Macro-Land: Sold!

2013-05-20 2

So you’ve got your spiffy new macro lens. Cool! I bet you can’t wait to make those tiny things in your world explode onto your negatives. This week, I’ll have a look at taking macro shots indoors and how to make the most out of the smallest.

Most of the same indoor rules still apply.

My trusty Canon AE-1 Program has a built-in light meter, and I find that has really helped me get some of my shots right. The one above still came out a bit yellow for my taste, and any natural light you can get will go a long way with your macro lens. Just think of any issues you might have with a regular shot getting magnified when you zoom way in on the small things.

Getting the focus just right can be a trick, too.

A macro lens is easy to use, but getting the focus just right can take some practice. I’m still working on it, honestly, though having an SLR makes it a snap. And a half an inch can make a huge difference. I find that rocking on my heels just slightly can completely throw off a shot! So get comfortable first, exactly where you want to be, and then get your focus down. It amused @upchickadee to no end, watching me focus very carefully, then move slightly while adjusting the f-stop, and having to focus all over again. Bah!

Hold still!

Think of the times you would use a tripod. Why do you go that route? Usually because it’s impossible to hold the camera still, right? Same here. But with a macro lens, since you’re in so tight, it can be tough to be completely still. Even the slightest motion can look like you’re sliding away. This is why I use as much natural light as possible: I can reduce my shutter speed down to about 1/250 and mitigate the motion!

I love highlighters.

More than anything, having a macro lens can capture a place unlike regular photos. Last week I closed my retail shop (by choice, though it was still sad). We sold art and writing supplies and professional accessories, and taking regular (or even Spinner 360) shots just didn’t give me the memories I wanted. But taking the macro in helped me to capture the little things, the minutiae, that I’ll remember forever. It really is the details that count.

A few pencils, a lifetime of memories.

So what do you need to know? A fast shutter is a huge help. Natural light is helpful for keeping those shutter speeds up. Get comfortable, then do your focusing. And more than anything, find the things you love, the memories you want to keep, those little things that catch your eyes. Capture those and hold those close. It’s the little things that count.

Next time we’ll head to the beach and find the tiny details amongst the sky and sea and sand.

Words and photos by Kevin Hodur. Previously calling suburban Chicago and Portland home, Kevin now lives and works as a writer on Upper Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula. Catch editions of The Road Rarely Traveled, as well as his next tipster, Macro-Land: Wide Open.

written by kevinhodur on 2013-05-20 #gear #tutorials #macro #camera #tutorial #lens #indoors #tipster #macro-land


  1. bsdunek
    bsdunek ·

    I really recommend the use of a tripod or other support for this kind of work. That way you can use a smaller aperture for more depth of field, which requires a slower shutter speed. A really useful accessory for this is a focusing rack. This allows you to move the camera very precisely in small increments. A typical one can be found at:
    Of course you might find one for a lot less on eBay or another auction site.

  2. kevinhodur
    kevinhodur ·

    @bsdunek: Ooh... I need to try a focusing rack. That would be mucho helpful. I had my mini tripod with me, but I couldn't find a good way to set it up for this. A few editions down the road I'm going to try it with something a bit more stable, though!

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