Mastering Macro Photography: Top 10 Macro Photo Tips and Techniques

Easy-to-Follow Guide on Taking Macro Pictures

Taking Macro Pictures

Macro Photography is responsible for most of the captivating photos of nature we find on the internet. This type of photography lays emphasis on detail, patterns, and textures. Aside from that, it also aims to achieve a 1:1 magnification—or larger—of their subjects. When your photo has a 1:1 magnification, it is of the same size on the sensor as it is in actuality.

Most digital cameras have built-in macro photo settings. However, these settings are not always accurate. So if you’re interested in this art and eager to accomplish your photography shot list that includes shooting tiny crawling insects, then follow these 10 useful macro photography tips for SLR camera users.

Use a tripod

  • This is by far the most unused macro photography trick. Most people will overlook the idea of using a tripod and assume that their hands will be steady all throughout their shoot. But trust me, nothing will ensure sharpness more than using a tripod. A macro photography shoot means waiting for the perfect timing, and by waiting, I mean long hours.

Simplicity is key to Macro Photography, and space plays an important role in composing those photographs. Click here to learn how to compose simple yet poignant photographs.

Be ready like a soldier!

  • Again, Macro photography is a very intricate type of photography so you might as well prepare for the worst case scenarios like having to lay flat on the ground or submerging yourself in a lake. Pack-up not just your cameras but also extra clothes, reusable plastics, mats, wipes, and anything you could use while shooting. Better be prepared always because you might only get one shot.

Live View + Manual Focus

  • This is also a very easy macro shooting tip. Instead of having to squint your eye so hard just to ensure sharpness, you better use the live view feature of your camera. This will allow you to take a good look at your subject. Pair it up with manual focus so you can take full control of how sharp it is. Now you just made your life easier!

Nothing beats natural light

  • This is best if you can’t afford a proper macro photography lighting set just yet. Natural light will give you more vibrant shots that will require less or no editing at all. However, if the situation demands and you need to use artificial lighting, you might as well use an off-camera flash to avoid startling your subject (those tiny and sensitive insects for example) and casting a shadow on them.

close up macro shots

Expose and Focus

  • Before you start taking close up macro shots, you should be well aware of the basic exposure and focus techniques. Appropriate exposure and focus settings are keys to good photo composition. These basic functions of your digital camera will guide you in successfully turning macro shots to fascinating photos.

When doing close focus shots, aperture should ideally be in the range of f/16 to f/22. This is also the exact time where your tripod comes in handy as this setting will require steadiness.

No need to buy expensive lenses

Macro lenses might be a little pricey, so instead of buying new lenses, you can just use extension tubes. These tubes are inserted between the lens and camera body and take the lens further away from the sensor. These tubes work well with the normal SLR camera lenses (20mm-50mm).

Macro lenses

Simplicity is key

  • Macro photography aims to capture the elaborate details of a subject. To complement these details, the background should be simple and neutral so they won’t compete with the subject. Choose which part of the subject you’d focus on and make sure the background is concealed enough.

Shoot from an unexpected angle

  • Another element of photo composition is photography angles. When doing micro shots, be more creative by taking your photos to another point of view. While most photographers aim for the full frontal view, why not try the other sides. Angling is an art by itself. Being able to find a good angle means having more creative shots to choose from.

Shoot as many as you can!

  • As I’ve said, you might only get one chance to get that perfect shot, so when you have the opportunity, be ready. Prepare your camera setting and take as many shots as possible. The more shots you take means the more chances you’ll have in landing on the perfect one.

Practice hard!

  • All these steps to macro photography, whether easy or hard, require practice. This is by far the best photography technique. All good photographers started with just a camera to practice on. Continuous practice will differentiate you from a person who just owns an SLR camera.

These easy-to-follow steps will help you improve not just your macro photography skill but your photography skill in general. Go ahead and take the perfect shots!

P.S. If you are interested in learning more about photography, you can check other tips and guides here. The time for slacking is over, now is the time to sharpen those photography skills!

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