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Macro Photography: How To Take A Good Macro Photo

Updated on December 26, 2014
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What Is Macro Photography

When you take a close-up picture of a large or small object the effect produced is called a macro. Macro photography incorporates extremely minuscule details, and when taken with the right lighting, camera, and distance, the results can be stunning.

Professional Camera For Macro Shots

Any regular digital camera will have a build in Macro feature, but your best bet is a single-lens reflex camera, which has a nook that allows you to attack a special-purpose macro lens.

If you are looking for a camera that will get this job done, then the Canon Digital Rebel XTi with a Canon EF-S 6omm f/s.8 Macro USM lens will provide spectacular results.

How-To: With A Normal Macro Lens (35mm)

With a normal 35mm lens, you are stretching your luck, but you can still get a very high quality image with a little creativity and patience. When your eyes try to focus on a tiny object do you rip out your retina and move it away from your eye? No. The effects will be the same as trying it with a normal digital camera.

A way to get around this is to take a magnifying glass and hover it over the object you wish to photograph. Hold the camera steady with one hand, or set it on a tripod while your other hand holds the magnifying glass over the focal point of the photograph. If your image comes out magnified in the center and scattered toward the edges, there isn’t much you can do. Your object will look like it’s in motion because the magnifying lens is curved and it distorts the depth of field and your image along with it. Try to position the camera closer to the magnifying glass to get around this issue.


Sample Macro Photos

Macro Zoom Lenses

If you have ever thought about purchasing a Macro Zoom Lens, then be sure to read a few reviews before you do. I have heard that these lenses are usually not worth the purchase. Their magnification is rarely greater than a 30mm or 50mm lens and they project low quality. The effects they give off can easily be surpassed by other (more expensive) equipment, so choose with care. However there are some that do indeed take decent and even great macro shots. Take the Nikon one, for example.

Macro With A Magnifying Lens


Macro-Enhancing Techniques

  • If you are having trouble with lighting, there is nothing better than using a classic hand-held flash. This is a very powerful tool when you are using just a few inches away from the subject’s face. Say, a macro shot of a dog’s nose, for a good example. If your dog doesn't mind being blinded for a few seconds (which he might) then go for it! Lighting is an important factor in ANY type of photography so reading up on lighting techniques is always a smart idea.

Macro Tips 35mm Lens

Vignette-Enhanced Macro Photography

Vignette-enhanced | Source


Vignetting: Vignetting is more about Photoshop than it is about photography, but if you are handy with Adobe (or any amateur program, for that matter) then this step is a simple way to create “fake” magnification and make your photography look more polished. (If you are going all natural, then just skip this step.) Adding a circular vignette will make the center of the object look effortlessly magnified. In another technique, where the area desired for magnification is not in the center, the vignette should be re-positioned until the object is in the center of the vignette. This effect is not quite as dramatic as the full on center vignette, but it will still emphasize nonetheless.

Vignetting Effects: Magnification Effects Before And After Vignette


What Is Focus Stacking?

Focus Stacking is a macro photography technique in which the photographer takes multiple photos of the same objects on different depth-fields and then uses an electronic program to combine all the images in order to create one crisp and clear image. Check out the macro photography tutorial below.

Focus Stacking Techniques To Enhance Macro

More Examples of Macro Shots

Macro shot of a bird
Macro shot of a bird | Source
Macro shot of a violin
Macro shot of a violin | Source

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