Tips for macro photography
Handy hints to improve your close up shots
Macro photography is all about getting up close to objects and making them look big. You can invest in a special macro lens if you have a DSLR, but many compacts and even cameraphones now come with macro modes that produce great results (just look for the button on your camera with the picture of a small flower on it). If you want to know how good your camera is for macro photography, find out the minimum focusing distance. The smaller the distance the better it is, as you will be able to get sharp shots of objects that are really close to the end of your lens. Here are some a few essential tips that you will need to get great macro shots.
Find a subject
Great macro subjects usually have lots of interesting patters, detail or texture. Common examples are flowers and insects, but other household items such as rope, fruit and sweets also work well. You could try adding interest to shots of flowers or leaves by spraying them with water to capture the glistening droplets in your image.
Set your camera to aperture priority so that it will automatically select the correct shutter speed for you. A wide aperture (low f number) is often used for macro photography as it blurs the background and makes your subject stand out in the frame. However, if you are shooting really close up and want your subject to fill the frame, use a narrow aperture (high f number) to keep it all in focus.
The trickiest part of macro photography is getting your subject in focus at such close range. Often manually focusing for your shot gives the best results, but if your subject is moving (e.g. an insect or a flower in the wind) you might want to use continuous autofocus.
It is best to use lots of natural light to ensure your image is not underexposed. Shoot outside or place your subject by a window, but avoid shooting in bright sunlight as this will produce harsh shadows in your images. However, if the light is fading, you can use a desk lamp to light your shot. When shooting leaves, try positioning them in front of your light source to bring out more detail.
Composition is just as important for macro photography as any other genre. Think about the rule of thirds, positioning your subject off centre in the frame. You can use your camera’s gridlines to help you. Experimenting with different angles can also show your subject in a whole new light.
If you have not been able to get as close to your subject as you would have liked, then use editing software to crop in closer. You may even be able to do this in camera if your model has the option. This is also a good way of recomposing your shot if you did not get the desired results at the time.