Here is my experience with a macro extension tube. The pictures I captured has disgusting dust and debris all over it. Even using a gas duster did not do much good.

enter image description here

What is the solution to such problems as highlighted dust and debris? How are advertising photographs captured?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ It's called "dirt". If you could invent a way to get rid of it realiably, you could make fortune. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 14, 2013 at 13:43

2 Answers 2


I see two major flaws with your "test".

  1. As noted in your blog post that you linked to, this view is at 1:1 or 100% magnification. Any image is going to look near terrible at that magnification. Be reasonable in your analysis, and zoom out to fill your screen or similar.
  2. You are taking an image of a rubber nub. A rubber nub that is meant to be pushed and stroked by nasty fingers. Then when you are done using the phone, you shove it into a nasty pocket or bag. I would never expect a rubber nub to be dust and dirt free. Try taking a macro shot of a metal object like an award, or an insect, or whatever. But not a rubber nub.

You ask "How can I take professional looking pictures with a macro lens". There are a lot of ways that you could answer that. One might recommend better ambient or external lighting, or maybe a dedicated macro lens instead of extension tubes. Maybe a subject that is more interesting. You could also look at ring flashes or similar equipment. You could use advanced techniques like focus stacking and tripod+remote usage. Many articles exist already on the internet on basic tips for macro photography. You probably want to start with some of them similar to this: http://www.popphoto.com/how-to/2012/04/tips-pro-intro-tiny-world-macro-photography

As for your question, "how are advertising photographs captured". That is quite a different question. I'll refer you to a great example of how a photographer captures product photography for Apple computer here: http://www.theverge.com/2013/5/8/4311868/the-illusion-of-simplicity-photographer-peter-belanger-on-shooting


Two solutions to your dust question,

  1. Tape, it does a pretty good job with repeat application to remove dust and debris. Apply remove, repeat.

  2. Post processing

Don't forget the advertising guys will have a pile of brand new gear to shoot and not a (not so) lovingly used handset.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I agree that tape and post are great ideas, but with the shape of these buttons and the existing dust, good luck! \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Commented Sep 14, 2013 at 1:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Love the tape idea too. I might use some sticky flexible things like partly dried liquid glue / gel etc for odd shapes. Thank you. \$\endgroup\$
    – Lord Loh.
    Commented Sep 14, 2013 at 3:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ You want to keep the humidity high enough to keep dust from sticking to everything with static. We do have a pile of cosmetically perfect products to shoot. When we shoot liquor for Seagrams or Corby's (BIG BUCKS), We get stacks of labels that we hand sort through to find the one with perfect borders and alignment, etc. We sort through cases of bottles until we find one without a scratch, and we apply the labels exactly, etc. Then, we go to the shoot. Edit: By the way, it's ALWAYS real booze, since there is no way to fake it that we've found, yet. The bottles are full. \$\endgroup\$
    – Stan
    Commented Sep 14, 2013 at 3:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ TIP: When you want to control dust, you have to be able to see it. Bright light and glossy black work surfaces are the way to go. You'll see every speck. \$\endgroup\$
    – Stan
    Commented Sep 14, 2013 at 3:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Note: Spray/aerosol dust removal sometimes leaves a residue of propellent that is hard to remove. \$\endgroup\$
    – Stan
    Commented Sep 14, 2013 at 3:29

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.