A couple weeks ago we dove into lessons that developed our intentions and attention to details as photographers. And last week you guys rocked the  capturing reflections challenge. I am so impressed! Your talent as photographers has inspired me to show you how to bring all these skill sets together in a little thing called macro photography.

Macro Photography

Macro photography is photography magnified. Macro photography emphasizes the details, patterns, and textures in your shots. This type of shooting will expand your creativity. This week you will capture advanced, unexpected shots and I know you’re ready for the challenge! So what makes a great macro shot? These tips that will turn your close-ups into works of art!

tips for macro photography

Tips for Macro Photography
Week 16: 4/13-19

Tack Sharp Focus

tips for macro photography

Having a tack sharp image is key to a macro photograph! This is often the hardest part of macro photography. You may need to take your lens out of auto focus and switch on over to manual focus. Sometimes when you are too close to your subject, your camera can’t auto focus on your subject. However, you may be able to manually focus it yourself. Start by practicing manual focus on stationary subject, like a flower. Once you get that down, move on to a moving subject, like a butterfly or bee. When working with a moving subject, pre-focus first. Focus on something similar in the area you anticipate your intended subject to be. When it gets there, you are already to start snapping away!

Your aperture also comes into play when getting a tack sharp image. When shooting macros, you should use an f/ stop no wider than f /16. This will help get all or most of the main subject in focus.

Lighting

tips for macro photography

Lighting is very important for a great macro photograph! Of course, I prefer natural light but that all depends on the time of day, my subject, and the lens I am using. When photographing leaves, flowers, or anything else that is translucence, try to use some backlighting. Also keep in mind that the closer you are to your subject the more difficult it is to get the lighting just right.  When you are getting close to your subject,  you or your lens could end up blocking a lot of the light. This might be a good time to use your flash!

Equipment

You can achieve macro photographs with any camera you use. Whether you are using a point and shoot or a dSLR, you can get amazing close-up shots. However, to get the full affect of macro photography some special equipment comes in handy. If you have are using a dSLR, purchasing a macro lens {like the Nikon 85 mm or the Canon 100 mm} will help your macros immensely. If a new lens isn’t in your budget, extension tubes for your existing lens also work.

Another piece of equipment you might want to consider is a tripod. Camera shake is very noticeable when you are working on close ups. This will also help your image to be tack sharp. If you have remote shutter release, use it! This keeps your hands off the camera eliminating almost all camera shake.

Composition

tips for macro photograph

There are two different ways that I like to compose my macros.

1. Isolation. By isolating part of your subject, like a flower, you can create a great abstract shot. I like to do this when I am highlighting the details of the flower, like the petals. I will zoom in close filling the frame with the patterns.

2. Give your subject some room to breathe! By adding some “dead” space to your shot, you can help give your subject some context and also show off the scale of the subject. Keep your background simple! This will remove any distractions from your subject.

Patience

tips for macro photography

Out of everything I talked about above, patience is the hardest! Don’t go chasing a buzzing bee or get frustrated that the wind is blowing your flowers. Running around chasing your subject will only discourage you! Macro photography is never easy!  There is a lot of trial and error when it comes to taking macros. I have a ton of poorly lit or out of focus shots. But I keep on trying! Because when I finally nail that shot, it makes it all worth it!

This week your challenge is to get up close and personal with your subjects! Don’t forget to get creative! Make sure you share your photographs on Facebook

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