Ten Tips For Working With Macro Digital Photography

macro flower photography, macro photography, macro photography lighting tips, macro photography tip, macro photography tutorial, tips for macro photography Photo by Amy Renfrey
Macro photography is a fun way to get close up shots look stunning. If you want to get technical, the real definition of macro is the image on the film or sensor being as big as the actual subject. In this case, the camera lens must have the capability to focus on an area as small as approximately 24×36mm because this size is the size of the image on the sensor. This is frequently referred to magnification of 1:1.

What makes macro photography so enjoyable is that it’s intensely creative and powerfully flexible. You have a lot many opportunities around you right now then you think for macro photography. And you don’t need expensive digital photography equipment to do it, in fact the secret is in your lens.

Before we get into lenses in full detail, if you’re starting out in macro this type pf photographic category can be a helpful starter to gaining new knowledge very quickly. You can learn new tricks and have fun experimenting in the comfort of your own home. Here are ten tips to getting sensationally clear, beautiful up close macro shots;

Always use a tripod. It’s important to get yourself a good quality tripod. A poor quality tripod will slip, and won’t hold the camera steady. You will get a lot of use from your tripod, so see it as an investment. You can use a good tripod for table work too, which is ideal for taking macro shots of flowers in a vase in your own home.

Look at your lens. It’s very important to get some good extension from your lens when taking macro shots. If you already own a macro lens have a look at the 2x tele-converter to double its effective focal length. A tele-converter lens will work to provide greater maximum magnification at the minimum focusing distance.

Use a shutter release cable. Using one of these very handy things will reduce any potential vibrations, movement or harmful blur. Add a self timer to your macro along with your shutter release cable to add razor sharpness to your images.

Don’t forget your mirror lock-up if you have this available to reduce camera vibration, movement or blur even more.

Remember that aperture affects depth of field. Using an aperture of between f16 and f32 is a good place to work with. You can also use a while aperture such as f2.8 which will give you a very shallow depth of field and then you can be very selective on what you want to focus on.

For beautiful flowers or parts of trees or bushes, remember a windy day will just frustrated you as it will most likely create blur and it will be very hard to capture your flower well. Try cutting it off the branch (if possible) and bring it inside. You can peg it up or put it in a vase to keep it still and out of the wind.

Keep a clean background in mind. A background with a lot of busyness is distracting. It will take the viewers eye off your main subject. Try a pure white background to emphasize cleanliness, or a pure black background to enhance bold colour. You can use neutral tones for macro such as pale blue or brown. All you have to do is use coloured paper.

Break the rules. I have never listened to anyone when taking macro pictures. I love to take weird, unusual, totally abstract subjects to include in my macro collection. You can also use metal as an interesting subject. (Jewellery, pins, forks, spoons, etc.)

If you don’t have adequate lighting then use your own. Don’t be afraid to use a lamp, or flash off-side, but not too close. You don’t want to overexpose your subject. You can try a torch if you like to create interesting shadows. And don’t forget black and white macro shots look fantastic too.

If you use a low ISO such as ISO 50 for example, just remember you’ll get better results for your macro shots. Since you should be using a tripod, a low ISO should not hinder you. Its fine to use anywhere from ISO 50 to ISO 200 for your macro shots. Any higher and you’d be getting nosier images. I’ve always set the ISO to the lowest setting when dong macro, such as ISO 50. I would recommend to use a noise reduction filter on your camera if possible or you can use some very nifty tricks for reducing noise after the shot has been taken. If possible try shooting in RAW mode for the absolute best in image control at the post process level.

Photo by Amy Renfrey

You will get a lot of inspiration by looking at images from professional photographers. Look and learn and then find your own style.

About the Author

Amy is an multi-award winning photographer from Australia. She teaches enthusiast photographers how to take beautiful, professional photos in easy, plain English. She has a monthly photography emagazine and ebooks to help you create stunning images every time.

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  2. Darlene says:

    Very good written story. It will be useful to everyone who utilizes it, including yours truly :). Keep doing what you are doing – looking forward to more posts.

  3. Cecilia says:

    Excellent thanks Amy. Are teleconverters (x2) different from “extenders’? If so, how, and which is better/

    • Extension tubes just shift the lens farther from the digital camera. The attendant boost in magnification is:

      Magnification Alteration = extension/focal length

      so a 50mm extension tube could give you an maximum magnification of 50/28 ~ 1.6X (if the lens does not get in the way). Given that there’s no extra glass, the picture will be as good as the original lens can do. You’ll probably lose all automatic aspects of your lens/camera system with a low price set of tubes.

      A 2X TC will give a enlargement of double what you can get without it; likely something like 1/2X.

      A good solution for your situation is a Raynox DCR 150 ($50) that clips onto the front of your 28-300 zoom and will give a big, continuous variety of magnifications (about 2X max) at a sound working distance (about 8″) at the same time as preserving all the automatic features of the lens/camera. As well as it is simple to hold & click on & off.

      You should also be familiar with extension tubes dont really magnify, but instead alter the range at which you can focus. So with a 50mm a focusing like 5cm to 10cm but this all relies upon on the size of the tube and the lens. There a great way to begin close up photography but you’ll like a prime lens which you can manually change the fstop or you’ll get annoyed fairly rapidly

      Teleconverters and extension tubes have 2 different reasons. A converter has glass and “has an extension of” the focal length of you lens so your zoom lens would be a 56-600 with a 2x converter. In addition, with a 2x converter, you lose 2 stops of fstop in effect. A 1.4x acts to be the same, just multiply the focal length by 1.4.
      Extension tubes shift the photographic lens away from the camera sensor and enable you to focus very close. They are just hollow tubes. They generally come in a collection of three. They allow you to turn your lens into a “close up” of sorts.

  4. Jaye says:

    Close ups a great, and extreme close ups are even better. I would love to photograph a flys eye for example, it would be amazing.

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