Macro photography is amazing. I want to teach you some of what I’ve learned based on my personal experience. I’ll tell you more about my equipment, my way of photographing, and the mistakes to avoid if you’re new to macro. I hope after reading these tips and tricks that you’ll want to explore this amazing technique and type of photography. Welcome to the world of macro.
1 – THE GEAR
- Choose the right lens: Macro was my dream and I quickly decided to invest in a dedicated lens to go with my Canon 5D Mark III. I choose the Canon EF 100mm f / 2.8 Macro USM (Canon macro lenses range from 50mm to 180mm). These lenses also perform great for standard photography and I use my 100 mm for Portraits and videography as well. There’s also an L quiality professional version available.
- Use a Tripod when possible: Moving just a few millimeters in macro can make you miss your shot, using a macro tripod can be very useful (especially in low light) to avoid camera-shake.
2 – PREPARE YOUR SUBJECT
- When I select my subject, I observed it carefully to avoid spots, damaged petals if flowers, etc … The cleaner my subject is, the less retouching I will have to do in post-production.
- Extra tip: always have a brush and tweezers available.
- I photograph exclusively in natural light. Inside, next to a window (preferably at north), beside which I set a small table. Outside, I try to find a place in the shade, if not, I use my body to block the sun.
3 – SOME TECHNICAL ITEMS
- I always photography in RAW format to have more post-processing flexibility. My camera is in manual mode as well as my lens. (no auto-focus).
- ISO: for clean sharp images choose 100 iso. Despite the quality of cameras today, Noise is quickly seen in macro photography, but this can be an artistic choice. Personally, I avoid going beyond 800 ISO.
- Speed: When you shoot freehand, always adjust your speed above the value of your lens (1: 1 rule). For example if you have a 100mm – do not go below 1/100, otherwise you may have a blurry image.
- f/stop : I always set it to f/2.8. I like blurry vignette effect on my images and a very shallow depth of field. It is my personal taste, so test several f/stop to see what you prefer. Since the depth of field is shallow, you may not prefer to shoot as wide open so you get more in focus. This is a personal and artistic decision.
4 – DURING THE SHOOTING
- The Gold rule is to: TURN AROUND YOUR SUBJECT! Go from right to left, from top to bottom in order to have a variety of angles and keep in mind that in macro, even a tiny move can help you achieve a very different picture.
Pay attention to two things:
- The background: It will change with the slightest movement you make, and sometimes it will not be for the best … But you can also have nice pictures in backlight.
Your settings: check them regularly, as these can change quickly and you may end up with an overexposed or underexposed image.
- If you want to use the same background, simply turn your subject. Vases or pots move easily, and you should not hesitate to move them to see your subject in a new angle.
- Also vary your composition going from wide angles to big close-up.
- Remember to test different point of focus. Either by moving the camera (move closer to or farther from the subject), or by turning the focus ring of the lens (if you are on a tripod). Try the two methods as you will have slightly different results.
5 – AN ABSTRACT ART
- Those are definitely my favorite images: when you do not really recognize the flower and the picture looks like a painting, close to abstract art. To reinforce this effect choose flowers with long petals (between 4/5 cm) or strangely shaped ones : such as Gazanias, Iris, Daisies …
6 – OTHER SUBJECTS
- Obviously macro photography is not only for flowers! Just look around you to get inspiration: insects, snails, carved vases, feathers, jewelry, etc …
- A last tip, do not throw your flowers when they begin to fade, they can also make a beautiful subject.
I hope those advices will make you want to wander in your garden, on forest’s paths, or visit your florist … Now it’s your time to explore, have fun, because ultimately macro is all about that : Having fun!
Feel free to share your macro pictures with us!
AUTHOR : LOUISE IMAGES
French Artist, Louise decided to explore macro photography after years of being locked up in an office. It was time for some fresh air and great art. Her images are always full of poesy and tenderness and she never fails to enchant with her unique and remarquable style. For more informations and to purchase Art from Louise, please visit her website or her social media :
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/louiseimages/
Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/louiseimages/