Here is an easy to understand guide to Macro photography

Understanding Macro photography

Ever come across a photograph highlighting the finesse of an insect’s skin in fine detail? Ever wondered how a photograph can be taken with such precision, depth and clarity? The answer is pretty simple: it’s the magic of a macro lens!

Macro photography

Macro photography is a field of photography dedicated to taking extremely detailed pictures of subjects. It allows you to admire the fine and intricate details of your subject through their photographs, which you otherwise would have missed by the limitations of your naked eyes. While macro photography is quite a challenging task to do, it becomes a highly addictive one once you get a hang of it.

Macro Lenses and Regular Lenses – What’s the Difference?
Macro lenses are widely used to take up-close pictures of subjects. However, their use is not what defines them.

A macro lens can focus its magnification from infinity to the rate of 1:1. This means the image that is reproduced using the sensor is of the same size as the real-life subject. The magnification ratio highlights the actual size of the subject in the image produced by the sensor. With the help of macro lenses, you can also focus on distant objects better than you would with regular lenses.

Macro lenses, as all other kinds of lenses, come in different price ranges. However, they are not as expensive as you might think. A good macro lens comes in the price range of $300 to $2,000. You can go for more if you like and have the resources to make the purchase. If you are planning to do macro photography, you will need some equipment as well, in addition to your macro lens. This includes a tripod and a proper lighting setup to take the best close-up pictures of your subject.

Macro lens lizzard

Usage Tips for Macro Lenses
Here are some useful tips when it comes to dealing with macro lenses to help you capture the best photographs.

The Focus Distance
This determines how close you can be to the subject while you are capturing a shot. If you want to focus on your subject the best way, you need to have a longer focal length. If your subjects are insects, you will have to take extra care while photographing them as they may be frightened away by even a single unexpected movement.

Macro photo of fly and flowers

Photo by Egor Kamelev

Field Depth
The depth of the field also needs to be kept in mind when using macro lenses. Since you are going for close-ups, you have to deal with a very limited depth of field and that too at a very close range. You will need to stop down to keep your subject in focus. You will need to do a lot of practice if you generally shoot very wide. If you want to keep the picture as sharp and focused as possible, try getting most of your subject on the plane of your focus.

Focus Stacking
You can also use the technique of focus stacking to create sharply focused images of your subject. The idea is to combine different photographs having multiple focus distances and produce one image that has the most of the subject in focus. Some cameras come with this as a built-in feature and all you need to do is take photographs by setting up the focus and shot options; the camera will take care of the rest. If your camera does not have this option, you can use photo editing software like Photoshop to do this.

Photo of ladybug

These were a few simple tips for using your macro lenses to their maximum capacity. Remember, practice is the key when you are just starting with macro photography. Practice as much as you can to get the best possible up close shots of your subject.