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Macro Photography

Macro Photography

Take digital pictures of very small details

Most of our world, though very near and openly exposed to our sight, gets completely unnoticed just because it is too small, or perhaps because we are too in a hurry, busy and distracted: wonderful subjects of every sort which are not concealed and just wait for our eyes to spot them.
All we need to discover and reveal such minute details are two simple things: time to think and visualize pictures, and any digital camera at hand (even point-and-shoot cameras can do). There is no technical difficulty: anybody can shoot close-up pictures.
In one word, what you need is just commitment.

This section is all about the overlooked amazing little universe around you.
We have prepared a few tutorials for you here: you will learn how to shoot macro the best way.
Here is what you will find in this section:

What is Macro Photography

There is no strict definition of macro photography, actually.

It is all about magnification ratio, anyway.

  • Magnification ratio is 1:2 when its image projected by the lens into the sensor/film is half that life-size
  • Magnification ratio is 1:1 when its image projected by the lens into the sensor/film is life-size
  • Magnification ratio is 2:1 when its image projected by the lens into the sensor/film is twice than life-size

How do you tell if you are really shooting life-size? How do you know? All that was rather trivial in the film times: just shoot slides and compare subject with film. The good news is that it is even easier in the digital age: just like Hasselblad, view and other high-end camera users could directly measure image in the ground glass, it is a simple matter of enabling live-view and measuring your subject on the rear camera display.

As a general rule, one can tell it is macro photography when the magnification ratio is about 1:1, which means that the image on film (or sensor) is about the same size that the real subject.
Camera companies, instead, tend to be less strict on that. They loosely consider as adequate a 1:1 ratio on an average postcard-size print, so that they can boast “macro” features on consumer cameras which are not really up to the job.

No matter how you define it, the main point is taking pictures of small objects.

Six Beautiful Macro Photography Examples

Candle wick shot with a reversed lens — Photo by s_karr

Photo ©© s_karr

Seven basic tips for better macro photography

  1. Everything will be new and valuable if observed from a close-up perspective.
    Go past your standard way of looking at things. Do not search for extraordinary subjects. Even a simple grain of salt might look absolutely surprising when enlarged enough. There is a new world around you, ready to be discovered.

  2. Use a tripod.
    Make sure that both camera and your subject are firmly set up: prefer a tripod or use any other rig at hand; whenever possible, block your subject with tape, sticks, stones and whatever else you feel appropriate. Also, shield your scene from the wind if you are shooting outdoor. Shoot by a wireless remote trigger in order to avoid touching the camera at all, and lift the mirror before actual triggering the shutter (whenever possible and appropriate).

  3. Both background and foreground might be distracting.
    Have them blurred and cleaned from disturbing elements. Choose the right point of view, shoot and inspect your picture in-camera at once: if required set up a better stage and reshoot.

  4. The easiest way to focus is to move camera back and forward.
    Leave the focusing helix alone. Depending on the situation, moving the subject might be a fine choice as well. Also, as you are shooting digital, consider focus stacking software for enhancing depth-of-field.

  5. Double-check focus. Then check it again.
    At high magnification ratios depth of field is often much shallower than you might like. You should also check a zoomed-in image just after your shot. Checking focus more than once both before and after shooting is good practice.

  6. Light is a key factor: light your scene appropriately.
    Avoid too harsh contrast. Use flashes, reflectors, diffusers, and do not forget that, although tiny, your subject deserves the same care as any other model does. Remember that exposure is often tricky. Check exposure both before and after shooting. Bellows extension exposure compensation has to be taken into account if required.

  7. Do not use high Iso settings.
    Keep your sensor/film speed low. Grain will spoil your macro pictures, definitely. Shoot Raw format if you can. Bracket exposures.

Seven Simple Tutorials on Macro Photography

  1. Macro Photography with Point-and-Shoot Digital Cameras
    You own a simple digital camera, no manual controls, yet chances are that such an affordable device can shoot very beautiful macro pictures of small subjects. Let’s see here how to.

  2. Close-Up Photos using a Magnifying Glass in front of the Lens
    As long as macro photography involves enlarging small subjects, a magnifying glass should do. No joke. It works, and it works fine.

  3. Close-up Lens for Macro Photography
    Maybe the most practical way to shoot macro, such lenses are affordable and ensure good optical quality.

  4. Reverse Lens Technique in Macro Photography
    Digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera owners will enjoy this flexible technique, enabling them to reach very high magnification factors.

  5. How to Choose a Macro Lens
    Indeed the best tools for shooting macro photography.

  6. Extension Tubes for Macro Photography
    Extra magnification the easy (and cheap) way. Coupled with reverse or macro lens, it is the key for stunning shots.
    An extension tube can also be an easy do-it-yourself macro project.

  7. Stack a Reversed Prime Lens for Macro Photography
    High quality macro pictures, the easy way.

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