Exploring the world of miniature objects with a macro lens is a special and exciting area of photography, and once you start, you will quickly become addicted. The world of macro photography holds many delights and is an area that cannot be appreciated with the human eye. Macro photography is the name given to close-up photography, and is best explained as images that are taken at reproduction ratios of life-size and above. Ratios of between 1:7 and 1:1 fall into the macro photography category.
Understanding Ratios: This is a term used to express the magnification of a macro lens or other macro equipment that relates the real life-size object to the reproduction size on a slide or negative. If you shoot an object that is 3cm in length and it measures 1.5cm on a 35mm slide or negative – the ratio is 1:2. When both are equal length the ratio is 1:1.
Choosing the right lens is the most important factor with macro photography. While a telephoto lens may be acceptable with some types of close-up photography, the macro lens is invaluable to get really close and really accurate focusing.
There is an endless range of subjects that fall under the range of macro photography. The most common subject for macro photography is the natural world – all types of flowers, plants, and insects. For the more creative photographer, macro photography is used in abstract imagery. With many forms of macro photography, especially with insects, a lens with a long focal lens – minimum 200 mm is required for some nature subjects. You need to keep a working distance from the subject to get a successful image – you don’t want to frighten your subject away. When shooting close-ups you are limited with depth-of-field – to get an attractive image you must focus on the most important part of the subject. This will be achieved easier if you place your camera on a tripod or monopod.
By using your tripod you will reduce the risk of camera shake. Subject movement is also an important factor to consider. Macro photography magnifies the subject, leaving more room for blur. A strobe unit can be used to freeze movement – even on the brightest of days you should consider using your strobe unit. Try bouncing light from your strobe unit off a reflector. This will give your image a softer illumination.
Many amateur photographers stay away from macro photography because they feel that their technical ability is too inept – your personal ability should not turn you away from this exciting part of photography – macro photography is like all types of photography – practice makes perfect.
TJ Tierney is an award winning Irish Landscape photographer. He frequently writes for the travel site and the photography site http://www.goldprints.com to view or buy some of his images visit his gallery at http://www.goldenirishlight.com.