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02/05/16
Basic Photography Course – How to Improve Macro Photography

Macro is the part of photography where you completely change the angle and go in close, real close, to the subject.

This enables the photographer to capture stunning details that normally may not be visible to the human eye within, for example, flower petals, insects or other everyday objects. Macro photography is an excellent way to achieve a completely new take on still life photography. Below we list some tips to take your macro photography to the next level.

Basic Photography Course – How to Improve Macro Photography

  • Use a tripod to stabilise the camera. This is especially true when it comes to subjects that don’t move, like a flower or lifeless object. When zooming in as much as you do in macro photography, any slight vibration may throw the focus off and make a blurry image. When photographing living things like insects or animals, it might be easier to do a handheld shot, though, as the little critters have a tendency to fly away if you are not fast enough.

  • Adjust the camera settings properly. When the focus range is measured in millimetres you generally want as much of the subject in focus as possible. Set aperture to f/16 or f/22 to increase the range of what’s in focus. You also want a fairly quick shutter speed (no slower than 1/125) and as low ISO as possible. If you notice that the available light is not enough, consider using a ring light or flash (but with a light diffuser such as a softbox).

  • Choose the right time to go out. Early morning or late afternoon is best for insects, as they are less active at these times. Frost and golden light can also create spectacular effects and, as an added benefit, it’s usually less windy at these times. Wind can be a problem as vegetation moves around, and movement is the bane of any macro photographer.

  • Use the live view of the camera for composition. When focusing hard on a tiny little fly it can be hard to see the bigger picture. Perhaps you are missing a fantastic compositional element just to your side, and watching through the live view can help with the tunnel vision that often occurs.

  • Use the background to your advantage. You will not see any details, it will be a blur due to the narrow focal range, but general shapes and colours will be visible. With unfocused objects there can also be an interesting bokeh effect.

Macro photography can be an incredibly stimulating field to focus on (pun intended), and will demonstrate unique visual detail that we rarely see otherwise. For more information check out our homepage, where we offer basic photography courses as well as specific courses for macro.