Before we get into lenses in full detail, if you’re starting out in macro this type of photographic category can be a helpful starter to gaining new knowledge very quickly. You can learn new tricks and have fun experimenting in the comfort of your own home. Here are ten tips to getting sensationally clear, beautiful up close macro shots;
1. Always use a tripod. It’s important to get yourself a good quality tripod. A poor quality tripod will slip, and won’t hold the camera steady. You will get a lot of use from your tripod, so see it as an investment. You can use a good tripod for table work too, which is ideal for taking macro shots of flowers in a vase in your own home.
2. Look at your lens. It’s very important to get some good extension from your lens when taking macro shots. If you already own a macro lens have a look at the 2x tele-converter to double its effective focal length. A tele-converter lens will work to provide greater maximum magnification at the minimum focusing distance.
3. Use a shutter release cable. Using one of these very handy things will reduce any potential vibrations, movement or harmful blur. Add a self timer to your macro along with your shutter release cable to add razor sharpness to your images.
4. Don’t forget your mirror lock-up if you have this available to reduce camera vibration, movement or blur even more.
5. Remember that aperture affects depth of field. Using an aperture of between f16 and f32 is a good place to work with. You can also use a while aperture such as f2.8 which will give you a very shallow depth of field and then you can be very selective on what you want to focus on.
6. For beautiful flowers or parts of trees or bushes, remember a windy day will just frustrated you as it will most likely create blur and it will be very hard to capture your flower well. Try cutting it off the branch (if possible) and bring it inside. You can peg it up or put it in a vase to keep it still and out of the wind.
7. Keep a clean background in mind. A background with a lot of busyness is distracting. It will take the viewers eye off your main subject. Try a pure white background to emphasize cleanliness, or a pure black background to enhance bold colour. You can use neutral tones for macro such as pale blue or brown. All you have to do is use coloured
8. Break the rules. I have never listened to anyone when taking macro pictures. I love to take weird, unusual, totally abstract subjects to include in my macro collection. You can also use metal as an interesting subject. (Jewellery, pins, forks, spoons, etc.)
9. If you don’t have adequate lighting then use your own. Don’t be afraid to use a lamp, or flash off-side, but not too close. You don’t want to overexpose your subject. You can try a torch if you like to create interesting shadows. And don’t forget black and white macro shots look fantastic too.
10. If you use a low ISO such as ISO 50 for example, just remember you’ll get better results for your macro shots. Since you should be using a tripod, a low ISO should not hinder you. Its fine to use anywhere from ISO 50 to ISO 200 for your macro shots. Any higher and you’d be getting nosier images. I’ve always set the ISO to the lowest setting when dong macro, such as ISO 50. I would recommend to use a noise reduction filter on your camera if possible or you can use some very nifty tricks for reducing noise after the shot has been taken. (See my blog with article about reducing noise at: www.DigitalPhotography.WordPress.com) If possible try shooting in RAW mode for the absolute best in image control at the post process level.
You will get a lot of inspiration by looking at images from professional photographers. Look and learn and then find your own style.
By Amy Renfrey
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