Ten Tips For Working With Macro Digital Photography

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 24x36mm because this size is the size of the image on the sensor. This is commonly referred to magnification of 1:1.

What makes macro photography so admired by many is that its intensely creative and powerfully flexible. You have many opportunities around you right now that exist for beautiful macro shots with your digital camera. 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;

  1. 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.
  2. Look at your lens. Its 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Don’t forget your mirror lock-up if you have this available to reduce camera vibration, movement or blur even more.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 emphasise 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.
  8. 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.)
  9. 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.
  10. 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. (See my blog with article about reducing noise at: www.DigitalPhotography.WordPress.com) If possible try shooting in RAW mode for the absolute best in image control at the post process level.

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

By Amy Renfrey


How To Get Clarity In Your Macro Digital Photography

If you’ve ever wanted to get a really good, clear close up shots with your digital photography but haven’t had much luck then here’s a bit of good news.

There are a lot of wonderful aspects to digital photography and getting close up digital photos are one of them. When I say ‘close up’ I am talking about taking a digital photo with a very short depth of field. To understand how to get suburb results for close up digital photography I’ll first explain some of the photography terms so you can learn faster.

Here is a definition:

“Digital photography with images that are life size or larger.”

That’s a good description, lets look at another way to describe close up digital photography:

“A method of getting close-up pictures of a subject by using Marco accessories attached to the camera’s lens.”

This second close up digital photography definition is definitely worth learning. It simply means that when you are getting close up shots, the image is very large. In order to make something very large you simply zoom in right? Well yes and no. You can zoom in all you like but you need to get the digital photography image looking clear, not just large. And in order to understand how to get good, clear close up digital images we have to first work with our depth of field. (And just on digital zoom- I would recommend you zoom with an optical lens over a digital lens any day.)

Depth of field simply means taking two objects in your digital image, the furthest and the closest, and then seeing how much focus is there. In other words:

“The amount of distance between the nearest and farthest objects that appear in acceptably sharp focus in a photograph. Depth of field depends on the size of the aperture, the distance of the ca
mera from the subject, and the focal length of the lens. The bigger the aperture, the greater the depth of field.”

So in order to get good, clear close up digital photography images you first have to work with a short depth of field (only the closest thing is in focus) and add some macro lenses so your subject that is in focus retains sharpness and clarity.

In digital photography terms a macro lens is what gives you the clarity up close because it has the capability to focus extremely closely (like a magnifying glass would for your eyes) and the minute detail of your close up subject is in clear focus. You can usually fill the frame quite confidently, giving you an enhanced clear digital image.

You will notice on your digital camera setting the icon for flower. This setting is not only to take flowers, it is there so you can get a bit better focus up close than you would on your other setting such as a landscape setting.

What happens is the camera changes its focus from usually a fair way in front of it to abut 30 cm in front to get good clear digital photos up close.

So now I have told you the definitions and given you a basic understanding of what means what in close up terms, now I’m going to tell you how to get good, clear close up shots.

Firstly when ever you do macro photography consider your lenses carefully. They are sometimes called magnifiers, or magnifying lenses or macro lenses. Then work out how close in you really need to get and pick your lens accordingly. Don’t just get the standard pack of macro lenses because the shop assistant tells you to, get the right ones that fit your camera and that you can work with easily, in other words only spend what will give you the desired result.

Next understand that when working with a very short depth of field the less light there is on your subject. It’s a common problem with macro photography, so make sure you have a lot of light on your subject. It’s quite simple really, there is less space on something close up because of just that; it’s a smaller space. If you can’t light up your subject then try increasing your exposure. Open your aperture more to get the desired effect.

Thirdly always get the digital camera to help you. Just because you are now using a macro lens doesn’t mean you can’t still use the flower icon setting on your digital camera to increase the desired close up effect. On most digital cameras doing this makes macro photography a little easier as the camera “knows” what you are doing and aids you accordingly.

So there you have it- the beginnings of macro digital photography. Always get good lenses and make sure you have plenty of light and use the flower setting if you need to.

Macro digital photography is a lot of fun. You can black and white digital photography using abstract subjects- that’s always fun, and you can really get creative and experiment with some amazing effects.

Good luck!

Amy Renfrey