One of the simplest and more satisfying types of photography is of course, macro photography. Macro photography is defined as the close up focus of a subject with the use of a strong lens. You can use macro photography on many subjects such as minerals, flowers, snowflakes, butterflies, plants and so on. You can use your yard, the forest and the beach; these places can supply you with hours and hours of enjoyment for macro photography.
There is no reason to subject yourself only to nature with macro photography either, you can use it for your collections of stamps, coins, or anything that you feel will be appealing to the eye. Even the advanced photographer can find something new and exciting about macro photography. Some people have used it for documentation of valuables for insurance and so on. There is no limit to the enjoyment you can derive from macro photography, you may have 1 single subject that can give you hours of possibilities.
Basic Macro Photography tips
First of all you need to get the right equipment. You can’t depend on just any lens to get a good shot and hope does not float in this situation. Your choice of subject may be tricky for good depth, especially if you choose to shoot an abstract with your subject.
If you’re shooting a still photo, the use of a tripod is also quite useful. This is very important because you don't want the camera moving around as you are shooting macro photos. You should have a release on your tripod so you can move the camera while shooting and still have it attached. Macro photography is a wonderful way to create art when done properly. Subjects that may be hard to see with the eye can be explored and the image heightened with this type of photography. Whether you are home or in your garden, there are many subjects to choose from.
Consider things like texture, shapes and colors or anything that will make your subject more interesting. There are things like lighting and angles that can make your macro images more interesting also. To create your own macro studio, all you need is a box. Open the box in the front and the top and drape any color of fabric over it. Black drapes are wonderful to use when shooting an object of color.
For lighting your macro studio, you can use things such as reading lamps with reveal bulbs that will give a softer light than the general light bulbs. The trick is that macro photos are all about trying and retrying until you come up with the images desired. Results are rewarding and the art and creativity will become part of you and what makes it unique.
The 10 Golden rules
1. Be Steady – Use of a tripod is vital to keep the camera shaking to a minimum, it is especially important in macro photography
2. Wind - Macro photography is nearly impossible in the wind, be prepared with a wind break to allow you to get the right shot
3. Props - added impact is alright for your shots, a mist of water can give the feel of early morning dew.
4. Sharpness - Use an aperture of f/11-f/22 so you can maximize your DOF. Keep the camera parallel to your subject; take test shots until you get the effect you want.
5. Close up – Remember the 1:1 life-size photo is the best, you need your special lens, a focal length of 100-200mm is a good working distance.
6. Focus Manually – Switch to manual focus, although auto focus is great normally, you want to have more control as you shoot your macro photos. For the best DOF, focus on the mid portion of your subject.
7. Background – Try not to use the background the same color as your subject, bright lights and clutter will also draw the viewers focus away from the subject.
8. Fill in Flash – a flash is great and on sunny days it will help eliminate shadows.
9. Get the White right - Remember when shooting something of a very light color, you may want to compensate by adding a stop or two of positive exposure to compensate for underexposure.
10. Diffuse light for Capturing Details - the use of a diffuser will help on those very sunny days; this will help you to maximize the details of a subject. The best time to shoot outdoors is on an overcast day.