Macro photography is great for really bringing out the detail of your subject. It may seem daunting at first, but macro photography really isn’t so different from other kinds once you get a grasp of the basics. Here are some of the best macro photography tips to help you do just that.
- Choose the Best Lens for Macro Photography
The focal length of macro lenses ranges from 50mm to 200mm. Although many zoom lenses boast a macro setting, these are usually less than half life-size magnification. True macro, however, begins with 1:1 and nothing less. A 50-60mm lens is suitable for general macro work but if you want greater subject-to-lens distance a 100mm lens will give you this at a price. For creatures like butterflies and dragonflies, lens-to-subject distance becomes even more important so focal length needs to be greater. The 70-300mm range is the best lens for macro photography like this Tamron Macro Lens from Beachcamera.com. You’ll appreciate the extra power when stalking flighty subjects like a Malachite Butterfly.
- Make a Standard Zoom Focus Closer by Adding Tubes
Take incredible macro pictures using extension tubes. These fit between the rear mount of the lens and the camera body to make the lens focus closer and therefore produce a much bigger image of a small subject. This is a much cheaper alternative for taking macro photography than buying a macro lens. But tubes are a little harder to use in the field. Also, with an extension tube fitted you lose the infinity end of your focusing range. Add more tubes and this becomes increasingly more limited.
- Add a Dioptre to Make a Lens Focus Closer
Close-up filters are single-element lenses that look like magnifying glasses. These filters screw into the front element thread and can provide an inexpensive alternative to splurging on a macro lens. They come in a variety of strengths that are measured in dioptres. Close-up filters are available in sets of +1,+2, +4 or +10 dioptre magnification from Beachcamera.com. Add a dioptre to a bridge camera or a compact to achieve real close-up shots.
- Use Apertures to Control Depth of Field
To get the most out of available depth of field with your macro photography, select a small aperture like f/16 or even f/22 on your Canon 35mm Lens. You’ll find that at half-life size the depth of field you can achieve at f/22 will be only around 15mm at best. On the other hand, you may wish to go to the other extreme and show as little sharpness as possible by opening up to full aperture like f/2.8 or f/4. One advantage of the latter option is that any out-of-focus highlights will show as circle-like bubbles that can look very attractive with macro photography.
- Blend Flash with Ambient
With more static subjects it can be fun to add a blip of flash just to liven up an image. Exposing your subject to natural light is a great place to start. However, adding a bit of off-camera fill-in flash and increasing the shutter speed by one stop in order to darken the background adds an even more dramatic effect with macro photography.
Looking for unique ideas for macro pictures? An excellent time to search for macro subjects is after it rains. When everything is dripping with droplets of rain water. Go in close to show how the raindrops act as miniature lenses, magnifying the veins in leaves.
Trying to get macro pictures with small but lively subjects like butterflies can be difficult. It’s difficult to get close enough to them for frame-filling shots. Try stalking them later in the day, just as they are about to settle down for the night.
- Macro Flower Photography
When taking macro flower photography, you’ll want to keep an eye on the weather before you head out. At this level of magnification, any amount of shake will result in hazy blur. Even the slightest breeze can cause a flower to move, resulting in a blurry image. You’ll want to ensure that the wind is at a minimum before you head out, or be prepared to combat the movement by using a fast shutter speed.
Macro photography is the best way to capture minuscule details, allowing you to explore a tiny, hidden world that would otherwise go unnoticed.