Macro Photography Techniques

Most modern point and shoot digital cameras come with a large menu of preset modes. There is the action, portrait, nighttime, and handful of other options, and most also provide the Macro setting. This is supposed to provide the photographer with the means of taking those amazing, super close up images of flowers, drops of water, and even commercial items like jewelry or food.

Can they? That all depends upon the amount of effort that the photographer is willing to commit to. Why? First of all, the majority of point and shoot cameras with the macro setting will not have a flash unit suitable for this type of work. That means that it is entirely up to the photographer to set the stage for the best results possible.

The first step is to bust out the tripod because a true macro image is never going to be one taken in the hand-held format.

After getting the camera on the tripod and pointed at the subject the photographer will have to dial the aperture open as wide as possible. Remember that lower f/stop numbers mean that the lens is letting in lots of light. It is also creating a shorter depth of field, but that is fine because with the macro image there is no need for any real depth of field at all.

Now that we have most of the settings dialed in we can begin to focus on the subject. This is something that is often a bit difficult because it is usually quite close to the lens. If a point and shoot provides for manual focus, this is the time to opt for this feature and to get as sharp as possible. While focusing it is important to remember that you are taking a photograph, not using a microscope, and that composition will still matter in the end. This translates to arranging the subject in the appropriate location of the frame while also focusing tightly.

By this time you may have noticed that the lighting is terrible. This is a common problem with macro photography and point and shoot cameras. This is the reason you will need to decide on using the flash on the camera (which might shoot entirely over the subject) or even bouncing it off something out of the frame. You could reflect it off a piece of paper or studio umbrella to flood the subject with enough light.

Finally, when you take the shot it is best to use the camera’s self-timer to do it as it isn’t worth the risk to trigger the shutter manually.

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.

Comments (10)

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  1. Matilda says:

    This is great news for us newbies who don’t have a top of the range camera and lenses. Thanks for looking out for us photography newbies.

  2. Harry says:

    GOod tip about the timer.

  3. Juni says:

    Thank you for such great information Amy.

  4. Max says:

    Can these macro techniques be only done with any old point and shoot digital camera?

  5. Thanks for your comment. What do you disagree with in particular?

  6. Demi says:

    Thanks for taking the time to write about this, I feel strongly about photography and always want to learn more.

  7. Mary says:

    awesome info. Many thanks for sharing :)

  8. Olivia says:

    What macro lens is best to get? I am having trouble chosing one. Thanks Amy, I love your ezine by the way, it’s incredibly helpful.

  9. James Blanch says:

    DO you always need a marco lens for macro photography?

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