Ultimate Guide to MACRO PHOTOGRAPHY
By Abira Saha
The art of showcasing minute things larger than they are in actual is Macro Photography. Macro lens and Telephoto lens are the only way to achieve the zoom necessary for imitating macro photography. Macro photography is all about an extreme close-up of something small that human eyes fail to see. At a macro level, the world you know is gone and a new one emerges. Macro photos can be anything, but there are some classic genres that macro photographers prefer over others. The perfect examples are insects. They are minute, and a great magnifying image of an insect takes the observer into an entirely different world.
“The hardest thing about macro photography is previsualization — learning to recognize what a good macro subject might be.”
So, here are some important insights which will help you to up your game at a macro level:
1. Observe the details
The fine details and tiny imperfections that are invisible from a distance become clear when you inch closer to the subject. When you’re magnifying as much as you will in macro photography, you may be looking at stray hairs that appear as big as pool noodles.
2. Chalk out what you want to capture
When working on a macro level, you have a very narrow plane of focus that little adjustments can throw the whole thing right off. Therefore, it takes a lot of time and a lot of careful planning. Margin for error is much higher in macro photography, which means your preparation must be greater- previsualization is key. Focus stacking is a process that can be helpful when working with the very shallow depth of field you get in macro photography.
3. Light the scene
Much like detail is amplified in a macro shot, so are the light and shadow effect — and these are things you can control in macro shoots, much to your satisfaction. Choice of the right light, including proper angle and light direction, is the primary step in photographic creation. It also has a huge impact on the temperature i.e., warm or cold.
4. Nail the Depth of Field
Working with smaller subjects means your depth of field shrinks, making it very important to go into macro shoots with a plan for what photos you want to get. Wide aperture settings will produce too shallow a depth of field that leaves much of the image in bokeh. As a result, f-stops between f/8 and f/16 are the most commonly apertures used in macro photos. If you are shooting at f/8 or above, you must make adjustments to the shutter speed or ISO. Generally, professional photographers will leave the ISO at a lower number to preserve image quality and to avoid sensor noise. So, shutter speeds must be slowed way down to allow enough light to fall on the sensor.
5. Consider your scene
Beyond lighting and photo-ruining dust motes, your background is another area to pay attention to. With your focus so dialed in on your tiny subject, it can be easy to forget to check your background. That’s one of those difficult things that people often overlook or need to learn. They frequently forget to pay heed to the background.
6. Beware of movement
Motion always has the potential to add blur to a photo and much like all aspects of photography at a Macro level, that issue increases with small things and scenes. A good set-up is the key to keep the camera body steady. If you’re working at a magnification height, then camera shake becomes very serious. Particularly if you’re using a much slower shutter speed, because macro shots are so dark, you have to use a one- or two-second shutter speed. You may find that you have to leave the room and use the remote control to do that.
7. Get the Right Camera and lens
As you will soon see, the real equipment requirements for macro photography are centered around the lens you choose. But to use the best macro lenses, you’ll need a camera first. Camera systems with interchangeable lenses are the favorite for macro photographers. Mirror less and DSLR systems function equally as well. If you already have a camera, there are likely many macro-options. If you are looking towards a good start them you should consider shopping for the lenses first. It may seem a bit backward, but in the end, you might be happier with the selection.
8. Watch your Shutter Speed
Shooting at slower shutter speed than normal range brings up several considerations that you’ll need to address. Handshake is the first risk. Hand holding the camera for photographing at a macro level is not usually a realistic option. In some condition, with bright lighting and a still subject, you can get lucky. But if you want to get the shot, you’ll have to use a good tripod to support the camera. But the slow shutter speed means you need to pay attention to other types of motion as well. If you are shooting plants or flowers outdoors, the breeze might make the plants move. If they move, they will not only blur due to the motion, but they might blur due to them moving out of the depth of field. If there’s any wind, you might want to consider having an assistant hold the plant still. Or you might be able to work out some kind of wind block.
Awareness may be the only thing that sums it all. Macro photography happens at a very magnifying scale, but the same practices apply: make sure your focus is on the subject, contrast is good and it’s clear where you want the viewer to look. In macro photography, the perspective is different, there’s not necessarily more to look out for, but there’s definitely a need to train your eyes for what to look out for. As always, practice makes perfect, so get in the Ant-Man mindset and start thinking and shooting.