Canon Rebel T3i Macro Photography
Macro Photography With Canon Rebel T3i
What's The Fascination With Macro Photography?
Ya gotta love macro. At least that is my opinion. It's what got me started in digital photography.
And now, with the Canon Rebel T3i, macro is much easier than ever before. In this article, you will discover just how Canon has made close-up pictures almost foolproof.
As you view the photos on the right, you will notice that there are the obligatory bugs and flowers. This is what most of us think when we hear the term "macro." However, there are lots of different possible subjects. In fact, if you just give it a bit of thought, you will be hard-pressed to think of something that cannot be used in macro shooting. Buttons and bows? Yes. Tires? Of course. An airplane engine? You bet! See what I mean?
This is why many photographers find close-ups so fascinating. When you get really close to your picture, you will see things that you would normally pass over without a second glance. Even ordinary things like buttons take on a whole new "personality." There are photographers who actually specialize in taking pictures of different items of clothing, not the whole article, but the bits and parts like zippers, buttons, and emblems. It can be quite addicting.
Getting Started With Macro Photography
Of course, you can shoot close-ups with any camera, including your cell phone. However, this is about using a Canon Rebel T3i for macro photography.
The first, probably most common way of taking close-ups is to use the dedicated mode dial setting on the camera. It looks like a little tulip flower on the dial. When you select this setting, your T3i knows you are about to do something special, namely take some pretty close shots. The camera has been set up by the manufacturer to do a good job of recording your images.
So, under normal conditions, you will get good results using the Macro mode dial setting, and if you don't want to learn any more about your Rebel than you have to, you can just stick with that setting. However, you are definitely giving up a lot of control when you do this. You actually can't change any of the settings like aperture, shutter speed, or ISO. In fact, if the light is not strong enough, you will not be able to take a picture without the flash. It pops up automatically, and no means of force can keep it from firing.
Check out the photo of the ruler on the right. This was taken in my office. See the nasty shadow? That is because the camera was too close to the ruler and the on-camera flash fired, causing a shadow of the lens hood to ruin the picture. Outside in regular daylight? No problem. The flash will not be a factor.
Using Creative Modes Instead of Macro Mode
The alternative to using Macro Mode is to choose one of the Creative mode selections on the other side of the dial. You can select P (program mode), Tv (shutter priority), or Av (aperture priority).
The easiest of the three mode selections is Av, or aperture priority, mode. This allows you to tell the camera what size aperture you want to use. For macro, a larger number will probably be what you want, such as a number above f/5.6. The higher the number you choose, the more detail you will get in your picture. The downside to this is that the higher numbers slow down the shutter speed, so using a tripod is sometimes a requirement.
If taking control of your camera by using a setting like Av is giving you heart palpitations, take a breath and calm down. You may take a few crumby pictures at first, but the more you practice, the better your images will get. Take a chance. It will cost you nothing ($$ that is). Plus, you may discover that taking control of your camera is fun and not as difficult as you thought. Also, when you select the aperture, your Rebel will choose the correct shutter speed to make a great exposure for you. It really is simple.
The picture of the ruler here is the exact same picture as the one above, except it was taken in Av mode so I did not have to deal with the flash and its ugly shadow.
Canon Rebel T3i - Macro Photography Tips
Now for the good news. The Canon Rebel T3i has a secret weapon when it comes to Macro photography.
It is the swivel LCD panel and Live View.
Here is how it works..
- Attach your macro lens (or your best zoom lens) to your Canon Rebel T3i.
- Put your Rebel T3i on a tripod or a solid surface where you want to take your shot.
- Select Av (aperture priority) on the mode dial.
- Set your lens on manual focus.
- Activate Live View.
- You will see the image in your LCD screen so you can focus the lens.
- Press the button to use the 5x zoom in order to focus better. You can get tack-sharp focus using 5x or 10x digital zoom.
- Press the shutter button to take the picture. If you want even more stability, use the timer set on 2 sec. so that you do not move the camera when you press the shutter button.
This method of taking macro photos is what sold me on the Canon Rebel T3i. It has given me the best close-ups I have ever taken with any camera.
If you use a shutter release cable, you can also prevent camera shake. The truth is that when you are really close to your subject and using a long focal length, your camera is much more prone to blur the image. Stabilizing is ubber important. So use a tripod and either a shutter release cable or set the camera to the 2 sec or 10 sec timer. You will be glad you did.
Another advantage of the Canon's T3i Live View screen is that you can focus even if the subject of your photo is hard to see through the view finder. The LCD screen swivels so you can see it even when it is very low to the ground or on the other side of a fence. The articulating LCD screen is not standard on any other Rebel model except the T3i. It makes easy work of some otherwise difficult viewing situations.