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Macro Photo Tips

written by: SparkKD•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 1/26/2011

Are you good at taking photos of flowers, insects, leaves, dewdrops and close ups in general? Would you like to know how to become better at macro photography? Read these macro photo tips to improve your macro photography skills.

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    Macro Photography Introduction

    Macro Photography can be defined as closeup photography of very small objects. In digital camera parlance, macro photography involves taking a photo of an object of approximately the same size as your digital camera sensor.

    Macro photography is usually used to take photos of objects such as flowers, insects, leaves, dewdrops and other objects having minute detail which may not be visible to the naked eye.

    Important Technical Details for Macro Photography

    The following information is vital in order to become better at macro photography

    • Closest focussing distance of the lens: This will help determine the distance from which you can take photos
    • Sensor Size and Magnification Ratio: With a 1:1 magnification ratio, the sensor size is the size of the smallest object of which macro photos can be taken.
    • Aperture Priority mode and Aperture control: Depth of field is used in macro photos in order to focus the object and blur the background. Hence knowledge of aperture is necessary.
    • Macro mode in point and shoot cameras: While it would be nice to have an SLR, evne those with point and shoot cameras can take macro photos by making use of the macro mode.
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    Macro Photo Tips: Challenges & Technique


    • Focus: Focus is the most important factor when it comes to macro photography and also one of the most challenging. When your focussed in very close, to say the eye of an insect or the inner details of a flower, and you need to keep some part of the image in focus and some out of focus, it requires certain amount of skill to get the focus details right.
    • Vibration: Even if your lens has vibration compensation, due to the nature of macro photography, even the slightest vibration will get magnified and will disturb the image.
    • Learning Curve: Based upon your goals, it may require many, many tries before you start getting satisfactory results. However, if your patient and apply these macro photo tips diligently while shooting photos, then you will reap the rewards. So its important to avoid getting disheartened and focus on learning and improvings ones' technique.
    • Shooting Flowers: Breeze is an enemy when it comes to shooting flowers. Even the slightest of breezes will make the flower go out of focus.Flower Photography - Image Credits 
    • Lighting: The flash on cameras provides limited lighting which can prove challenging at times.

    Techniques to overcome these challenges

    • Use a Tripod: Make use of a tripod in order to reduce vibration. This will help you retain your composition and try out multiple settings.
    • Breathe Out: Exhale before you click the shutter. This is true for any genre of photography and will lead to better focussing.
    • When shooting flowers/leaves, make sure its a dead calm day with no breeze. Also, tie the branches etc to a rigid object to prevent them from moving.
    • When shooting insects, use a telephoto lens with a macro feature as this will let you take the photo from a distance. (Avoid scaring it away)
    • Manual Focussing: While most of us prefer to use auto-focus most of the time (including me), manual focus will be of good use in macro photography.
    • Self-timer: Use this to make the shot completely still and prevent user-induced vibrations.
    • Overcome Lighting Issues: Choose a good time of the day to shoot such that the objects are well-lit. Alternatively, make use of a reflector or add-on flashes if need be.