Flowers, frozen in ice and then photographed in the studio with a Pentax K1000 film camera and a Macro lens. Estelle Cadwallader
The term macro photography is used when you produce an image where your subject is captured on your image sensor as life size (1:1 ratio)
In the case of most compact and DSLR settings this is not achieved and in fact ‘close-up’ photography would be a better description. However most manufacturers call their close-up mode ‘macro’
With a compact camera you are limited to the inbuilt macro mode. With a DSLR you can either use the macro setting on your camera or, if macro photography is something you are really interested in, you can buy a prime macro lens. These are quite expensive, but this lens will give you true macro results.
There are alternatives to an expensive macro lens.
Create close-up photographs with:
Close up filters – simple magnifying glasses that attach to the lens of your camera. These are inexpensive and lightweight but you will lose some quality as the glass won’t be as high standard as the glass in your lens.
Extension Tubes – these can be used if you have a camera that can interchange lenses. It moves the lens further from the sensor. They are stackable, contain no glass and again affordable but the longer the extension the less light will reach the sensor.
Flowers, photographed in the studio with a Pentax K1000 film camera and a Macro lens. Estelle Cadwallader
Things to consider:
Shutter release cable or Self-Timer to make sure your shots are completely still to eliminate the small amount of camera shake from pressing the shutter.
Tripod – again to eliminate camera shake and also allows you to play around and adjust your set without losing your composition
Composition – remember some of the basic rules of composition like the Rule of Thirds. Make sure your image has a main point of interest and place the focal point at one of the intersections in the grid. Try to select a non-cluttered or simple background for your main subject so that it doesn’t compete with it visually.
Focusing – Select manual focus if possible. I find that in macro photography it is helpful to have full control over focusing, especially when you have such a shallow depth of field where it is all the more important to make sure the right part of your shot is in focus.
Ideas for your Macro Shoot...
Fruit and Vegetables – for example a slice of lemon.
Cutlery and kitchen utensils – can create interesting lines and patterns.
Flowers, fungi, leaves.
Things with texture look great under a macro lens – rope, wood, fabric, rust.
Parts of the body, wrinkles on skin, hair, eyes and eyelashes.
Recent digital Macro shoot, using a Nikon D80 and a Sigma Macro lens
Set up, using fruit and coloured pieces of papers for backgrounds.
Cutlery, silver foil and reflective objects look great under the macro lens too..