Understanding macro photography

Macro photography is the art of taking pictures that are larger than life, but where the subject is, in fact, rather small. It’s a fascinating form of photography that allows you to really examine the details of objects up close and personal, while of course capturing stunning images.

While macro photography was once only available to certain photographers due to the expensive equipment that was required, this is no longer the case. With a DSLR or a digital camera, macro photography is accessible to everyone.

While micro and macro mean the opposite, micro meaning small and macro meaning large, they are often used to describe this type of photography because they achieve the same thing; make something small look big.

True macro photography is achieved using a dedicated macro lens, if you’re using a Canon camera, or a micro lens if you prefer Nikon. This type of lens can give you a minimum magnification of 1:1.

Close-up photography may appear to be the same, but it is not, the lens used is not macro, and objects appear large because the images are taken up close. The main difference because of this is the amount of fine detail that can be seen in the images and also the degree of magnification that can be used.

Using a specific lens will provide a really clear image where even the smallest details can be identified.

Macro photography can be affordable and simple, but if desired, it can also be expensive and much more complex. How affordable you make it is entirely up to your needs.

If you already own a digital camera, you actually have everything you need to start exploring macro photography. The majority of DSLR and DSLR cameras also have a macro mode that you can select which will also allow you to take the type of images you want.

If you already own a 50mm “prime” or prime lens, you actually have the basics you need for your macro setup.

While having the right equipment will really help you take good macro photos, like any other type of photography, the key is to practice. Experiment as much as you can with different sets and keep adapting your technique – it’s the best way to take great macro shots.

As the saying goes “practice makes perfect”, so be sure to shoot a lot, be sure to try out different subjects and different types of lighting, both natural and artificial. This way you know what works for you and what doesn’t. Try to take photos of things outdoors as well as objects indoors. If you’re out of inspiration, a photo sharing site is a great place to see the work of other photographers and to share tips and tricks.

Consider depth of field when taking your photos. As you get closer to your subject, the sharp focus area you have, the depth of field, becomes shallower, making it difficult to bring your entire subject into focus. If you’re using a DSLR, you can decrease your aperture to compensate. However, if you use a point and shoot, you can’t do anything. Decreasing your aperture will limit your light, so you may need to decrease your shutter speed as well.

Finally, you want to make sure your camera stays as stable as possible, so it’s worth investing in a tripod. It will really help you get the most out of your photo when everything is set up correctly.

Stewart C. Hartline