As I've shown in previous tutorials, with a bit of ingenuity you can create professional-looking photographs with simple household items, or at least without spending a fortune on complicated equipment. For this type of close-up photography we'll use two reading lamps, a few sheets of paper, and a cheap tripod.

Most popular tripods, even quite cheap models, have a centre column which can be raised and lowered to adjust the height of the camera. The Velbon Maxi 343 tripod that I'm using here is just such a model, but in order to use it for macro photography we'll need to make a small modification. On most tripods that have a centre column, there is an end-cap on the bottom of the column that limits its upward movement and prevents it from coming right out of the top of the tripod. In most cases this end-cap can be easily removed, although this may require the use of simple tools.

Remove the end cap from the bottom of the centre column, loosen the catch or screw that allows the column to move, and pull it right out of the top. Then insert it back in upside-down, making sure that any grooves or crank teeth line up with their counterparts in the central block of the tripod.

Attach your camera to the tripod, in such a way that it points straight down. You can use the centre column to adjust the height. Check in your camera manual as to the closest macro focusing distance, and using a ruler set the height to a little more than this distance. The macro distance is usually measured from the front element of the lens. Place a few sheets of white printer paper or a sheet of white card under the camera to act as a background.

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