My macro lens is probably my least used lens. It’s not because I don’t like macro photography. I actually LOVE it. I’m obsessed with photographing faces of busy little ones, so I often forget to slow down and dedicate time for improving my macro photography. I would definitely consider myself an amateur when it comes to macro photography. I think I’ve only used my macro lens no more than seven or eight times since I purchased it, but it’s my best performer. I thought I’d whip up a few macro photography tips for those of you interested in giving some of these shots a go.
This is what my set up on my dining room table looked like. I was using white card stock to help bounce some of the light, construction paper and the squirt bottle is filled with equal parts vegetable glycerin and water (helps the water bead up). Nothing fancy.
This set up gave me the following un-cropped shot.
All of the following shots had roughly the same settings, F/(7.1-8) | 1/4 SEC | ISO 100. I switched out the blue paper for a dark gray to get more contrast.
First things first. You’re going to need a tripod. You can get really awesome macro shots doing handheld, BUT I personally like to bring my shutter speed down way slow to compensate for the aperture and ISO. I know there would be no way for me to handhold at 1/4 sec.
2. Camera Shake.
You also might want to highly consider using a remote shutter release or a timer to reduce shake. You want the photos to come out as sharp as possible and something as simple as pressing the shutter can give you pretty terrible camera shake.
Make sure you’re shooting with enough light to compensate for the smaller aperture. I would have shot even smaller, but I didn’t have enough light to work with and didn’t want to fetch my flashes. This was late afternoon on an overcast day on my dining room table with the windows wide open right behind me. Play around with your flash or invest in a macro LED ring flash that attaches directly onto your lens if you can’t get enough natural light.
4. Manual vs. Autofocus.
Switch to manual focus to give yourself more control of the shot. Since the depth of field can be so narrow (more so if you are not shooting directly parallel to your subject), you’ll need to do a lot of very fine adjustments to your focus before you nail it.
Please let me know if you have any questions!
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