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Copyright 2004 Scott Bourne – All Rights Reserved

If you are interested in creating something “different” or you need a spark in your creativity, consider macro. Here are a few tips to get you started.

a. Fill The Frame – Really

There’s no need for negative space in a traditional macro shot. Fill the frame. Part of the beauty of macro photography is the ability to shoot abstracts and the more of the frame you fill with the image, the more abstract it can become.

b. Use The Longest Macro Lens You Can Afford

If you use a telephoto macro, i.e. 180mm v. something like a 60mm macro, you can get full magnification without having to get uncomfortably close. Insects, animals, etc., may not appreciate you trying to get within one inch of them for a photo. If you have a longer focal length, you can get the same effect from further out.

c. Get Close – Then Get Closer.

No matter how close you are, if you can still focus, get closer still. There are a myriad of stories in there. Get close – look for them. Find the hidden treasure deep into the shot.

e. Get Eye Level

If you’re shooting animals, insects, etc., shoot at their eye level. Working face-to-face gives an intimate perspective that’s nicely amplified in close up work.

f. Consider Flash

Many manufacturers make ring flash adapters or special flash heads for use in macro photography. Using additional light can help you get the depth – of -field you need if you want to get front to back sharpness in a close up picture.

These aren’t the only suggestions for getting good macro shots, but they should get you on your way.

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Join the conversation! 29 Comments

  1. Thanks. I want to try macro again in the near future. It’s been years. And when I do, I will reread this.

  2. Thanks. I want to try macro again in the near future. It’s been years. And when I do, I will reread this.

  3. Thanks, Scott. I’ve done some macro shots that looked good, but many that were uninteresting. Considering these tips, I think I can now explain why. Though I do wonder what step “d” was, and why it didn’t make the cut.

  4. Thanks, Scott. I’ve done some macro shots that looked good, but many that were uninteresting. Considering these tips, I think I can now explain why. Though I do wonder what step “d” was, and why it didn’t make the cut.

  5. What about using extension tubes vs. a macro lens? I am trying to figure out if getting tubes and using my 70-200mm lens will work out well, or if I should just get like a 100mm macro.

  6. What about using extension tubes vs. a macro lens? I am trying to figure out if getting tubes and using my 70-200mm lens will work out well, or if I should just get like a 100mm macro.

  7. I use extension tubes. The issue I find is the focusing. It’s actually easier to move the camera to fine tune the focus. But, I lose fine control over the framing. I almost always end up cropping a little. Great advice.

  8. I use extension tubes. The issue I find is the focusing. It’s actually easier to move the camera to fine tune the focus. But, I lose fine control over the framing. I almost always end up cropping a little. Great advice.

  9. Macro is why I started this obsession called photography, in retrospect. Great post!

  10. Macro is why I started this obsession called photography, in retrospect. Great post!

  11. Well Scott you did mention lighting with tip F. but lighting is one of the most important aspects of macro photography. You need to be able to control how the subject is lit, or else shadows could obscure some of the tantalizing detail you are trying to capture.

  12. Well Scott you did mention lighting with tip F. but lighting is one of the most important aspects of macro photography. You need to be able to control how the subject is lit, or else shadows could obscure some of the tantalizing detail you are trying to capture.

  13. When I bought my current camera one of it’s big features was ‘Live View’. I never thought that was a big deal until I started using it in my macro work. Not only is it much easier to get the focus right, you get mirror lock-up automatically.

    That’s my best macro photography tip.

  14. When I bought my current camera one of it’s big features was ‘Live View’. I never thought that was a big deal until I started using it in my macro work. Not only is it much easier to get the focus right, you get mirror lock-up automatically.

    That’s my best macro photography tip.

  15. I have tried tubes and they just do not work as well as a good macro lens. I have all Canon glass in my arsenal and have found that I get some great macro photos with the 100mm. When I am out doing landscape work it seems that I can always find an opportunity to mount the macro and capture an image of a new and different leaf, insect or even rock pattern. Thanks Scott for those tips.

  16. I have tried tubes and they just do not work as well as a good macro lens. I have all Canon glass in my arsenal and have found that I get some great macro photos with the 100mm. When I am out doing landscape work it seems that I can always find an opportunity to mount the macro and capture an image of a new and different leaf, insect or even rock pattern. Thanks Scott for those tips.

  17. […] Twipphoto har skrivit en liten tipsguide till dig som fotar makro. Något som jag älskar att göra som ni kanske har märkt på mina inlägg här i bloggen… I vilket fall – det är bastips för alla som fotar makro och jag har säkert tipsat om liknande men jag tycker det är så kul att fota makro att jag läser allt jag kan komma över! […]

  18. […] Twipphoto har skrivit en liten tipsguide till dig som fotar makro. Något som jag älskar att göra som ni kanske har märkt på mina inlägg här i bloggen… I vilket fall – det är bastips för alla som fotar makro och jag har säkert tipsat om liknande men jag tycker det är så kul att fota makro att jag läser allt jag kan komma över! […]

  19. Thanks for the tips. It has sort of answered my question on what macro lens to buy. My wife, the budding macro photographer, thanks you more than I.

  20. Thanks for the tips. It has sort of answered my question on what macro lens to buy. My wife, the budding macro photographer, thanks you more than I.

  21. Kent I hope you are using a macro focusing rail setup. If not you can get them fairly inexpensively. I have the one from Bogen/Manfrotto, it makes focusing much, much easier.

  22. Kent I hope you are using a macro focusing rail setup. If not you can get them fairly inexpensively. I have the one from Bogen/Manfrotto, it makes focusing much, much easier.

  23. Ed is there a point lingering around in there because I have no idea what it is.

  24. Ed is there a point lingering around in there because I have no idea what it is.

  25. John I totally agree. I never got Live View until I started using it for applications like macro.

  26. John I totally agree. I never got Live View until I started using it for applications like macro.

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