Close-Up Photography Tips

“What is a macro lens and what can it do to better aid photography?” If you happen to be new to photography, this is a question you would most likely ask a more experienced photographer.

Well, macro lenses are designed and tailored to aid close-up photography attempts. What a macro lens does is that it projects the image of your subject onto your camera’s sensor that appears to be of the same size, otherwise larger than the actual size of the subject itself.

Close-Up Photography Tips #1 – The Focal Lengths For Macro Shots Of Flowers And Plants

I favor using 100mm lenses to photograph flowers. I realized that a focal length that is slightly longer can mean that there is no need for me to get right on top of the subject to take stunning shots. This gives me a little more breathing space.

Despite that, slightly longer focal lengths allow me to get closer to flowers or plants that may otherwise be situated quite a distance away with a 50mm or 60mm lens.

My effective focal length is longer because I use a 100mm full-frame lens on a DX-format sensor. Hence, the effective focal length turns out to be more like 150mm.

Close-Up Photography Tips #2 – The Optimum Aperture For Macro Photography

When I conduct close-up photography, I normally close the lens down to the smallest aperture it is capable of, which is currently f/22 for my lens, so that the subjects’ details are shown. However, the aperture I would use will vary depending on the close-up photography effect I want.

Often times, it is best to have the background blurred so that emphasis is placed solely onto the flower you are photographing. What you should do is to make use of your camera’s depth-of-field preview to check and see if your aperture setting gives you your desired close-up photography effect.

When I happen to not stop the lens all the way down, the two most common apertures I use are f/8 and f/11. However, when I happen to be outdoors photographing close-up shots of flowers and plants under windy conditions, I will then open up the lens so that the shutter speed is kept short. This will help avoid getting blurred shots.

Close-Up Photography Tips #3 – Manual Focus (MF) Vs. Autofocus (AF) Macro Lenses

Throughout my years in the photography arena, I have always used manual focus to photograph close-up shots, even when I had an autofocus macro lens.

The reason as to why I prefer using manual focus is because I want to decide where to place the focus on my subject, and not allow the camera to choose where the focus goes.

Another reason is because I would rather shoot in manual focus is because the depth-of-field in close-up photography is very little. To ensure that the focus point is right where you want it to be, use the ‘in focus’ indicator in the viewfinder.