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:
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.
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.
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.
"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:
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:
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!
19/365 - my engagement ring by Flickr user fionaandneil
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
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!
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