Create Dazzling Macro Photographs :: Digital Photo Secrets

Create Dazzling Macro Photographs

by David Peterson 9 comments

We love to look at Macro photographs (where the subject appears larger in the photo than it does in real life) because they show us a world we don't ordinarily stop to look at. Perhaps that is why they are so mesmerizing.

For example, take a look at this fascinating macro photo of a cricket. We can see the astonishing detail in it's scales, and even the hairs on those powerful back legs:

Image by Dash participant Sharon B-nejad

However, macro photography comes with has it's own series of problems that can stop you from getting the results you want:

  • Get the focus wrong (even slightly) and your image will be blurry and unusable because of the shallow depth of field.
  • Even worse, your camera might focus on the wrong thing. Your bee is out of focus, but you can see all the detail on the flower they are sitting on.
  • And because you are so close, if your subject moves a tiny bit (or your camera moves slightly), your image won't be crystal clear.
  • Finally, if your subject is a living creature (like a bee, or bug), it's likely to be scared of your lens and will fly away.

Fortunately, these problems are all really easy to avoid - once you know how.

Make Your Macro Photos Shine

During May, I'm dedicating the whole month to helping you become a better macro photographer. Along the way, you'll learn the 'tricks of the trade' for photographing all things small. I'll talk about the most common problems with macro photography and give you techniques for avoiding all of them.

Do I Need A Special Camera?

No! Almost all Point and Shoot cameras are capable of shooting macro photographs, as are most Bridge cameras. If you own a DSLR, check the writing on the lens for the word 'macro' or 'micro'. But even if you don't have a macro lens, you can still photograph macro shots (I'll show you how in the course).

If you are still not sure, use your camera to photograph a penny sitting a few of inches (10-20cm) from the end of the lens. If your camera can focus and take a photo of a subject that close, then it (and you) can take macro photos.

Marvelous Macro is stream 2 of the May Photography Dash.

Register for the Photography Dash

Or, learn more about the Dash

4 Weeks of Wonder

If you are not familiar with the Photography Dash, it's a course designed to help you take much better photos with your existing camera. Twice a week, I'll send you new course material with a fun photographic assignment that helps you 'lock in' the knowledge in the course.

Each month, I delve deep into three specific topics relating to Photography. In May, we're covering Macro, Flash Photography, and how to avoid common photography mistakes.

If you like, you can share your image with the hundreds of other Dash participants in our Dash community website - all participating at the same time as you - and receive feedback that will further help you improve your photography.

The Dash will only take 30 minutes to 1 hour twice a week; and is a bargain at only $25/month.

  • Canon EOS 50D
  • 1600
  • f/13.0
  • 0.006 sec (1/160)
  • 100 mm

"little" ladybug - hv a grt wknd... by Flickr user bernat...

The Many Uses of Macro Photography

Macro photography isn't just for bugs and bees (although they are fantastic subjects!). You can use your macro setting to show the beautiful detail within a flower:

How about highlighting the exquisite detail of piano strings:

  • Canon EOS 40D
  • 640
  • f/2.8
  • 0.008 sec (1/125)
  • 105 mm

Piano strings by Flickr user kevin dooley

Or highlighting your wedding rings in a unique way:

    ring / yüzük by Flickr user Caucas'

    In fact, most objects around us have some texture and detail that make an excellent candidate for a macro photo. Can you guess what this is:

    • Nikon D50
    • 220
    • f/5.6
    • 1.3
    • 55.0 mm

    A close-up of several colored sheets of stacked, glittery paper.Textured Rainbokeh by Flickr user JD Hancock

    Or create awesome product shots to sell your jewelry fast on eBay!

    • Canon EOS 400D Digital
    • 400
    • f/10.0
    • 1
    • 100 mm

    19/365 - my engagement ring by Flickr user fionaandneil

    Course Schedule

    See the full schedule for the Macro Photography Dash

    But Don't Take It From Me...

    Just three of the hundreds of glowing testimonials I have received for the Dash:

    My nephew is taking photography in college. When I sat down with him not too long ago to compare notes, I was surprised to hear he knew nothing of ISO, Exposure Triangle or Depth of Field. It saddened me that my brother is paying thousands of dollars, and I have learned so much more in just a few months of dashing for just pennies! The lessons are simply written, easily applied and produce astounding results. Not only my photography, but also my love for photography have grown tremendously thanks to David's invaluable lessons.

    -- Christine Austin, Pennsylvania, USA

    feel the Dash is the perfect way to learn how to use your [camera] - I was a complete novice with my newly acquired SLR and had only used auto on my point and shoot before I joined the Dash. The way the challenges are set up makes you have a go and share your attempts with the community, good or bad, who offer advice on how you can improve your shots or just offer praise, which is always greatly appreciated. I feel I have a family of like-minded friends in the community even though I have never met them personally - it is a lovely idea and works amazingly well - thank you David and helpers for all your support along the way!

    -- Lynda McGennity, Preston, UK

    My photographs have improved dramatically since your dash. No more flat or dull photos, now I have eye popping photos on which I never thought I could accomplish until the dash. I am excited on David's future dashes, I do only have one problem though, it's addicting and to much fun!!!!! :) Thank you David for all you have taught me.

    -- Sarah Hamilton, PA, USA

    Join the Photography Dash Today

    Take your own photography skills to new heights, have loads of fun, and have the opportunity to share your creations with fellow photographers from all around the world with the Photography Dash.

    I'd love to see you there!

    Thanks to readerwalker, Mukumbura and ecstaticist for the use of their images.

    Most people think this post is Awesome. What do you think?


    1. Alicia Hoegh says:

      Can is see all of the levels of the challenge or must I select either beginners, intermediate or advanced challenge? Will all three be available?

      • David Peterson says:

        Hi Alicia,

        Yes, you can see all challenge levels, and you are free to choose which level you complete for each topic. You can even take photos for multiple levels if you like!

        I hope that helps.


    2. Robert says:

      Re: Macro dash.
      Is there any time restraints with deadlines that must be met? or can I suit myself with responses not really being required if I choose not to respond.

      • David Peterson says:

        Hi Robert,

        No, there are no deadlines that must be met. You are free to complete the course material after the Dash completes (or even never). However, for the best results I recommend you try to complete most in the recommended time so you can upload at the same time as all the other participants and receive feedback from them.


    3. Pat Devine says:

      Should I be away from home for a few days or ill can I download the course at any time

      • David Peterson says:

        Yes, you read the course material at any time - even after the Dash completes.


    4. Rene says:

      I understand it being a month long course but is it one that you can return to thereafter?

      • Sandy says:

        Hi Rene,
        I took a couple of courses and then I had to stop for my son's wedding. I am just finishing up the Water Dash course ... which has been phenomenal ... but in between courses I still had access to the General area where you can post photos. So yes, you can return to the notes and keep in touch through General Photos. It is a great course, great online community and David explains things so well!

      • Jack says:

        Hi Rene,
        I have participated in a Dash before, and you will have access to all of the materials and lessons for as long as you want. Hope this helps! :)

    Leave a Comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *