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What is macro photography?

Well, let’s figure that out now for all you basic macro photographers!

The first thing I really want to get over with before we delve into this techy stuff is that macro photography does have a specific way of photographing.

Basically, it is the amazing feeling of getting close to your subject with a special lens.

Macro Lenses

In macro photography, seeing a flower in reality and through the camera sensor, did you know that it will be the same size? Yes, it will be! Check out this photo here to see what I’m talking about.

You cannot have your subject on the sensor with it showing up as the same size unless you are using a macro 1:1 lens. It just won’t happen, because other lenses just aren’t cut for that.

What’s really cool is that you can take a beautiful rock and photograph it up close and you’ll be able to see it in real size and if you print it larger than 24×36, you’ll be really feeling the life of the little world. It is so cool to see subjects way up close.

Now if you don’t know yet if this is what you want to do, then don’t worry about buying a macro lens. What you can do is use filters, put them on the front of your lens and it will give you a beautiful close-up. That will get you started.

kiwi by janice sullivan

Backlighting of kiwi fruit.

What not to do as a beginner

A tip that you’ve probably heard, and that I have personally heard is to reverse your lens. If you’re a brand new photographer, don’t do that. When you reverse your lens, you get really close. And you lose a lot of what is in focus within the frame of your image and that is frustrating. So don’t start that yet.

If you have a point-and-shoot camera, put it on macro then play with it to see if you really do love getting up close to your subjects. And if you do, it’s time to step it up a notch and get a camera that can change lenses so you can grab that macro lens.

You’re going to find out that the closer you get to your subjects, the less focus you will have. It’s a bummer, but for now, that’s the way it is.

So when I coach photographers on macro photography, the first thing I say to them is to bump up your f-stop to f-16, f-22 at the highest and if you have no idea what f-stop means, it’s aperture. I have a whole video that teaches you everything about the aperture if you’re interested. Click Here

When you do that though, you’re gonna lose some light because your aperture is small but you’ll get a feeling of having more focus.

And I wanna suggest you first start off using a flat subject like a Gerber daisy and bring it indoors. Try that first and then go outdoors, try natural light first.

daisy flower

Photograph daisy flowers when you’re first learning Macro.

When I first started macro photography I used to do a lot of blurry images so I played with composition.

So what I want you to do is pick a spot that you really love and make sure that’s in focus and then everything that’s blurry kinda works with the composition.

Importance of Distance in Macro

Here is the next thing I want you to know. It’s about working distances, so when you have a macro lens, it’s like any other lens when it comes to the size or how long it is so you’ll hear people say wide-angle lens, 24mm, etc. They actually make macro lenses that are wide like that.

When your lenses are a little bit longer, that means that you’re not getting as close to your subject when it comes to the working distance as compared to the 24mm. That means I would get closer in a 24mm but it’s still 1:1.

And then there is a 180mm, allowing you to get farther away from your subject which is great for bugs.

The longer the lens, the less background or less depth you will have in focus.

Trust me on this tip: use the 100mm to 105mm, it’s the easiest to learn when you’re first starting off. And if you really want to do this right, you gotta get a macro lens. The macro lens is made for this.

If you’re still sketchy, then rent the lens and have some fun.

Use Flash

Now you’ve done all that, of course, you’ll need good exposure.  A flash can help with your lighting conditions when you’re outdoors and wind may be a problem to get that nice tack-sharp focus on your subject. You’ll need to pop a flash to stop the action. That’s why so many macro photographers when they’re outdoors use a flash.

Now that we’ve started some Macro Photography Basics… lookout for the next post where we’re going shoot outdoors with natural light.  Now, I want you to know I’m here for you so feel free to ask questions below.

If you liked this info share it with others so they can learn about taking photographs of a new world…

I world that most just past buy not knowing how amazing the unseen world is.



PS Want to learn Macro Photography faster than doing it alone?  Click here to work with Janice in The Creative Mentorship Program. 🙂 

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