The Macro Digital Photography Tutorial
Macro digital photography can be one of the most fulfilling kinds of photography if you have an eye for detail, and also an ability to see things that people usually miss. No matter where you are, or what the subject, the possibilities in macro photography
are almost endless.
The human eye and brain edits a great deal of information, a form of neurological prioritization if you will. Everyday we see the usual objects and pay little attention to their details, unless it's something unusual or something has changed.
But if you are prepared to take a few moments to look closer, the rewards can be great.
What to photograph?
There's a general propensity amongst people doing macro digital photography, or just beginning it, to always go for flowers as a subject. Not that there is anything wrong with that mind you, flowers are known for their beauty and a macro photography shot definitely does reveal a depth of detail we often miss...
But what I'd like to focus on in this tutorial on macro digital photography, is taking shots of things other than flowers; in my honest opinion, the world has enough shots of flowers close-up, as beautiful as they may be.
If you really, really, really want to take pictures of flowers, then feel free to ignore my suggestion, but just bear it in mind that there is more to macro digital photography than flowers. Every time I'm shown another macro flower shot I end up rolling my eyes; it's just a bit obvious in my opinion.
Wait a Minute... What Exactly Does Macro Mean?
If you're wondering what exactly macro means, then technically speaking it's the focal length below 35mm in a variable lens that is able to reproduce an image the same size and in focus, but truly speaking, a macro lens is of a fixed focal length, and offers 1:1 reproduction or greater (yes, it's confusing, I know).
Magnification is not equal to macrofication. In other words, to magnify with a telephoto lens is not really the same as true macro photography. Although the result does often seem the same, you'll find the detail is actually less to the trained eye.
'Macrofication' isn't a real word by the way, I just made it up... but it sounds good though doesn't it.
Macro Digital Photography Camera Guide
What Equipment do I need?
Firstly, you need a dslr camera.
its not impossible to use a digital compact camera for macro digital photography, what with macro settings, but the performance of the lens, and the ability to frame the subject is often greatly restricted.
Not to mention having almost zero control where depth of field is concerned.
Let's assume you have a dslr camera; with this being the case you will need either a dedicated macro lens, or a lens that has macro capability (1:1). If you purchased an entry-level dslr you will more than likely have a lens that ranges from telephoto to standard to macro.
(Note:If you don't want to spend a lot of money on a dedicated macro lens before trying your hand at macro photography you can always use these extensions for Canon or Nikon cameras, and they will still give you great results)
Although getting a dedicated macro lens will help you get some stunning shots, a telephoto lens is also something you can use (although as mentioned earlier, this isn't really 'true' macro photography), as this leaves enough space between the subject and lens to give enough light, whereas in some conditions and situations, there may not be enough light for the desired aperture when using a macro lens.
What Digital Macro Photography Shots to Take
We could start off taking some shots of insects, but honestly, that's not always easy, and depending on the type of bug, requires a great deal of patience. So let's start off with inanimate objects that also don't blow in the wind.
Here are a list of possible subjects in macro digital photography, that give good interest in shot:wood (bark or benches)material (wool, cotton,cloth)EarthPlasticsFoodMetalsHair-Fur (your dog or cat)stone/brick...
These are only a few ideas, the list goes on and on, and is potentially endless...
Macro Digital Photography Instructions & Steps
OK, lets, begin...
1.For the sake of light, and so we can get a decent D.O.P we'll go outside. Remember, we probably want to have our aperture around f.16 to get a good depth of field and also to allow our lens to function well.
2. Take a look around the garden (stearing clear of flowers) or your local area. It doesn't have to be a 'nature specific' environment at all, possibly you will come up with some really interesting macro shots that people will really take notice if it isn't.
3. Find something that has a kind of texture, or grain to it.
4. You will probably need to have your shutter speed around 1/60 or 1/100 at the most (if you're going to shoot hand-held. Remember, under 1/60 your image will record camera-shake unless you are using a tripod and shutter release or a tripod and the cameras timer.
5. Ideally, if possible, use a tripod and a shutter speed of around 1/30, and the cameras timer. This shutter speed will allow for a great deal of detail in the shot that the higher shutter speeds will lose.
6. Find some interesting angles, don't just try a flat, straight on angle. Make sure your lens is on 'manual focus', a lens can never focus as well as the human eye, this is especially so in macro photography. Take some shots and play with the angles.
7. If you have a flash, try using it on the subject, but be aware that for the cameras dedicated flash you will need to be actually using a telephoto lens for it to have some effect, as with a true macro lens you will be so close that this kind of flash will have almost no impact at all. Other flash systems are often specifically designed for digital macro photography.
Further Experimentation & Tips
Open up the aperture a bit to try some selective focus, but remember, at higher levels of magnification, and also if you're using a dedicated macro lens, depth of field can disappear into almost nothing at these ranges.Try two different subjects together in one shot. i.e. a stone and a twig.Try some pictures of everyday objects in your home. Even the most seemingly ordinary things can look stunning in macro digital photography (see the dice picture above as a prime example)Try your shot with the bracketing function, one stop either side of the perfect exposure to see what effect it has.Make sure you vary your shots so that you can find the dynamic angle that makes the shots interesting to the human eye.
I personally own this following book on Macro Photography, and cannot recommend it highly enough. It covers so many detailed aspects of this type of photography, technical and otherwise, that it's a real bonus to any photographers library, amateur or professional level (and if you've got kids they'll love looking through it too, for the full color macro photos of bugs 'n stuff throughout this great book).
Macro digital Photography can also play a part in
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