Macro photography has the capability to provide a unique perspective on ordinary subjects. It's the art of capturing detailed, ultimate close-ups of subjects. While it can be difficult to perfect Macro photography, once you familiarize yourself with the proper lighting and composition, you'll be halfway there.
Macro shots differ depending on the level of magnification. Most DSLR cameras have a built in macro mode that makes it easier to capture significantly closer shots of a subject, even from a distance. So, how can we make the most of these shots? Below are a few simple ways to improve your macro photography and bring your photos to the next level.
1. Photograph during golden hours
If you take a photo early in the morning during the golden hours -- the first two hours after sunrise -- you can capture some beautiful elements. Insects that are slow moving in the cool hours will be easier to shoot, dew drops on leaves will be visible and you might see a bird or two sitting on a tree branch. Mornings are usually the time with soft and warm light. Not only does this result in an easier exposure, but the golden cast simply looks beautiful.
2. Experiment with the angle
When approaching a subject, experiment with different angles. We recommend capturing different focus areas of your subject. By simply changing what part of your subject is in focus, it can completely alter the outcome of your photo.
A mistake some beginner macro photographers make is capturing the entire subject in focus. This can distort the shape of the subject, lessening the overall impact of the photo.
Tip: When shooting wildlife, eyes should be the focal point.
3. Choose the right macro lens
Once you know all the basics of macro photography, you can elevate your photos to the next level with the right lens. To get the most out of your photos, you must equip yourself with the proper gear.
There are various kinds of macro lenses, each of which serves a unique purpose. What's best for someone else won’t necessarily be the best for you. When looking for the right macro photography lens, you must consider what you'll be shooting. If you're just starting out, you can purchase a high grade lens with a fixed focal distance. They are less expensive and have the capacity to produce sharper images than zoom lenses.
4. Play around with F-Stops
Depth of field can be a struggle with macro photography. If you increase the F-stop you will also need to adjust your shutter speed, ISO or add a light source to compensate for the higher F-stop in order to get the right exposure. A lower F-stop will create a shallower depth of field. On the other hand, if you increase your camera's F-stop, it will increase the depth of field.
One of the most difficult aspects of macro photography is perfecting the balance between sharpness and depth of field. The best way to learn is by playing around with the F-stops and understanding how it alters the focus on the subject.
5. Be steady
A slight movement can change the focal point of the photo. It’s essential to make sure both the subject and camera are still as you take the shot. We recommend using a tripod to keep a steady angle of your subject. If you don’t have a tripod, no worries! A good alternative is to position your arm and camera against something fixed like a wall or table.
6. Consider the background
The background of your subject, also known as negative space, plays a significant factor in producing a great photo. A good background will compliment the subject while a bad background choice can takeaway from the subject. It's best to avoid backgrounds with strong patterns or colors that may distract a viewer from the main subject. If there is too much going on in the photo, the background will compete with the subject for the viewer’s attention.
Tip: A shallow depth-of-field and a plain background will help your subject standout in the shot.
While there are a lot of factors to consider while taking your macro shot, it will soon become routine and go without saying. Once you spend time practicing, you'll be well on your way to shooting incredible macro shots.