Happily, along with scarcity of some essential resources, I also experienced a transformation that was worth the cost. When I started my journey as a photographer I found new appreciation for the visuals. Now as Macro Mania sets in, I enjoy those same visuals at very close range - it's a whole new perspective. I've captured a fruit fly sitting on a butterfly's leg. I've shot a beautiful fly's butt. And yes, I always photograph my food in restaurants before eating - my lens makes me do it! :-)
Let's suppose you've already succumbed to Macro Mania. Now you might as well enjoy it. Here's my Top 10 tips for Great Macro Photos:
- Buy the best lens you can: Go for a longer focal length, a largest aperture of at least 2.8, image stabilization and a high speed-focusing motor. Fork out the cash or you'll be handing over more in a few months for an upgrade.
- Use a tripod, lean your hand on something, or use a remote shutter release - just keep that camera steady: At close range you'll really see the effect of camera shake.
- Water drops are your friend: This is a great technique for spicing up those standard macro shots. Go out in the rain, use a spray bottle, or water dropper. Stunning results justify a little 'cheating'. Add a little glycerine (from your local drugstore) to get those drops to hold their shape and position just a little better.
- Look for bugs at mid-day, but look for sleepy bugs early in the morning: This one is a trade-off. If you're having trouble finding little creatures to photograph, head out at mid-day. With the sun and warmth, they'll be out and busy and easily located. Now you'll experience the frustration of shooting a busy bug that's just not up for posing. Try an early morning shoot. Those sleepy critters will be easy to shoot.
- Check your backgrounds: Its not just all about your subject. That subject will be so much more striking if your background is given the same consideration as the rest of the shot.
- Cloudy days are great days: Avoid glare and harsh shadows on your subject with ease. Avoid the sun!
- Banish the light: If you have no choice but to go out shooting in the glaring sun, you're in luck. Just block that sun by positioning your body between your subject and the sun.
- Find your focus: At close range and with a large aperture, a movement of as little as 1mm can change the focus enough to completely ruin your picture. Once your focus has locked, shift your position slightly until you've captured the right focal point.
- Depth of Field is where its at: Large aperture is highly recommended! This is a common technique that isolates your subject from surroundings. A blurry background removes distractions, or a slightly blurry but interesting background can frame your subject beautifully.
- Mix it up: Framing and Composition: Be creative - think outside the box!