Digital macro photography is one of the most exciting ways to expand your photography. It is a completely different world when you are only a few inches feet away from your subject. This literally transforms your photography as subjects are magnified several times their normal size. This makes digital macro photograph a lot of fun.
In essence digital macro photograph is all about capturing small objects and magnifying them. This usually means getting in close, within a few inches to get the shoot. The majority of digital SLR cameras today have a close focus or macro mode setting. A tulip shape typically shows close focus or macro mode and that should be located somewhere on your camera. If the symbol is not visible it could be part of the camera’s menu options. Once in close up mode you should be able to focus to within eight inches of your subject. This may vary on different SLR camera types so check with your manual.
Using the macro mode on the SLR camera is a good start but if you want really great results for digital macro photography you could consider purchasing a dedicated macro lens. The manufacture website of your digital SLR should have information about the types and range of macro lenses on offer. In addition you can also use close up lens that are single glass elements that screw onto the front of a standard lens and provided magnification. They come in various magnification strengths from +1 to +10 and have a variety of screw threads, so again check with your lens manufacturer for details.
The beauty of close up lenses is that you combine them to increase magnification e.g. adding a +1 and +2 to get a +3. But be careful not to combine too many close up lenses as vignetting could occur.
The following are a list of digital macro photography techniques to consider:
1. A Firm Base
Invest in a tripod to give you stability and avoid hand shake on extreme close ups that could lead to poor pictures. When using your tripod try to use a firm floor or a solid ground position to minimise camera shake. The main disadvantage of tripods however, is that they can be bulky and awkward to carry around. An alternative would be a spider like tripod or grip provided the head is sufficient to take the weight of your digital SLR camera.
2. Depth of Field
As you move closer to your subject the less depth of field you have, so to retain a good depth of field you may have to back away from your subject. Alternative you could close your aperture to increase depth of field using your SLR camera’s aperture priority setting. If you are struggling with aperture try and get more light into the scene, forcing the aperture to close thus increasing your depth of field.
3. Mind the Background
This is very important and you probably want it to be very indistinct. As depth of field is probably limited chance are the background will be blurred. If you can, try to keep the background blurred. Other options include using a plain or black background.
Try not to use your flash, but if you do need to, beware of over exposure. The built-in flash unit may not be the best to use in some circumstance as this could leave very harsh shadows. Remote flash unit could be the answer or you could use the EV exposure controls to limit flash exposure.
In the end there are a number of factors to take into account when considering digital macro photography, however, the photographic rewards will be worth your time and patience.
About the Author
Steve F Campbell is a keen photography, having delivered a variety of training courses for all ages, to see a FREE video “Digital SLR Buyers Guide” visit Digital SLR Buyers Guide
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