Digital Photography For Beginners – Explore The Larger Than Life World Of Macro!

December 31, 2011 by  
Filed under Digital Photography Articles

by Horrgakx

Digital Photography For Beginners – Explore The Larger Than Life World Of Macro!

Article by Paul Summers

Macro photography can be fascinating, viewing tiny subjects up close and personal yet larger than life. You could capture the image of a small creature in its entirety, like a caterpillar, or just partially, such as a butterfly’s wings. You can study diminutive subjects in a way that is impossible with the naked eye. You observe the subject frozen in time and in minute detail. Seen this way, you will be astonished at subjects you encounter everyday yet never consider interesting. There are many challenges to conquer in order to master this genre of digital photography, for beginners even more so.

To take macro photographs successfully will require a digital single lens reflex camera (DSLR) with a macro setting. A point and shoot camera will not enable the lens to clearly focus on a tiny subject at the very short distance from the lens that is required to take a macro photo. In addition, most point and shoots do not allow you to add macro lenses or magnifying lenses to the existing lens on the camera.

A fine way to learn macro techniques is to practice with subjects that cannot crawl away or fly off. Insects make incredible subjects for macro photos, but they are difficult to capture. Instead, start with tiny objects like the parts of a flower, the detail on a coin, or a piece of jewellery for example.

The macro setting on a DSLR camera will give you a reasonably good macro image. Certainly, it will enable you to focus the camera on the subject much closer and with a much shorter focal distance than at other settings. Utilising the manual focus option will also enable you to capture detail other settings will not.

However, to truly appreciate the beauty and amazement of macro photography, you should utilise lens attachments that will allow you to get even closer and capture even more detail. A diopter – or close-up lens – that is threaded and can be screwed onto your existing camera lens is an excellent investment to take your macro photos to the next level. These close-up lenses come in increments such as +1, +2, or +3, meaning you will be able to see and photograph the subject 1 time, 2 times, or 3 times closer than without this lens.

The lenses are threaded on both sides so that they may be combined by screwing them together, as well. This lets you stack them to get an even higher-powered close-up effect. For instance, combining a +1 and a +3 lens will result in a +4 effect. Macro photography experts recommend you attached the higher-powered lens first and then add on the other diopters in order of highest power to lowest power. So in this case you would attach the +3 close-up lens first and then the +1 close-up lens.

One aspect of macro digital photography for beginners to bear in mind is that you may also need to obtain a teleconverter lens, which lets you slightly back up from the subject and still get the shot. With insects that may move or fly away when you get close, this item will be invaluable. A teleconverter essentially magnifies the subject. A 2X teleconverter works well. At higher levels, there are mixed opinions about how effective teleconverters may or may not be, but a 2X allows you to gain the working distance you need. It also enables more light to fall on the subject without being blocked by the camera and lenses.

Macro photography requires good lighting, but on-camera flash is not the best source. It is better to turn off the on-camera flash and photograph the subject in a well-lit area. Photographing outside or near a brightly-lit window can provide adequate lighting. Alternatively, you can utilise lighting from other sources to supplement the ambient or available light. Practice in bright natural lighting before you invest in special lighting equipment for your macro photography.

The road to excellence in macro digital photography, for beginners, is not an easy one. But digital photography encourages experimentation, so practice mixed with perseverance should produce more than satisfying results.

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