Macro-Photography 101: Equipment and Technique


Macro-photography is photographing subjects extremely up close. Usually the subjects are very small, such as animals, insects, plants, and so on. Macro-photography is a specialized discipline requiring certain equipment and skill sets.

First, those looking to enter the world of macro-photography should familiarize themselves with the types of equipment needed. A single-lens reflex (SLR) camera is of utmost importance. A high-quality SLR camera from a reputable brand will give you the best results in any form of professional photography and will fit the special lenses needed for macro photos. Macro lenses have different lenses with varying focal lengths, so which one you need will depend on the kind of camera you have and what you’re attempting to photograph.

Dragonfly #dragonfly #macrophotography #closeu...

Image by marcof via Flickr

An alternative to macro lenses is to use an extension tube for your camera, which alters the distance between the built-in lens and the sensor, thereby decreasing the focusing distance and increasing magnification. These tubes can be stacked together to find the right focus for the photographer.

Macro-photography requires a lot of patience and good lighting. Depth of field is very important in this type of photography, which can be assisted by excellent lighting schemes. Some photographers use special flash diffusers or even telephoto lenses to help with lighting, but you can also adjust your camera setting for a high ISO or slow shutter speeds (high f-number).

When taking macro photos of 3-D objects on different planes, it’s typically impossible to get everything into focus. This is where patience and an artistic eye come in, as you’ll need to determine which angle of focus will result in the best photo. As with all photography, trial and error is the only way to achieve the desired results, no matter what equipment you have.

As with any field of photography, don’t forget the other elements of each photo. Usually the background is completely blurred in macro photos, but you should still keep an eye out for distractions. Different angles will net all kinds of artistic results, as well as simple composition. Macro photography brings detail and texture to the viewer in a whole new way, so focus on one element to avoid “busy” photos. Simple, clean, and colorful is what’s most important for macro photography.

Finally, use a durable, sturdy tripod to avoid blurring. Try to work on bright but overcast days that will disperse light evenly across a subject, and enjoy what you’re doing.

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3 thoughts on “Macro-Photography 101: Equipment and Technique

  1. Pingback: A spot of cricket…. in macro « Cloudy with a chance of PR

  2. Pingback: Lighting Tips for Macro Photography « SJP – Tips & Lessons

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