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*Be advised that I initially planned to just show a few photos on this post but it turned into a ‘tutorial’ type of a post. I love photography as a hobby and whatever written below are my experience with macro photography. If I incorrectly describe some of the information, please do correct me. Thanks*

Shooting macro basically means shooting very minute things. When this mode is active you will be able to focus up very very close to the subject and take photos of it. Done correctly and you might see details of your subject which you won’t be able to see with your naked eye. For the point and shoot camera, macro mode is often designated by the flower icon. You should switch to it and try to focus up close on certain subjects and notice the difference. For point and shoot cameras, the amount of macro you can actually do is limited when compared to the DSLR.

~Look for this icon~

For DSLR users, you can shoot subjects in macro mode using a kit lens however to fully appreciate what your DSLR can do in macro mode, you might want to get into some macro dedicated accessories.

First off, we have the macro lens. These lens can be used to shoot as normal but are capable of focusing very close to your subjects. The idea using macro lens is quite easy. Fit it onto the DSLR. Bump the aperture to at around f/16 to f/32. And focus (I would suggest manually) on your subject until you get the desired sharpness. It might also be handy to have a flashgun around since using such small apertures will limit the amount of light entering your camera. Adjust your shutter speed as required. And use a tripod if necessary.

One of the more popular macro lens in the market will be the Tamron 90mm f/2.8. In fact I have one with me everytime I go on any type of shoots because it can be used as an alternative portrait lens.

Next, for budget photographers, a macro conversion lens can be an alternative. These lens fit onto the front of the kit lens (but be aware of the filter size since it can cause vignette if improperly fitted. The upside to the macro conversion lens is that, its a lot cheaper compared to a dedicated macro lens and its also a lot lighter to carry it outside. However, since it is a fit-on lens, you should never use Auto focus (which I wouldn’t recommend as well even with a macro dedicated lens). The auto focus won’t be able to focus accurately because the macro conversion lens is fit on in front of the camera lens. If you’re new to macro photography, it might really take some time to get used to using a macro conversion lens. I have tried out the Raynox Macro conversion lens before and it really requires a bit of practice to get use to it. But when done correctly, you’ll be impressed.

Alternatively, there’s the reverse macro rings. These allow you to use the reverse side of your lens to take macro shots. Apply the adapter ring on your camera, apply your lens in reversed on the ring and shoot away. Of course, you won’t be able to use the auto focusing and you will have to adjust your distance (move forward and back) to get the desired focus. These will most probably be the cheapest alternative (I haven’t really tried these before though).

~This is a reverse ring~

Lastly, there’s the close-up filters. Fix it on like how you would fix on your UV filter and you have a pseudo macro effect. These filters have +numbers on them by which the higher the number, the better the closeup effect. The downside of this will be that the filter size are fixed, so if you gotten 52mm filter size closeup filters, you might not be able to use them on 67mm size lens without additional accessories.

~Close up filters~

All in all, to be good in macro photography, you will have to remember these few points.

  1. Use a tripod if you have one. It might not be as flexible as you hope for it to be but it helps out a lot. Otherwise, use a fast enough shutter speed or bump up the ISO to compensate. When you are really close up to your subject, even the slightest move will cause blurriness.
  2. Use a small aperture to get sharp and in-focus shots. When you’re focusing on something which is so minute, the depth of field plane changes as well. So if you were to use a large aperture (eg: f/2.8), the sharpness plane is so thin that you might not get the focused area entirely sharp. If you’re able to, use the depth of field preview button. If you don’t know what is that, its time to read up on that camera manual.
  3. Use an external flashgun or ensure adequate lighting. While using such small aperture, you will definitely have a hard time getting your photo properly exposed. Adequate lighting will be key here.
  4. As always, take more than one photo. Its better to have a lot of ‘under-par’ photos and one nice photo rather than one lousy photo.
  5. Manual is better than auto. In macro photography, this is often true. Adjust the focus manually rather than to let the auto focus mechanism of the camera take over.
  6. Have fun.

*Note: All photos (except those in the slideshow) are taken from their respected websites*