Here is yesterday’s beauty in all of her colorful glory. I have no idea what kind of butterfly this is but she makes being green easy. What is macro photography? Macro photography as defined by Wikipedia as….
“Macro photography (or photomacrography or macrography, and sometimes macrophotography), is extreme close-up photography, usually of very small subjects, in which the size of the subject in the photograph is greater than life size (though macrophotography technically refers to the art of making very large photographs). By some definitions, a macro photograph is one in which the size of the subject on the negative or image sensor is life size or greater. However in other uses it refers to a finished photograph of a subject at greater than life size.”
Or as I like to phrase it, photographing things very very close up or photographing small things in a manner that results in the photo being greater than the objects real size, ie. tiny bug in real life but big bug in the photograph. Do you need a special camera or lens to do macro photography? Not really. It can help but it isn’t necessary. Many cameras today come with a macro setting on them while those of us with DSLR’s sometimes have dedicated macro lenses that we can add extension tubes to to really get in there. I’ve never used extension tubes so I cannot speak for them but I have seen some amazing work by those who have. I use a Canon EF 100mm F2.8 L macro lens which is fantastic for macro photography and portrait work too!
Macro photography requires a lot of stability hence the use most often of a tripod. I have taken many photos without one but it meant I had to hold very still or balance the camera on something steady. Many macro photographers use a remote shutter release along with their tripods to help with shake issues. I tend to use the inhale, hold breath, push shutter button method to capture my images but there are times when nothing but a tripod will do. Unless you only want one tiny bit of your subject in sharp focus – which can happen with macro photography because of such a small depth of field – you need enough light in order to balance out your shutter speed, aperture, and ISO to get a good image. This can be accomplished by shooting with enough natural light or using flash. There are special flashes made for macro photography.
Manual focusing works best in my opinion with macro photography because you will be very close to your subject and you will want to get the image as sharp and clear as possible. Sometimes auto-focusing is necessary especially if you are photographing something that is bound to move quickly on you like a butterfly… which leads us to patience. Macro photography is not speedy photography; it takes patience even when your subject matter is holding perfectly still and more so when it is something that moves. I’ve had to inch my way in closer and closer to an insect I was trying to capture with stopping and holding still so as not to scare them away in order to get the shot. Most times that method works but not always. After capturing your subject matter, some cropping in post production may be necessary before you get the image to your liking but when you do you will have a photograph of a part of the world that many do not see.
Do you do macro photography? Share with us what you photograph and how.