Macro Minerals & Close-up Crystals | Macro Photography Tutorial
Macro Minerals & Close-up Crystals | Macro Photography Tutorial

Hi guys i’m Ben from Adaptalux and
welcome to another macro photography tutorial today we’re gonna be shooting
rocks and minerals we’re going to be getting up nice and close finding out how to capture the
details and how to light these pretty tricky subjects so stick around and I’ll
get started when I was a kid I loved going out
finding interesting little rocks pieces of sea glass fossils and that soon
progressed into having a little collection of things like gemstones and
crystals geodes all stuff that I would get from
my local Rock collectors shop these days is probably a lot easier to get this
stuff for a lot cheaper lot better quality samples from the internet so
whether you’re a macro photographer looking for some interesting subjects to
get it up close to or whether you’re a geologist looking for some photography
tips on shooting your your specimens and your finds we’re going to take a look
how to light this stuff how to get different effects and some really
creative shots I’m going to get started going through my collection and see if
we can’t find something really interesting to shoot bear in mind that
12 year old me did not have the best labeling system in place so if I get any
of the names of these gemstones and crystals wrong do let me know put it
down in the comments if I’m mispronouncing something on that note
let’s get started with our first subject so my first subject today is going to be
this little slice of blue striped agate and you’ll be able to see a little bit
better once we get the macro lens on but this is actually a little bit
translucent so I’m gonna be able to shine a light all the way through here
and pick up on all of those lovely pale blue stripes on the inside there’s also
some imperfections in here we’ve got some discoloration and there’s a big
fracture going through into the center of the slice so I want to capture that
on on our stills as well the first thing I’m going to do is give this a bit of a
clean because it’s got dust all over it a decade’s worth of dust so I’m just
going to use a lens cloth just very very softly to get rid of that dust and
brighten this up again to display quality specimen there and that looks
fine to me so I’m going to pop this in to clamp and then we can get our macro
lens out and have a look through the viewfinder what I have here is a little
soldiering clamp it’s actually Sam’s but it’s quite useful for setting up
subjects with as well especially small ones like this so I’ve got my agate
piece here I’m actually going to wrap it just a little bit in in the lens cloth
just so these crocodile clips don’t damage the crystal and then I can pop it
into here from there I’m able to place this exactly where I need it in relation
to my camera and then I can place my lighting to suit that as well so I’m
going to find a good composition to get some of this discoloration and this
fracture here and we can have a look through the camera at our lighting so
I’ve got my subject over here held steady by the clamp my camera is held
steady by a mini tripod and I also have the Adaptalux Studio here on another
mini tripod holding all of this steady is gonna be pretty important so we
don’t get any camera shake as we take our shots so I’ve got a single white
lighting arm s plugged in here which is nice and bright and has a nice spotlight
that points down at our subject as we as we experiment and move this round you’ll
see that the light can really change depending on where it’s falling on this
subject because it’s translucent all of the light can enter the subject bounce
around and it’s gonna bring out all of that really nice blue color and some of
the details as well like that fracture that goes through the middle we can get
a nice shadow under there to really highlight that and those colours as well
there are shining through just next to the fracture we can see if we can bring
those outs a little bit as well if you bring your lighting forward towards the
camera you’ll see that it’s going to highlight a little bit more of the rock
on the edges so that might be a choice that you’ll have to make is how much
light do you want on on the rock edge and how much light do you want shining
through the blue color now it’s maybe not mutually exclusive we can add more
light sources to accomplish both of those goals so I’m going to bring in
another white lighting arm I’m going to move all of these around and balance
them out and see what we can achieve just by moving these lights around and
that really is the joy of continuous lighting like this because we can see
through the viewfinder as we change our lighting we can see exactly what we’re
getting if you are using flash it would be a bit of trial and error to see where
the light is landing but this means that you can balance all of your lights you
can move them around for a subject like this it really is invaluable to have
some continuous light going on I’m going to spend a couple more minutes removing
these lights around and see if I can’t get a nice shot out of this subject next up we’ve got something a little bit
bigger and something a little bit more complex to light this is a large piece
of raw amethyst you can see on the back it still got all of the rocky surface
and then obviously on the inside it’s got the crystal which a would once have
been part of a much larger geode with all of the crystals inside a much larger rock it’s been cracked open so that we can get to these lovely purple
crystals on the inside now this is absolutely covered in dust and our lens
cloth it’s not going to do the trick because you can’t get into all of these
tiny little crevices created by the by the crystals so I’m gonna use a trick
that I used for dusting all my ornaments and Lego and things like that delicate
things a makeup brush just a clean brand new makeup brush you can get really
quite rough with this without damaging anything and it’s gonna get into all of
those little gaps and take all of the dust out if the dust isn’t leaving and
you’re just shuffling it round try doing it upside down so that the dust falls
out you should find that all of your crystals are gonna be nice and bright
and shiny again with no dust or fur or hair anywhere make sure that you’re not
leaving any of the bristles of your makeup brush inside your your amethyst
crystals and I think we’re good to go so I’m going to set this up in front of our
camera and see if we can’t get some really interesting shots with this lovely piece of amethyst I’m
really excited to get a shot from the site I think it’s gonna be really nice
to get almost a mountain range of those purple crystals coming up growing out of
the rock level at the bottom up into the white and then into the purple we can
really take advantage of that purple color by moving our lighting round if
you point it from the top it’s not as apparent if you bring it round to the
sides to the back you can change exactly how that color is is showing and
obviously we can do all the same effects that we had on our last subject because
it’s still translucent you can still shine a lot of the light through this
these crystals I wanted to try something a little bit different as well I like
the natural color that we’re getting from these crystals and obviously if
you’re wanting a representative shot of what this mineral actually looks like
then you’re not going to want to add any artificial colors into this shot but if
you’re going for some creative shots wanting to get you know nice colors and
effects out of your images I’m going to try adding a color filter just with some
pink because I think that will really complement the natural colors of the
purple and we can see exactly what that’s going to do adding a little bit
more color a bit unnatural to the actual subject but experimenting around with
colors in this way is going to be really really interesting if I try out say a
blue instead that’s going to do something completely different again and
and this is what I want to experiment with for this subject I want to add some
interesting colors in here i’ll throw in a natural shot for the geologists out
there as well but I think these colors can really bring something to the party I’ve got some really interesting
subjects in my collection but I’m not gonna be able to get through them all
today so the last one that I’m going to take a look at is this aragonite
which is absolutely amazing it’s got all of these little brown crystals growing
out of a single rock so it’s got these crystals coming out in all directions it
looks almost like a little miniature alien planet with with things growing
out of it so I wonder if I can’t take advantage of that and make it look like
it’s floating in space or something like that I’m gonna pop this down on our on
our surface and see what we can do with our lighting this might be the most interesting
formation that I’ve shot today but it’s definitely the most tricky to get right
because it’s not a single translucent piece of crystal all of these other
little pieces of crystals are interfering they’re all light in
different ways at the center of the rock is completely opaque so that is really
really dark as soon as the light is not shining on it
what that means it is I’ve had to bring a lighting arm around the front and one
down in from the side as well and you can see very clearly as you move your
lighting around the difference that this is going to make to a subject like this
making it look almost like a planet is very very difficult but the way that
we’ve been shooting our background today really helps with that because we’ve got
our subject lit in the middle here really really brightly it doesn’t really
matter what’s in the background over here as long as it’s not very bright all
of our background is just underexposed so this is actually quite a well lit
room but because our subject is so well lit the background is going to be really
underexposed and appear black so when shooting subjects like this you don’t
need to really think too hard about what’s in your background if you’re
shooting just across and into a open space if you’re wanting to get the whole
piece in the shot you maybe need to think about the surface are you’re putting it
on but because my shots today are taking small close-up shots of just individual
pieces I think we’re gonna get away with it I’m going to explore a little bit
more of this aragonite and see if I can’t get a couple of really cool shots
of these individual crystals as well today’s shoot has brought back quite a
lot of nostalgic memories for me getting all of these little rocks and crystals
and minerals out of storage and taking a look at them up close has been really
interesting it’s not something that I got to do as a kid so getting a really
really close-up view of these has been amazing
obviously I’ve taken a bit of artistic liberty with these so if you’re a
geologist or you’re collecting rocks and minerals and crystals definitely let
me know down in the comments what you think to today’s shoot and the results
that I got if you do something differently definitely let me know
because I’ve still got a lot more in my collection to shoot including some much
more tricky subjects which I’ll keep secret for now but yeah let me know down
in the comments what you think and what you’d like to see me try while you’re
down in the comments if you enjoyed the video make sure to give it a like and
hit the subscribe button for some more videos coming very soon for now though
guys thank you very much for watching and I’ll see you next time

27 thoughts on “Macro Minerals & Close-up Crystals | Macro Photography Tutorial”

  1. Zoltán Dobány says:

    Fantastic good practice tips !!!!

  2. Aditi Pundir Aggarwal says:

    Hey it wonderful I really enjoy it… definately going to try this.

  3. He Man says:

    try using smaller aperture like f10 to make everythin in focus and the crystals to appear sharper

  4. Mike Malley says:

    Ben – I've asked some long-ish questions via the form on the site about a week ago. Is that the best way, or is there an email address which is better?

  5. Chris S says:

    Really interesting. Please do some more if possible.

  6. lollandz says:

    The beard reminds me of trimming my own beard before eating a soft ice

  7. Pam Burks says:

    Thanks so much for this – just the inspiration I needed today!

  8. Darren Scaysbrook says:

    Get a sticky roller on that shirt.

  9. Stephen Stevenson says:

    Great video Ben. Please do more vids on this subject. So fascinating and inspiring!

  10. Paarth Soni says:

    Oh man I just love your videos! You could be such a good teacher!
    Love from India.

  11. Nancy Peplau says:

    I love your videos and lighting! I’m going to order these lights very soon! Paying our home mortgage off this month and going to order the lighting system in celebration! Double Yeah!

  12. Michael Wagner-Diggs says:

    Great video for inspiration and techniques in macro photography… more please!

  13. Another Perspective says:

    Really nice video again:) I think I have to put crystals on my macro list now:D

  14. Erich Poole says:

    hi Ben, i enjoyed this video immensely – have you tried or thought about taking pictures of Bizmuth? its colours might make it a good one to think about. Regards Erich

  15. JulianeBiologist says:

    Thanks so much! I love it!

  16. Dragonfly's Discoveries says:

    Fantastic video, you have a new subscriber here.
    may I suggest a small amount of electrical tape on the crocodile clips?

  17. Gary Kenyon says:

    Had a go myself after watching your great video. 11 image focus stack.

  18. Dragonfly's Discoveries says:

    Could you put a link up please as to where you got your lights from?
    Thanks for that.

  19. Jules Moyaert says:


  20. chorton53 says:

    Thanks a bunch for your video. It really inspired me to take some interesting photos. with my own crystals.

  21. Stromboli15 says:

    Loved your video! I'm curios who the maker of your lighting unit is? Many Thanks!

  22. Pixel chimp says:

    Neat. Subbed.

  23. hkanderful says:

    Diffusion! You should diffuse your light. Other than that, the video is informative….

  24. Green Tea says:

    Thank you so much for this!! You’re video is giving me life!
    I really needed to see this.
    I’m going to try and follow everything I learnt from this video.
    I can’t wait to see more video’s of you shooting crystals! This is so cool!!

  25. Brian Tan says:

    Hi thanks for the video. I am taking lots of photo with crystal. Gonna try your method and see how's the result. Thank you very much for the tutorial. Btw what macros lens you are using?

  26. Nikhilesh Mehta says:

    Loved your video.
    I have a few questions if you don't mind me asking.
    1) which lens are you using ? Is it a macro lens ? What are the specifications ?
    2) how do you get the background so black without using anything black behind the crystals ?
    3) how do you suggest I should take photographs of clear quartz which has different inclusions inside, like cracks and ingrowth and rainbows ?
    And lastly
    4) how to take photographs of a crystal ball. I use studio flash lights for photography, and that causes a big reflection on the sphere which is impossible to get rid of.

    Thank you so much for all and any help.

    [email protected]

  27. Vòng Ngọc Phú Quý says:

    hello, thank you so much! What is the name of lens please?

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