Hey there! It’s me Jan Jentsch again, I’m a 34 year-old hobby-photographer from Bielefeld, Germany. I started with serious photography 5 years ago and since then I’ve been hanging around with my Nikon every day. As a dentist, macro-photography is a part of my work, taking pictures of oral diseases and prosthesis for professional use. For that I’m using a Tamron 90mm Macro (the older one with the “built-in-motor”) and a Macro-Slave Flashlight from Metz. Fortunately the Nikon D7100 has a built-in Master Controller so I can keep the whole setup simple.
I love to take macro-pictures of insects in their environment but one day I needed some new pictures for my examination rooms. I’m quite sure that not many patients like to see macro-pictures of spiders or bugs when they visit their dentist and I also didn’t want to take that every-day tooth brushing smile into my clinic. I found an old Playmobil-Dental clinic and decided to uses this for some extraordinary pictures.
I took my Nikon equipment with the Tamron macro lens and also picked up my wide-angle lens. The macro lens is quite good for detail-pictures and a nice bokeh because of it’s open f/2.8 ability. And as a prime lens it’s very sharp. The wide-angle-lens is used to show a little more of the environment. You can even get very close to the scene and the wide-angle-effect makes it even more dramatic.
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Often I use a table-top-tripod like the Novoflex Basicball to stay close to the scene and my Macro-Flashlight mounted to the lens. But also the natural light is a nice illumination, so just try what looks better. The pictures above are taken with an wide-angle-lens to get a wider depth-of-field. Background is a back lighted x-ray-picture. No flashlight was used. Nikon D7100, Tokina ATX-Pro 12-28mm f/4.
Setting the Scene
Taking pictures of Playmobil dolls in a certain scene is like being a 7 year-old again. I think about how they would act and how this would look to create the look I prefer. Certainly every picture should have a positive appearance. I use everything I find to create a nice background. Sometimes I put the dolls into a cabinet then I crawl over the floor like a 7-year-old boy or use my Christmas-lights to illuminate the background. Another nice way to get every background you want is to set up the scene in front of your Computer-screen and change the backgrounds as you want it. A friend of mine asked for some Playmobil-space-pictures for his son. So I picked up some astronauts and put them up onto my roof-window at night to get the night sky as a background.
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So as you see, it’s up to your own creativity. Think like a child and you’ll get ideas you’ve never thought about before starting. By the way Playmobil dolls are in my opinion a nice requisite because they cover a huge variety of professions. Maybe a nice idea for your next personalized Christmas cards. Pictures taken with my Tamron-Macro-lens. 90mm, f/16, Macro-flashlight used with TTL.
Little Spacemen. Both pictures are long-time-exposures. Scene was set up on my roof window to catch the night-sky as a natural background. Left picture wide-angle-lens (Tokina 12-28mm), Right picture Tokina 80-200mm f2.8.
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As always in macro-photography the shallow depth of field might be a problem. I always put the focus to manual and focus by moving my body forward and backward when not using a tripod. Otherwise I put up the camera and set up the scene in front of it until everything is like I want it. This makes it even nicer if using higher f-stops for a greater depth of field. Although my macro-lens hasn’t any vibration control I would always prefer to put it off if using a tripod. Otherwise the pictures won´t get sharp. Tripod mounted Tokina 80-200, f2.8. The background is illuminated with some Christmas lights, the foreground was lighted up with a handheld flashlight.
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I do not use Photoshop because I do not have the time to study this program. I’m shooting in RAW and use Lightroom 6 for my post processing. I know the pictures might be better if using Photoshop but I like using pictures out of the cam. Often I convert the pictures into black and white because it gives them a clean and uniform look. Otherwise the mismatching colors make the picture look too choppy.
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I started photography with my first digital bridge camera 10 years ago but never took it serious. By upgrading to a Nikon aps-c I bought for my work I decided to learn more about the technical background and the artistic varieties of photography. Since that time my main interests are landscape photography, macro photography or just exploring the world with my camera. Until now I´m an autodidact, reading a lot hardcopy and online magazines. But the most important thing is: Just go out and take pictures!!