Beginners’ Guide for Macro Photography

Macro photography is often overlooked art form, but is in fact one of the most interesting types of photography. Seeing objects up close, those bulging eyes of a frog and the linear patterns on an insect’s wings are amazing subjects when caught by a macro lens. Shooting macro photography though, isn’t as easy as it looks like. There are techniques one needs to apply in order to learn and eventually master this form of photography. Here are some useful tips to enhance your macro photographing skills.

Start with a Perfect Subject

A macro image of a butterfly with clipped wing or a piece of cookie with crumbs all over makes an untidy macro subject. Not everything looks nice at close range, so be sure you capture only the perfect subject, like other types of photography you also need to carefully select your macro subjects

Start Early in the Day

If you will photograph nature up close then it’s best to start early in the morning when the sprinkling of dew appears and adds a dramatic background color to your subject. Also, insects are more relaxed in the morning which shows them sitting atop a leaf of a plant or hovering steady around a flower. These subjects can be easily macro photographed early in the morning.

macro photography
Insects are more relaxed and steady early in the day. Photo by: Lutra56

Use Backlighting

Use backlighting especially when shooting translucent objects such as flower petals, leaves and even the wings of butterflies. Look at how the light slips through from behind the subjects and creates a more dynamic macro subject

macro photography
A properly back-lighted subject. Photo by reiernlesen

Use Manual Focus

When shooting macro subjects such as insects and plants, it is best to capture your subject quickly before a strong wind blew the leaves or before the insects fly away. Using manual focus can afford you to quickly focus on your subject as opposed to consuming additional second or two by letting the autofocus adjusts backwards and forwards looking to lock on a subject.

Use a Polarizing Filter

A polarizer filter ensures you capture the same colors as seen in reality. By having this, the color of your macro photograph becomes more lively and pleasing to the eyes. Use a tripod when you shoot with polarizing filter as it slows down your shutter speed by a stop or two.

Avoid Shake at All Times

When shooting macro photography, the camera shake becomes more noticeable because the subjects is at its nearest. Always use a tripod when it is necessary when shooting in macro mode. Turn your image stabilization ON and set your camera to its quickest shutter speeds and set a higher ISO for low light conditions. It is better to use a remote release or the camera’s self-timer when firing the shutter button.

Get Closer and Add Space

You don’t have to capture the whole body of an insect; you can experiment by getting closer and at the same time giving enough space for the subject’s background to compliment your subject. By shooting the half body of an insect and letting the background leaf occupy the other half can create a strong, balanced and abstract macro image.

macro photography
A nice example of getting close but giving enough space. Photo by lassik_photos

 Fill in Enough Light

What is the use of capturing subjects at a very close range if the lighting is insufficient? Compliment the lack of natural light by using your camera’s built in flash, which is often can be directed upwards or by using a ring flash to get the light more evenly spread. A reflector to bounce some light into the darkened spots of your subject also greatly improves your image’s quality.

There you go, these are just some of the few Macro Photography techniques that you need to practice. As you go over and master these simple techniques you can now easily advanced to the more complex styles of shooting macro photography.


About Kristine Buenavista

Tin oftentimes takes her folding bike and old camera along country roads. Sometimes, she forgets to take pictures (though she never forgets when she finds great photos elsewhere). She narrates through words and images here. Travel, creativity, laughter, cerveza negra, scavenge hunt for beauty, starry-windy nights are among the things that make her feel weightless.

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