Approaching macro photography for the first time can be full of ugliness especially if your first attempts fail badly. Many beginners discover the Depth of Field (DoF) is very small, images are out of focus because the focus is critical in macro photography with the small DoF, Camera shake and subject movement (due to using longer shutter speeds to allow for small apertures and/or not using a sturdy tripod), increased noise (if you use a higher ISO to compensate for the small apertures needed), or badly composed photos. And this can get frustrating.
(the following was already covered in my first article Welcome to the
World of Macro but here is a reminder)
Macro Photography requires special equipment which can get expensive, but so what we photographers like to spend money on equipment. Without some form of macro equipment you will not be able to produce a photo with a high enough quality to please yourself.
For macro Photography (in most other forms of photography as well) the camera body is not as important as a quality lens and the best to start off with macro is to go out and buy a dedicated macro prime lens. I strongly suggest buying a lens with the ability to magnify 1:1. Watch out for lens manufacturers calling normal lenses macro lenses due to an ability to focus slightly closer than normal. These are not proper macro lenses and normally offer only 1:5 or 1:4 magnification.
There are several other techniques for macro photography, please review the article : Welcome to the World of macro for more information !
When it comes to macro technique, you need to be aware of a few common bad habits. Light is of essence in macro photography (as it is in most forms of photography). Using very small apertures to get a good DoF means using longer shutter speeds even in good light. This causes camera shake and subject movement issues. That is why you should never attempt macro photography without a tripod if you want to achieve the best image possible. Using a tripod is one of the problems solved! To get better light you might want to consider an external flash or if you really wanna go for it get a macro
To make the tripod issue even more important: another issue is the depth of field. You need a very small aperture (high number = small aperture) to get enough depth of field in your macro work. The narrow depth of field often encountered in macro work is sometimes used to give a macro photograph a certain special feel or bokeh, but this has to be used wisely and very selectively because in most cases, it will be better to have sufficient depth of field.
To get sufficient depth of field you need to stop down the lens (aperture of 16 or higher,high number = small aperture). So your subject most likely has already too little light on it. You are letting a very small portion of that through to your digital sensor. This underlines the necessity of the tripod !!!
Composition seems to be a bit more difficult with macro photography especially if you are taking nature macro photos. Here you run into the problem that your subject might be a bee or a dragon fly or another moving insect. So you might end up being in a tricky situation since you need to approach the insect very carefully. Decent composition can be difficult at times but there are no golden rules you can follow, you simply need to play around with composition until you find something that works.
It is also important to realize that for insect photography early mornings tend to be the best time for photography as the insects will still be warming up from the cold night and are more approachable at this time. When they warm up they will fly off at any hint of danger or movement.
My best advice I can give you, take your equipment, go out there and practice, practice, practice ...plenty of it ! This is the way to improve and get better, you know that no master of photography was born overnight.
Related Articles :
- AR-News : Welcome to the World of Macro
- AR - News : Macro November 1
- AR News: Macro Photography November II
- Aperture in Macro Photography !