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Food and Nature Macro Photography: Same Techniques- Different Subjects

Food and Nature Macro Photography: Same Techniques- Different Subjects

Macro photography is capturing something small and making it look larger than life. The lens can focus and help take a picture of things in extreme detail, not visible to the human eye. Maybe it’s the extra fine detail which attracts many photographers. Capturing something which we may take for granted like a blade of grass, a coffee bean or a slice of kiwi fruit in a displayed life-sized form, is pretty special.


Natural light works best for both types of macro photography. Because macro photography forces you to get up close, you have to be sure you have plenty of light. Whether you’re photographing food or insects, your image might benefit from some extra light. This can come from using a reflector, an external unit like a flash gun or a ring flash from


When you do close up or macro photography, the food, insect or flower is your subject and the only star of your image. Focus on it and don’t forget to be creative. Try to avoid over complicating your scene with many different elements. This will distract the viewer from the main subject and will make your image confusing. A minimalist approach and clever use of negative space is often better, in particular if you do not fill the frame with the subject.

Depth of Field

Play around with your lens' aperture, this way you can obtain more or less of your image in focus. Focus on the main point of the subject that you want to target. If your camera from supports live view, use it to zoom-in and ensure that the image is sharp. Set the aperture around f/11. If you want a greater depth of field where more of the subject is in focus, use a smaller aperture like f/16 or f/22.  Because you are working with very shallow depths of field, most of your image will be out of focus. Blurred images of food are difficult to recognize and they can confuse the viewer. But you can also use blur creatively. Extreme close ups and macros give far better results with grains of pepper, sugar cubes or salt crystals.

Shutter speed

Shoot your macro food pictures with a high shutter speed. The reason is because even the slightest shake will appear as a blurry image and therefore show up out of focus. So here, maximum natural light and control of your ISO and aperture will ensure you're at the right place. Also when photographing objects that tend to move suddenly, like bugs and insects, a higher shutter speed is better to stop motion and freeze the subject. As a rule of thumb try not to drop below 1/400th or 1/500th shutter speed. With the right skills, you will be able to capture amazing images even in your own backyard or right in your kitchen!

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