Macro Photography:Why Can't I Get It Right?

composition perfect Aug 20, 2014

It was the bright blue sky contrasted only by the bright white wisps of clouds. The blue skies reflected in the water of the lake lying at the foot of the mountains. It was this intense beauty that made me take an interest in photography. I wanted to capture every aspect of this small artist community, located up in the hills of southern Mexico. It was a beautiful 15th century village, and I was there for 6 months.

I wanted to capture every precious moment.

So while there I took my first photography class.

That was over ten years ago. Since then I have taken a variety of courses, worked at different types of photography and I’ve even made some money at my hobby; a fact that  has motivated me to work even harder at this art. But recently, a client asked me to do some macro photography work. Now this had me stumped.

You see, I had worked very little in this medium. Still I took it on, and I found it quite challenging. Macro photography is the art of taking images of small objects like: flowers, insects, small vegetation, etc. And this technique does take practice and skill.

We’ve all seen this type of photographic work.

                                         

These are the extreme close up pictures of insects, bees, flowers and things like that. It is a beautiful technique but not easy to manage, especially if you are like me, and haven’t worked with the method very often. 

Needless to say, after more than a few attempts I got some very good shots. However, I did have to do some research and procure some specialized equipment. As a novice photographer getting the hang of macro photography can be challenging. So I’ve put together a few tips to help make the process easier for you.

Avoid the Shakes

                                  

The depth of field in macro photography is very narrow in macro photography, so it’s critical you focus needs to be spot on. The biggest problem when it comes to focus here is camera shake.  So you’ll need to shoot at a high shutter speed. To get it right you’ll need a tripod and a good cable release.

Don’t Use Auto Focus

Although it may be tempting, you never want to use the Auto Focus setting when doing Macro photography work.  Manually focus your lens so you have precision control of the tiny details that are magnified hundreds of time.

Composition

                                     

Take the time to get your composition perfect, or perfectly what you want. Move up, down and around your subject to find the best composition. The only constraint you could have in this type of work is a moving insect, so this may not be the best type of subject matter to shoot at first. Any other subject matter gives you plenty of time to find the perfect composition.

Do Some Bracketing

This is a process where you take at least three photographs of the same subject, using the same compositions, but doing so at different exposures to get the colour and shadow & highlight detail correct.

Simplify

The key to doing macrophotography is simplifying. You want to make everything as simple as possible, but still fill your frame with your subject.

Take Note of Your Background

Avoid background clutter as much as possible as the background will be out of focus in this type of image, so you want to eliminate any distracting objects. Sometimes it even helps to use a Lastolite Collapsible Background

 

Final Thoughts

As with all types of photography Macro photography requires experimentation. Use different angles to find the one that is the most pleasing.  This can be a very interesting medium for you as Macro photography goes into all of the little details. When you look closer at objects you’ll find a whole new world, and an array of different subjects to work with.

Still, macro photography skills are acquired just as you acquired your other photographic skills so you need to practice. The more you work with it the better your skills will get.

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