The Tiny World of Macro: 8 Quick Tips to Shoot Small Objects

Macro photography, or the art of taking detailed, extreme close-ups of a subject, is one of the most exciting activities that photographers of all skill levels can try.

Once you learn to light and compose for macro photography, it doesn’t take much to produce professional-looking shots with minimal equipment. With a few cost-friendly modifications, you can create incredible images with your camera or even your smartphone.

In this article, we’ll cover eight simple tips to get you started in this exciting genre.

1. Get a good macro lens or modify what you have

Macro lenses come in a variety of focal lengths ranging from about 30mm all the way to 200mm. Your lens’ focal length dictates how close you can get to your subject. For example, the focusing distance of a 100mm lens is about a foot, while 50mm gets you as close as eight inches. Longer focal lengths are perfect for photographing small insects that don’t like humans getting near them. On the other hand, shorter focal lengths are generally ideal for non-moving objects.

The Tiny World of Macro: 8 Quick Tips to Shoot Small Objects
by Andrea Riezzo

But if you don’t have a lot to spend on dedicated macro lenses, you can convert regular lenses using bellows or extension tubes that typically cost less than a hundred US dollars. Just like telescopes (but for small objects), these special attachments allow the light to travel farther and magnify the image in the process.

Another cheap alternative that many photographers use is reverse mounting. By using an adapter (also called macro coupler), any lens can be attached to the camera in reverse to achieve macro magnification.

However, since you have to install it backward, it also disables your equipment’s autofocusing and metering capabilities. To retain the auto functions, you have the option to screw a reversed lens unto a regularly mounted lens using the coupler.

2. Control exposure

Before you start shooting, it would help to tweak your camera settings to maintain the quality of your photos.

First, adjust your ISO to increase or decrease your sensor’s light sensitivity. Most devices may let you go up to 25,000 or more, but be aware that the image noise also becomes more evident as the value increases. To prevent this, select the lowest option to minimize noise. If you’re in a dark location, you can get away with raising it up to 800 without sacrificing too much of the image quality. However, try your best to keep it between 100 or 200 to guarantee smooth, grainless shots.

Next, change the aperture somewhere between f/4 to f/8. If you open your lens too wide (such as f/1.8 or f/2.8), you’ll have difficulty focusing because the depth of field is shallow and everything would be in danger to end up blurry. On the other hand, if you select a smaller value (between f/11 to f/22), your background might become too distracting since everything becomes sharp.

Macro photography, or the art of taking detailed, extreme close-ups of a subject, is one of the most exciting activities that photographers of all skill levels can try.

Once you learn to light and compose for macro photography, it doesn’t take much to produce professional-looking shots with minimal equipment. With a few cost-friendly modifications, you can create incredible images with your camera or even your smartphone.

In this article, we’ll cover eight simple tips to get you started in this exciting genre.

 

 

3. Grab a few add-ons

Having the right accessories often is key to capturing beautiful macro photos. Even if you’re shooting with just a basic camera or a smartphone, you could end up with some amazing photos with the right equipment.

One great accessory to carry along when shooting, especially outdoors, is a mini tripod. It’s especially useful when you find yourself shooting in awkward or tight situations that make handheld shooting difficult. A smaller tripod will not only keep your camera stable but also allow you to keep the lens at the right angle.

Macro photography, or the art of taking detailed, extreme close-ups of a subject, is one of the most exciting activities that photographers of all skill levels can try.

The Tiny World of Macro: 8 Quick Tips to Shoot Small Objects
by Al Martin

Once you learn to light and compose for macro photography, it doesn’t take much to produce professional-looking shots with minimal equipment. With a few cost-friendly modifications, you can create incredible images with your camera or even your smartphone.

In this article, we’ll cover eight simple tips to get you started in this exciting genre.

4. Mix natural and artificial lights

Don’t hesitate to use artificial light together with natural light to fill in dark and backlit areas. Doing so not only creates a more balanced exposure, but also adds dimension to the subject.

The easiest way is to set up an external flash unit near your subject. As mentioned before, you can also use other portable light sources to provide adequate exposure.

The Tiny World of Macro: 8 Quick Tips to Shoot Small Objects
by Krista McPhee

Macro photography, or the art of taking detailed, extreme close-ups of a subject, is one of the most exciting activities that photographers of all skill levels can try.

Once you learn to light and compose for macro photography, it doesn’t take much to produce professional-looking shots with minimal equipment. With a few cost-friendly modifications, you can create incredible images with your camera or even your smartphone.

5. Experiment with different subjects

When most people think of macro photography, they often imagine images of small insects and plants, but that doesn’t mean you’re limited to shooting tiny flora and fauna. You can take pictures of virtually anything you find interesting.

Think outside the box and look for unusual objects that most people haven’t seen extremely up close before. It could be anything from an adorable feature on your favorite pet to details on food such as donut sprinkles.

Macro photography, or the art of taking detailed, extreme close-ups of a subject, is one of the most exciting activities that photographers of all skill levels can try.

Once you learn to light and compose for macro photography, it doesn’t take much to produce professional-looking shots with minimal equipment. With a few cost-friendly modifications, you can create incredible images with your camera or even your smartphone.

In this article, we’ll cover eight simple tips to get you started in this exciting genre.

 

6. Be mindful of composition

Just because you’re shooting small things doesn’t mean you can ignore composition altogether. Whatever you’re photographing, remember to frame your subject well.

The rule of thirds is just as applicable in macro photography as other artistic disciplines. To help you compose your picture, turn on your camera screen’s grid lines (consult your camera manufacturer’s manual; every device uses different methods to enable this function). To create a visually balanced image, place your subject where the lines on the screen intersect.

Another great technique is to let the subject dominate the picture by putting it in the middle of the frame. Although it doesn’t follow the rule of thirds, this strategy is especially effective as it helps the viewer’s eyes go directly to the center. Most scientific macro photographs use this method because it’s simple and isn’t distracting.

The Tiny World of Macro: 8 Quick Tips to Shoot Small Objects
by Shahzin Shajid

7. Fine tune focusing

Using autofocus for macro photography is nearly impossible, so it would be best to focus your lens manually. Once you disable the auto function, simply adjust the focus ring until your subject is clear.

However, due to the shallow depth of field, this in itself can be difficult to do. To check your focus, use the zoom-in button (the one with the magnifying glass icon) and examine if the area you selected is indeed sharp.

In certain cases, the depth of field can be so shallow that only a section of your subject stays sharp. If you find yourself in this situation, you can either choose a smaller aperture or select a specific area that you want to be clear. For instance, if you’re shooting a butterfly, and only part of its body is in focus, you may have to decide whether you want to highlight the head or the wings. You can also look for exciting details or patterns that your viewers might want to see, and make those your focal point.

8. Play around with different backgrounds

Due to the shallow depth of field in macro images, you might end up thinking that background isn’t that important. In reality, it contributes a lot to the photo because it adds to the visual narrative and the overall mood. Whether you’re shooting outdoors or indoors, always pay attention to what’s behind your subject.

If you want to make your image look realistic, choose natural environments. All the grass or flowers around you may not be sharp, but they add to the overall aura of the image. Just look at the picture of the bee below as an example:

The petals in the back may not be sharp, but they clue in the viewers that the insect is flying close to a flower.

Now, have you ever noticed why the backgrounds of extreme close-up shots of specimens in science magazines and books are black? As discussed before, plain backgrounds work well with macro photography. If you want your viewers to focus on the details of your subjects, choose a black background. It’s usually the most ideal since its dark and not as distracting as other colors.

Macro photography may be a specialized genre, but unlike what many people think, it’s accessible even to regular enthusiasts. Although it seems intimidating at first, you’ll realize you don’t need that much to create a macro masterpiece. You don’t even have to go to exotic places to do it; there’s a strange, fascinating world waiting for you in your own backyard.

Source – canva.com

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