A Guide in Getting Started in Macro Photography
There are times when you are taking pictures of smaller subjects such as insects and you don’t want the subjects to appear smaller on the picture. It can be hard for an inexperienced person to have a large and quality picture of such smaller subjects.
I’ve been a photographer since I was a student. I’ve taken thousands of pictures of various things and also learnt more about photography. There are various ways in which you can always enhance the quality of your pictures, but you will need to play with various setting of your camera to achieve this in the different backgrounds that you may be trying to capture. The settings will always need to change according to the scene that you are trying to take and the effects that you want to apply to the picture.
One topic in Photomacrography which has recently grown more popular in digital photography is the taking of macro pictures. At first it may seem tricky, but once learned, almost anyone can take good macro pictures with less strain.
Effective Methods of Taking Macro Photographs
The first way to take such pictures will include the use of a pocket digital camera. Most of these cameras either have on their body a button with a small flower symbol beside it, (if a button is not on the body there is normally an option in one of the menus).
The selection of this menu switches the camera focus mode to select the object closest to the lens, how close you can now get to the subject now depends on the camera you have, some may only let you get a sharp focus within a couple of inches, others like my father’s camera will a focus point even with the subject touching the lens. I have found that pocket cameras can give excellent macro shots and certainly the ability to take a vast range of photo types with the camera make it cost effective to most people.
The second way to take photographs is with a SLR or DSLR camera; to take a photo, you need either a lens that has a macro focus option, or a dedicated macro lens. This makes taking of macro photos more expensive using these cameras as often a new lens needs to be bought; these, depending on make and camera etc., can range from $200 upwards.
However the advantage of this type camera with macro photography is being able to change the cameras settings the same as you would for a normal shot.
Alternatives Methods of Converting Lenses to Take Macro Shots
With a DSLR camera, there are alternatives to buying a dedicated macro lens, for those of us that have a wide range of lenses there are options to convert these to taking macro shots…
A dedicated macro lens – these are long barreled for close focusing, and most are optimized for focusing at a 1:1 magnification.
Extension tubes – these are placed between the camera body and the lens. The tube is basically a empty tube with no lenses or glass in it, the tubes can be stacked to move the lens farther from the body, the father from the body the closer the focus is and the higher the magnification. The drawback is that less light reaches the sensor therefore longer exposure times will be needed.
Bellows – these are placed the same an extension tube, the advantage is that these however are adjustable, the drawbacks are the same as for extension tubes but the bellows are also much bulkier.
Placing an auxiliary close-up lens – in front of the camera’s taking lens. Inexpensive screw-in or slip-on attachments provide close focusing at very low cost. The quality is variable, with some two-element versions being excellent. This method works with cameras that have built-in lenses, but those that fit SLR lenses can be bought.
Reversing the lens using a “reversing ring” – This special adapter attaches to the filter thread on the front of a lens and makes it possible to attach the lens in reverse. Some good results can be obtained using standard (not specially designed for macro) lenses. For cameras with a-electronic communications between the lens and the camera body, such as Canon EOS, reversing rings are available which allow all camera functions, including open aperture metering, to be used.
The ability to take good macro shots lies with the photographer, with all the new developments in this type of photography and the accessories (e.g. macro ring flashes) that are now available more people are now trying this style, and finding the joy that can be found in the small and detailed elements.
In conclusion, I’d encourage everyone to have a try at this type of photography; it is fun and can be quite addictive in the art world! With the options that I listed above, I would always recommend that if you can, and are using a SLR, invest in a good macro lens, I used for a while a reversing ring on my Eletro-Optical System (EOS) and then finally bought a lens and have found the results to be better and much less hassle.