Macro photography is not easy.  As magnification increases, handholding becomes nearly impossible.  Depth of field is ridiculously small and subjects don’t want to stay still for a few seconds.  These are my tips to help you to make nice pictures:2009-05-02-0127

1. Choose your subjects;

Still subjects like flowers or insects that are moving really slow are easier to catch than dragonfly.  By choosing your subject you are giving yourself some time to make the shot.

2. Enough light and higher ISO do help;

This is not only to raise the shutter speed to freeze the action, but mainly to increase depth of field by stopping down the lens (larger aperture number).  A flash head with a diffuser can bring you a long way in the right direction.

3. Get down low on your belly;

A protective blanket, a small tripod or a bean bag will bring you at the right level, where the action is.  Have you taken the time to look at what is happening at ground level?  There is so much action down there!

4. Use a reversal ring on a wide-angle zoom lens;

A 18-55mm kit lens stopped down to f/11 on a reversal ring will give you from 1:1 to 4:1 of magnification by the simple twist of the zoom ring.  Ensure you stop down the lens before removing it from the camera though.

5. Set the desired magnification level than move the camera to get the subject in focus;

At large magnification level this is the only way to work well.  There is no such thing as a variable magnification lens for macro photography that ensures autofocus.

6. The subject is a living thing? Shoot like you would a portrait;

Macro Photography Tips

Found in a flower picked up in the garden

All you need to do to make the desired impression is to have the eyes sharp.  When the eyes are sharp the shot is a success.  When ready, later on, consider focus stacking.  Don’t try to do it all on day one though.

7. Use live view and if possible a hoodloupe;

This is the best way to fully appreciate the DOF and the composition.  With a hoodloupe you will immediately know if your focus is bang on!

8. When you can, while looking at the viewfinder;

This is great for flowers and other objects you can bring in your studio.  Having the subject rotate while you are looking at the live view screen is so great.  You can find a dozen of different compositions doing so.

9. Get out very early when the temperature is cold;

Most insects will be immobile at colder temperature in the early morning.  This will allow you to get very near and will give you the time needed to get the shot.

10. Finally, don’t take all of this too seriously;

Every shot you miss is an opportunity to learn.  Like Thomas A. Edison once said:  “I have not failed.  I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Enjoy your macro photography and if possible, share with us what work and what do not work.  Comment using the option below!.