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I just made a video this Tuesday on 5 tips to get you started with Macro Photography. I thought to myself, “Some people would rather read about these steps instead of watching a video and I think these tips are so important for someone who really wants to get up close to their subjects. Now you have that available to you on the website as well as YouTube! I’ve been putting up new videos on my channel every Tuesday, and If you like videos, check them out here. I have to admit that I’m having a blast talking about the things I love.  With that said, here you go… Five tips to get you started with macro photography.

This blog post is for those of you who really want to go 1:1 with your work. Basically, getting really close up! But if you want to read more about this, check out this article talking about 1:1 magnification I really like it.

For DSLR users, save your pennies and buy a macro lens
! These lenses are cut specifically to get up close to your subject. If you don’t have a macro lens, then rent one so you can see what I’m talking about. I love this company, Borrowed Lenses. If you’re interested in renting, check them out. For you phone users, buy a macro lens to attach to your phone camera. These are specifically made so you can get in close with your phone.

Here are some links to some awesome lenses and my unboxing of the phone lens.

Camera Lenses:
Sony Mirrorless:

Macro Phone Lens

Use a tripod
I suggest you use a ball head on top of your tripod when you photograph macro. Small movements from your camera make huge differences in you composition.  It’s so much easier to move your camera with a ball head. When you get close to your subject, it will be hard for you to focus and make your focal point sharp.  This is important because you want the eyes to go to the sharp areas first.   That is your story and everything else that is out of focus is to enhance that story. Your tripod is one of the main characters to make it happen.

Tripod I want:


Phone Tripod

Learn your f-stop
There are three parts to make a good exposure; aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. I want you to focus on your aperture, which is like the iris of the camera. The f-stop is a number that you will change to make the aperture smaller or larger. Just for learning purposes, put your camera on Aperture Priority. If you don’t know how to do this, please check your manual or do a search on your camera for aperture priority mode. Start by choosing an f number of 2.8 or 4.0 and take a shot. Move your aperture to the next level, say 5.6 and take another shot. Don’t change your composition.  I’d then like you to go up to f-22. This will help you see the difference of what is in focus and what isn’t.

Take your subjects indoors
In order to really learn macro photographing I’d like you to take your subjects indoors so you can practice, practice, practice! You’re just going to get frustrated when you’re outdoors and have the variable of wind to mess up your focus. Once you understand the f-stop and how to use your camera when getting up close to your subject, then go outside.  Be patient. I promise you’ll feel so much better learning without the wind factor.

Last is lighting
As you get closer to your subjects you’ll see that you’ll lose light coming into the camera. You might have to add more light to your subject to be able to get a good exposure. Try a reflector or flash lights. If you have a flash, use that with a snoot, but take the flash off your camera. If you LOVE macro like I do, then later think about buying a macro flash.  I have the ring light, which is available at the link below and I love it.


Macro Ring Light


The video I was talking about:

If you’re really serious about learning how to photograph macro (1:1) I think these five tips will really help you get up close and personal with your camera.  Of course, if you have any questions please put them in the comment area below and remember no question is a dumb question!

The featured macro image is part of my flood series. If you want more info on what’s coming up with these series please sign up for our Photographers and/or Art Buyers newsletters at the bottom of our website. 🙂

What do you like to see up-close?  Let us know in the comment section below.


Janice Sullivan



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