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Macro Photography Hints and Tips for Beginners

Macro Photography Hints and Tips for Beginners

macro photo

Macro photography, or taking larger-than-life-size pictures of very small subjects, is a branch of photography where you can explore the details of the world around you. You can come up with some fantastic images in the process. Once impractical for many because it required a sizeable investment in equipment, macro photography is now accessible to everyone who owns a DSLR or even a point-and-shoot camera. We’ve put together a few tips and bits of information to help you with seeing the world around you in new ways.

Shutter speed
You’ll find that the small vibrations from your hands when holding the camera will be enough to make the whole picture jump around. Combine this with trying to photograph an insect sitting on a plant that is swaying in the wind. You have a real challenge. A high shutter speed is therefore recommended especially for beginners. Start out with a shutter speed of 1/250 or faster.


Hold it steady

It is helpful to just give up the thought of autofocus from the very beginning, and learn to focus manually instead. Unless you are shooting something completely static, tripods will be very impractical to use in macro photography. Any insect will have flown away during the first 10 seconds of your 1-minute tripod setup. Simply hold your camera from with both hands, and anchor your elbows against your sides or legs, to give even more stability. Turn your focusing ring to approximately the magnification you want to get. Then focus by slowly rocking towards the subject, while trying to snap the photo exactly at the right moment. Since macro photography typically involves brightly-lit images full of small, sharp details, you need a lot of light. When shooting outdoors or in uncontrolled environments, keep your backgrounds simple and bright. A shallow depth of field will help with this. A bunch of lines and shapes behind your subject will be distracting, even if they’re blurry.

Try to find uncommon angles, such as shooting the insect from the side, from the front, or from below. Make use of your flip out screen on your Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR from if you don’t want to crawl on the ground. If the insect is sitting on a plant or a leaf, try pulling up that plant to hold it against the sky. This giving you an interesting angle and a more beautiful background.


Assuming you’re all set to start getting some crazy up-close images, what are you going to shoot? Get outside and find some ladybugs and butterflies, flowers and plant life. Or try to get off the beaten path, figuratively, if not literally. The potential for stunning imagery is almost limitless, and can often be found without leaving your home. Explore the nooks and crannies of the space around you. Look for those forgotten corners and secret spots that only the tiniest of critters know about. Then shine a bright light in there and see what those critters are up to.
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