7 Macro Photography Tips!

In this article we will discuss seven ways to improve your macro photography photos.

Close-up macro photography is a fantastic way to bring out the fine details of your subject that the naked eye rarely sees. This awe-instilling technique can induce a level of intimacy that the viewer may never have previously felt toward the subject, whether animal or manmade.

macro photography

This type of photography may seem daunting at first, but the genre isn’t radically different from other forms of photography once you understand a few basic points. A professional-looking closeup photo is created through a marriage between functional equipment, technical knowledge, and a careful eye.

Keep reading to learn the basics and find yourself creating some beautiful closeup compositions!

1. Choosing a macro photography lens.

ladybug macro photographyPlease don’t rely on your camera’s macro setting; typically, they only support less than half life-size magnification. In order to be considered truly macro, that ratio should be 1:1.

The focal length of macro lenses generally ranges from 50mm to 200mm. The smaller side of the spectrum will certainly work, but a 100mm lens will provide you with greater subject-to-lens distance. (Of course, the price tag may scare you away…)

150-200mm range lenses will be even more expensive, but the extra magnifying power will blow you away. If you are serious about macro photography, the investment should be worth it.

2. Even a dope should use a diopter.

flower macroFor those who are unfamiliar with the term, a diopter is a unit of refractive power that matches the reciprocal of the focal length of the lens. In other words, it’s the thing you change to make your pictures sharp.

You can add a diopter for additional clarity by using a closeup filter, or a single-element lens that basically acts as a magnifying glass for your camera.
These special filters screw into the front element thread and provide an inexpensive alternative to cash-eating 100mm macro lenses.

Closeup filters are available in a variety of strengths that are measured in diopters. For example, you could purchase a +1, +2, +4, or +10 diopter closeup lens, such as the lenses included here as part of an Amazon bundle by Vivitar.

3. Control depth of field by adjusting aperture.

pavement macroClearly, macro photography gives you less space to work with, meaning you have a minimal depth of field. As a result, you will want to use a small aperture such as f/16 or even f/22.

For some different effects, you could send your aperture in the other direction. At f/2.8 or f/4, out- of-focus objects will appear as circle-like bubbles which might look ethereal and beautiful. Experiment with your aperture settings and find an effect that suits your shot.

When photographing tiny subjects, it is also important to consider the actual point of focus. By changing the point of focus, you alter the depth of field and therefore the components that appear sharp and the parts that look blurry.

frog butterfly macro photographyExperiment with your aperture and point of focus to better understand how each facet effects the other.

Then you can take command of both aspects together to create some awesome compositions.

4. Try using macro photography tubes.

Extension tubes can produce a larger image of a small object by causing the lens to focus much closer. These handy devices fit between the rear mount of your lens and camera body.

Personally, I use a 20mm extension tube such as the one found here on Amazon. This fantastic gadget, like the closeup lens, is a far cheaper alternative to expensive macro lenses. They take some practice to use, however, and might be problematic during a shoot.

5. Cropping macro patterns.

leaf macro photographyMany macro photographers enjoy creating abstract textural compositions. If you decide to try this style, remember to remove every aspect of the image that may distract from the central pattern.

This may involve post-processing fixes to trim annoying background or border components.

6. See it live.

pencils black and whiteIn macro photography, annoying debris is inevitable. There is no way to avoid having specks of dust or dirt appear in the photo, which is why it is important to check your live view LCD panel before moving on from a given shot.

Checking the screen allows you to see the photo as it would appear after being taken, which is valuable in catching flaws before they become permanent. Remove the unwanted particles until you find yourself with a beautiful image.