Macro Photography – Skills & Settings Required
The dawn of digital photography swept away one of the most exigent problem in image capture. How to shoot macro images without a pile of specialized gears. Now you can get down, get dirty and close in on your subject, capture business, and make macro the digital way with a 100 per cent success rate. As rightly quoted by a fellow photographer, and many would have difference of opinion on this but people have now started calling it as digital photo macrography.
I know a lot of photographers would agree with me when I say that macro photography is an ever learning activity. To be able to get close to your subject which apparently can’t be seen with naked eye and record an image that is not easily visible is an attractive option. There is nothing more satisfying than to make a huge print of a minute subject, mineral specimen or any small object that is normally so tiny to the naked eye and captured with the technique of macro photography.
Aside from the requirement of using an DSLR camera , you need few add-on’s to take highly magnified images of extremely small subjects. You could begin by fitting a diopter lens to the front of the existing standard lens. This would impart a higher degree of magnification. You could also install extension tubes between your normal lens and the camera body. You could also acquire a set of macro bellows and place them between lens and body, and finally, you could invest in a fairly expensive and optically superb macro lens that was dedicated to macro shooting. Another option is to fit a reversing ring that allows you to fit the lens on backwards. This improves the lens close up resolution, and allows to you to focus much more closely. But to be honest, it was a hassle — although you can still use these methods if using a DSLR for Macro Photography.
Now there are two ways by which you can capture a macro image.
As i explained in my earlier article of “Digital Camera Modes“, Macro mode helps in taking a closer picture of a subject keeping rest of the things around your object out of focus. This mode is helpful in taking close up pictures of flowers, insects. Different digital cameras will have macro modes with different capabilities including different focusing distances (usually between 2-10cm for point and shoot cameras). When you use macro mode you’ll notice that focusing is more difficult as at short distances the depth of field is very narrow (just millimeters at times). Keep your camera and the object you’re photographing parallel if possible or you’ll find a lot of it will be out of focus. You’ll probably also find that you won’t want to use your camera’s built in flash when photographing close up objects or they’ll be burnt out. Lastly – a tripod is invaluable in macro shots as the depth of field is so small that even moving towards or away from your subject slightly can make your subject out of focus.
In this mode you have full control over your camera and need to think about all settings including shutter speed, aperture, ISO, white balance, flash etc. It gives you the flexibility to set your shots up as you wish. Of course you also need to have some idea of what you’re doing in manual mode so most digital camera owners that I have anything to do with tend to stick to one of the priority modes. Now while capturing macro image in manual mode you need to reduce the lens aperture to a minimum setting and attain the optimum depth of field when the camera is close to the subject. If your camera allows manual focusing, use it and manually focus on the part of our subject that is the main point of interest. I intend to use manual mode for macro mode as it gives me more adjusting factors which i can tweak as per my requirement and get the desired results.