Home made Lightbox
1 Dress the table Get an empty cereal box and cut a hole out of the front and back, leaving a frame round the edge to tidy cables behind later. Tape some greaseproof paper (or a sheet of tracing paper) to one side of the box. The hole on the other side is to put your fairy lights in.
3 Shoot from above
Mount your Nikon on a tripod; a model that holds the camera upside-down is best to get really close in for a top-down view. Some tripods have centre-columns that fold out sideways, which will do a good job too. Level off the tripod head until the Nikon is parallel with the table.
5 Stop the wobble
In close-up shooting our depth of field is shallow, so opt for f/11 to maximize this. Choose ISO100 and increase your shutter speed to get a good exposure; ours was 1.3 sec. That’s quite slow, so to avoid camera shake when pressing the shutter button we engaged the self-timer. 2 Light it up Feed your fairy lights in through the back hole and press them around the edge of the box. Use some tape to keep them in place and make a uniform glow across the paper. We kept the power switch on the outside of the box to turn them off when not in use.
4 Get in close
For smaller subjects you could use a macro lens to fill the frame with your leaf, but we’re using an inexpensive close-up filter instead. These either screw or clip on the lens and allow the lens to focus closer. Here we’re using the Raynox DCR-250 (around £55/$60).
6 Use manual focus
Turn off autofocus on the lens and engage Live View mode so that the image appears on the rear LCD. Zoom in with the magnify button and manually adjust the focus ring on the lens until the leaf looks crisp. When you’re happy that it’s pin sharp, take your photo!