Sometimes you want to get crazy close to your subject or capture minute details. Here are a few tips to help you out.
Macro is another fascinating aspect of photography. Taking pictures of a single detail or something that would normally be too small for your regular lens to catch. There are normally two ways to accomplish this. You can have a specific lens like I do for my Canon AE-1. The lens has a ring that locks the focus into a macro. This is more like a binocular on this 75-200mm lens.
I am still standing a few feet away from my subject and it zooms right in.
Another way to get the zoom effect is a Macro Filter. They are often not as accurate with more distortions at the edge of the image, but are a lot of fun for a very reasonable price. This one was under $25. You can also find a macro style lens with the Diana F+ 55 lens.
Here is the same car with the Macro Filter on a 50 lens, then without any filter. The filter on the 50mm lens can take me as close as a few centimeters from the subject.
A few tips when trying Macro.
- Light-Light-Light! Macro lenses are hungry for light. You will need to illuminate your subject to get detail. There is often not a lot of room between your lens and the subject and all the light the better.
- Choose your ISO wisely, a higher number eases the light issue, but grain is sometimes more obvious in macro. I used 400 in all these pictures.
- Use a tripod if you can. At so close it is easy to flinch or a subtle movement will make your subject blur. Movement is amplified when you are so close to the subject.
Another big thing to understand with Macro is Depth of Field. You might have a large range in focus when you set your camera to f/16. Maybe several meters will be in focus. When you go down to Macro, f/16 could mean just a couple centimeters are in focus. If you don’t have a tripod or not enough light for a higher aperture, a f/4 could leave you with little more than a few millimeters in focus.
Here is and example of a snail on a wall. I did not have a tripod to help with the lower light. You can see I can not get all of the snail in focus at once. Three tries got me some fun examples with the Macro Filter.
Bugs are a common subject, but flowers & plants are fun too.
I also like using toys as subjects.
Macro filters may be a cheap way to get some extra fun out of your camera. Remember, plenty of light and a higher number aperture will bring more out of your image.