my phone. The results are definitely an improvement but I was hoping someone could advise me on basic settings like ISO, etc or anything else that will help get nice sharp close up photos of my tarantulas.

Below are a few shots I took to test the lens. At first I tried to take the photos with the t in it's enclosure but it seemed like I had to get within an inch before it would focus. It wasn't until after I got her out I figured out that screwing the wide angle lens onto the macro lens let it focus from more of a distance, although I still needed to be somewhat close. All the photos were snapped in a couple of minutes with no care going into anything other than them being more or less in focus. I didn't want to bother her too much so I got it done and then put her back.

She (fingers crossed) is a two inch T albopilosus.

View attachment 361637 View attachment 361638 View attachment 361639 View attachment 361640 View attachment 361641 View attachment 361642 View attachment 361643
From what I've seen on Instagram decent clip ons can produce some great results. Obviously for a tenner you can't expect much.

Lighting will be the cheapest/easiest way of improving pics. Even a little LED flashlight. Also download a free editing app such as snapseed. Again it will make a big difference.

I took these pics with my iPhone xs and a LED torch through the enclosures at night. With some editing they look decent.

2A727F50-B745-45A1-8ADF-BF3AE96D8A3D.jpeg 0F873A71-2E25-4B2C-8C1A-4D7FA294F4C3.jpeg

Obviously nowt close to my camera but this is the only way I can get pics of these 2 rascals.

I always take pics of mine in their enclosures. Not worth stressing them out for a pic.
 

Albireo Wulfbooper

Arachnobaron
Active Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2019
Messages
417
1. lighting
2. lighting
3. lighting

Seriously, 90% of the difference between bad and good phone photos is just a matter of having enough light. These two images were taken with the same phone, of the same animal, but one is in daylight and one is at night with a nearby lamp on. IMG_1822.jpg IMG_7466.jpg
 

Tigger

Arachnopeon
Joined
Apr 25, 2020
Messages
36
Thanks. I have just spent the last hour taking about 200 photos of my car keys, which were much more cooperative than baby tarantulas. A couple of thing I have found...

1. Yep. Lighting. Specifically a good direct external light source with the ISO and shutter speed brought way down.
2. Shoot in RAW. Better quality and much better tuning.
3. Manual focus. Or, at the very least, auto focus then lock it before shooting.

Slightly better results below. Only problem I had was no decent light source (like, 10pm here). I used the flash but due to how the phone was positioned it went off outside of the enclosure. The only reason you can see anything at all is that you can adjust the exposure in post processing if you shoot in RAW so I just cranked it through the roof. If I can pick up a little LED desk lamp I should see a big improvement.

Getting there.jpeg

Different t, by the way. Sac-mate of the one in my original post.
 

basin79

ArachnoGod
Active Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2013
Messages
5,158
Thanks. I have just spent the last hour taking about 200 photos of my car keys, which were much more cooperative than baby tarantulas. A couple of thing I have found...

1. Yep. Lighting. Specifically a good direct external light source with the ISO and shutter speed brought way down.
2. Shoot in RAW. Better quality and much better tuning.
3. Manual focus. Or, at the very least, auto focus then lock it before shooting.

Slightly better results below. Only problem I had was no decent light source (like, 10pm here). I used the flash but due to how the phone was positioned it went off outside of the enclosure. The only reason you can see anything at all is that you can adjust the exposure in post processing if you shoot in RAW so I just cranked it through the roof. If I can pick up a little LED desk lamp I should see a big improvement.

View attachment 361656

Different t, by the way. Sac-mate of the one in my original post.
Shooting RAW? So a fancy phone then.

Well right.

The slower the shutter speed the more light you get in. If your tarantulas are stationary brilliant. You can lower the ISO (causes noise) and up the F stop. Or lower the F stop should you wish if you want to say focus on the eyes.

Shooting in RAW will allow you to edit your pics better.
 

vicareux

Arachnosquire
Active Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2020
Messages
111
As people have said,good lighting is the best,which is a really good thing you can do to improve your images.



If you want some advanced magic stuff, there's this little magic thing called stacking photos.Thats a process that stacks multiple images of the very same object,same frame,into one to clean noise and pull out more detail.
All images have signal (Light the camera recieves from the actual object youre photographing)
and noise (Little patterns of grainy red or green pixels which are caused by the temperature on the sensor or underexposure of the photo)

The idea behind stacking is that it keeps pixels that repeat themselves in every photo (signal) and removes pixels that are different in each photo (noise). So,the more photos you stack,the cleaner your image will be,and potentially way more detailed.

(There's one problem - stacking doesn't work on objects that move,because on each photo the position of the pixels are different,and your stacking program cant find reference pixels to align the other photos)
Thankfully tarantulas are very static and calm animals that will allow photo stacking.

Below is a little comparison that i just created. I took 5 photos of my headphones. The left photos are a single image,and the right photos are the result of 5 images stacked into one.
You will notice that the result image is much cleaner. I always stack my photos of tarantulas so i can pull as much detail as possible

The program i use is called Sequator. I usually use this to stack some astrophotos i make. But it can be used for everyday photography aswell.

When you open the program,drag and drop your set of images into the blank space,select the location of your output picture,and the only option you would have to change is where it says "Accumulation" , switch that to "Select best pixels". Press start,and let the program do the magic.



comp1.jpg
comp2.jpg
comp3.jpg
 

Ponerinecat

Arachnoknight
Active Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2020
Messages
203
High shutter speed brings out more detail at the cost of light taken through the lens. It's preferable to have it brought up as high as possible, just make sure to have very good lighting or flash.
 

Ponerinecat

Arachnoknight
Active Member
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Messages
203
High shutter speed with flash
CSC_1034.JPG


Lower shutter speed with flash diffuser(evens out the lighting but I'm not sure if you can install one on a phone)
CSC_0049.JPG


You can see how the shutter speed affects the "crispness" of the image. In the bottom image, it's a bit "foggy" and the colors are subdued. Of course, this is a dslr so it may not be exactly the same as a phone, but these photos were taken with a normal kit lens and not a macro. A bit of a crop helps a ton.
 

basin79

ArachnoGod
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Messages
5,158
High shutter speed with flash
View attachment 362375


Lower shutter speed with flash diffuser(evens out the lighting but I'm not sure if you can install one on a phone)
View attachment 362376


You can see how the shutter speed affects the "crispness" of the image. In the bottom image, it's a bit "foggy" and the colors are subdued. Of course, this is a dslr so it may not be exactly the same as a phone, but these photos were taken with a normal kit lens and not a macro. A bit of a crop helps a ton.
Shutter speed doesn't do that. It won't make a subject sharper by itself. What it will do is help if you shake a little or if the subject is moving. You want to get the balance right to get the pic to look good but also to have the least "noise" possible. Obviously I'm typing about my camera here not a phone.

Here's a pic. My flash had run out of battery but there was some light coming through the window. I've had to lessen the size to post here. But you can see even cropped in the sharpness is there.

BF99443C-FE22-4401-8824-5DD05E035CFB.jpeg F2CEB156-B1AC-4067-A335-C5143D807E94.jpeg

Now here are the settings. Really, really slow shutter speed to get as much natural light in as possible.
C478F5BA-55DA-446D-A59B-FFE617A04984.jpeg

But regarding a phone here's some pics taken by mine through the enclosure at night with the addition of a little LED torch.

474E67A1-7414-4BA1-8052-8D32B9F4E2D6.jpeg 6E1A9F96-9365-4F6F-985F-2FFBB2562D11.jpeg
 

Ponerinecat

Arachnoknight
Active Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2020
Messages
203
Hm, interesting. Thanks for the info, I'll have to put that into practice.
 

basin79

ArachnoGod
Active Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2013
Messages
5,158
Actually managed to open my Poecilotheria subfusca lowland's enclosure last night without her running home.

Hopefully this shows the importance or the difference editing makes. I have Lightroom classic on my laptop to edit my camera pics. With that I also got the lightroom phone app. That's what I use for my phone pics. This pic took maybe 2 mins to edit. So the before and after.

Before
ABAC99A6-CD0B-49E8-B7DE-C205727F9328.jpeg

After
475E1CCB-74BC-4E8C-8661-D927DB246A41.jpeg
 
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