Macro Photography Tips
Macro photography experts share their best tips for taking fantastic close-up photos.
Alan and Linda Detrick
For anyone who loves flowers, taking a photograph is one of the best ways to remember an especially beautiful blossom. Macro, or close-up, photography is very popular because it allows you to go in tight and fill the frame with a single bloom, magnifying all the tiny details.
I enjoy macro because it offers an opportunity to visit a whole new world, one that most people walk right by. While some people are intimidated by macro photography, I believe that with a little time and practice, anyone can learn to capture beautiful close-up images.
When I teach macro photography, the most frequent question I get is about equipment. What you need depends upon how you plan to use the pictures. If you’re just looking to take some hobby photos to share with family and friends, many point-and-shoot cameras have a built-in macro capability that will do the job.
But if you’re looking for higher-quality pictures, a DSLR camera with a dedicated macro lens, extension tubes and supplemental filters is the answer. You’ll spend more, but you’ll get better images and more flexibility.
Taking a close-up is different from taking a snapshot. It’s important to slow down, think about what caught your eye and decide on the best way to approach it. Using a tripod automatically slows the process down and lets you make decisions about depth of field, focus and exposure. It also keeps the camera steady during the long shutter speeds common in this type of shooting.
If your favorite subjects are butterflies, bees and other insects, there are a few useful tips to try. Most insects are easier to photograph early in the morning when they’re covered with dew and moving slowly or not at all. If you’re shooting later in the day, take a moment to observe their behavior patterns. Many times they will repeatedly visit a favorite flower. Finally, don’t wear bright clothing, which attracts their attention, and try to keep your movements low and slow.
With practice, your macro images will continue to improve. You’ll become comfortable with the technique and find your photographic horizons expanding. So go ahead and give it a try. It’s something of a challenge, but the results are well worth it.