Macro Photography Tips


1. Use Macro Lenses
Buy a specialised macro lens with a good lenshood. Medium to telephoto macro lenses will help you to keep your distance from the subject. Consider macro lenses from independent lens makers such as Sigma or Tamron if camera makers lenses are beyond your budget. See table below for best selling macro lenses for 2016.

2. Use a Tripod
Use a strong sturdy tripod to minimise or eliminate camera shake. For light travel tripods, try placing your bag on the tripod to give it extra

weight for more stability. Using a tripod will dramatically improve your macro photography by maximising the resolving power of your lens and providing the sharpest image possible. A tripod spirit level can aid with level images.

3. Create a Macro Studio
Create your own macro studio for control over lighting, the elements, etc. for consistent results. Can use flash lighting or lamps on either side of the copying stand for soft even lighting. Use a flashmeter to measure the light.

4. Experiment with Macro Equipment
Experiment with bellows, extension tubes and reversing rings on digital slr cameras until you find what works best for your subject.

5. Control Backgrounds
Diffuse the background and avoid distracting backgrounds to isolate the subject.

6. Use a Cable Release or Self-Timer
Avoid pressing the shutter with your finger as it can lead to camera shake. Try using a cable release or self timer to minimise or prevent blur when taking long exposures on a high quality tripod. A remote control can also be useful.

7. Use a Ring Flash or Off-Camera Flash
Use a ring flash for even lighting or off-camera diffused flash. Try a flash on either side of the lens covered with a diffuser for even soft lighting. Bracket exposures to avoid blown highlights or loss of detail in shadow areas.

8. Patience is a Virtue
Be patient when photographing insects and bugs. Move slowly when approaching your subject and if they fly off, wait a few minutes to see if they return. Be conscious of your shadow and avoid it going over your subject.

9. Use Manual settings or Aperture Priority
Use manual settings or aperture priority on a digital SLR camera or digital compact with manual controls. Set a small aperture i.e. f8, to maximise depth of field and shoot in good light with a high enough aperture to compensate for blur or movement.

10. Use Multiple Exposure
Use multiple exposure for creative effects such as maximising depth of field by combining two images of a still object where the area of sharp focus is different on both images.

11. Eliminate Distracting Backgrounds
Place coloured card behind flowers, insects etc. to eliminate distracting backgrounds. The limited depth of field on macro lenses will diffuse the background sharp areas of light or dark or strong colors can distract from the subject. Either move your position, move in closer or use a coloured paper background to eliminate harsh backgrounds.

12. Eliminate Reflections
To eliminate reflections on shiny objects such as coins or miniature electronic pieces of equipment, shoot throug a cone of white paper which completely surrounds your subject. Light the subject from underneath and the cone will bounce even soft lighting around the subject. For a sharper more defined image, use a black paper cone.