Improving Your Macrophotography
For those that are not aware, macrophotography is the practice of taking pictures of subjects that are incredibly small, most often invertebrates, like insects.
Macrophotography requires plenty of patience and some specialised gear, and it can take a few years to become truly adept at taking good macro photos. For anyone wanting to try and improve their own macrophotography, the following hints and tips should provide a good foundation.
The Right Weather And Place
Macrophotography is usually broken down into two types: pictures of plants, or pictures of invertebrates, although the spectrum can be much wider than this. For the photographer that would prefer to take photos of insects and spiders, the best place to find them is in a local botanical gardens or nature reserve. This also provides a great opportunity to practice taking pictures of the local flora, too, of which small flowers make some of the best subjects.
Lightning and weather are also factoring that need to be considered before heading out to a new place. Taking pictures in low light levels, such as those in the early morning or late afternoon, can make for some difficult and blurry pictures. Of course, one way to mitigate this is by having the right equipment, but that can come at a high price, so it’s often just easier to instead go out on a bright, sunny day, and make sure the subject has plenty of light.
Choosing a Lens
There are a multitude of different lenses to choose from, and each offers its own benefits, although this often depends on the kinds of subjects the photographer wants to take pictures of. A normal lens can be retrofitted with extension tubes that allow for close up pictures, although it might be easier to instead opt for a reverse normal lens, which provides an even higher amount of magnification. Despite these other two options, getting a dedicated macro lens is the most advised approach when it comes to choosing a lens – and most people don’t need to play now and win big in order to afford one – especially if the photographer is new to taking macro photos. These will often come with focal lengths measuring between 90 – 105mm, and usually have 1:1 magnification.
When taking such small pictures, the photographer will have a very small focal plane – only a few millimetres at best – which means that there is a very high shutter speed, necessitating a decent flash that offers plenty of illumination. Having the lighting available is usually more important than having the right kind of lighting; even a stock DSLR flash is generally enough to offer enough light to capture small subjects. But for more superior pictures, getting hold of better lighting is a must. Many professional macro photographers use specialised lighting that is mounted on the bottom of the camera and are directly aligned with diffusers that are part of the setup. This allows the photographer to take bright, highly illuminated pictures of the subject regardless of what the ambient lighting conditions are.