1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Macro photography guide

Discussion in 'Talking Pictures' started by Bazarchie, Aug 11, 2018.

  1. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    I new subject for me. I have looked at advice and videos on the internet and bought a secondhand copy of a recommended book, but as with a lot of photography there are a lot of conflicting views. My main subjects are insects and flowers. Seems like a flash with a softbox is required but not a ring flash. Lots of homemade rigs, but I don't have the time to make these. I try to avoid flash but this seems not possible with macro in order to get a decent DoF. I expect I will just have to live and learn, but can anybody recommend a decent website/book? Do we have any experts?
  2. Roger_Provins

    Roger_Provins Well-Known Member

    All my photos insects are taken in natural light. I've tried flash, all sorts, but always go back.
    There's some here - bit old now though. Watch for unwanted shadows.
    Bazarchie likes this.
  3. peterba

    peterba Well-Known Member

    I used to do a fair bit of macro, but not much recently. My best results were without flash - I just use higher ISO to get the aperture within the range f/11 to f/14 (on full-frame). There's more leeway with DoF when using smaller formats, of course. The high ISO isn't a problem, since luminance noise doesn't bother me (YMMV), and chroma noise is fairly easily removed.

    IMO, it's very easy to get hung up on technical quality, and pay too little attention to the composition. This can be seen in a great deal of macro work. Often, people obsess over DoF, sharpness, noise etc. without attempting to see their macro shots as 'art'. As a result, they create highly-detailed technical images, with very little in the way of interest. Just my twopenn'orth, of course... ;)
    Bazarchie likes this.
  4. daft_biker

    daft_biker Action Man!

    I have 3 main approaches to a macro shot.... Available light, fill flash and full flash.

    Each requires a different technique and equipment (like a tripod and/or flash).

    Flowers and larger insects I would be more inclined to shoot with available light and with smaller insects I've got pretty much no chance of getting anything useful without flash.

    Just start somewhere then see what works for you.
    Bazarchie likes this.
  5. MJB

    MJB Well-Known Member

    I use available light where possible. When I have to resort to flash, I use a standard TTL speedlight, mounted on camera, with a 6"×4" soft box diffuser attached. It suffices for what I do, but I would describe my work as close-up rather than macro photography.
  6. daft_biker

    daft_biker Action Man!

    'cos it makes eyes look weird?


    I could do with raking out some of my favourite shots with ringflash as I just have 600px versions of a lot of my stuff. Or take some new ones but it is a bit miserable out today.

    What is probably more use is a shot more of us has the equipment to do well..... a tripod and a lens that can focus to about half lifesize should do but a high quality macro lens would be ideal.


    ....the subject matter should be fairly easy to find near ponds at this time of year and the real challenge is likely to be in getting it sharp where you want it and finding one that gets you a nice background or whatever else you are looking for in a shot.

    Mushrooms are also good practice targets for focus and DoF control as they tend not to move much.....very difficult to get nice light on them usually though.
    Bazarchie likes this.
  7. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    I treated myself to a Tokina Pro AT-X M100 2.8 lens recently. Still getting used to it but so far I am pleased. Slow AF, no IS but very sharp.

    Tried a few shots of fungus growing on a dead tree today using the camera's flash but it was raining and my dogs were showing too much interest and getting in the way. I will try my Speedlite next time with a few cheap Chinese diffuser that fits over the head of the flash.

    A friend's son has just been given a used Canon ring flash, one which has two flash heads. I will give this a try, cannot believe how expensive they are new.
    daft_biker likes this.
  8. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    If true macro starts where the subject size is the same as that of the sensor, then I will also be mainly close-up. Does it mean that shot of a butterfly can never be macro? I mean a whole butterfly with its wings open and all in focus.

    Doesn't matter to me.
    MJB and peterba like this.
  9. peterba

    peterba Well-Known Member

    That's the generally accepted definition, as I understand it.

    If using full-frame or smaller, in most cases that would be correct, since many (most?) butterflies would be larger than the sensor.

    Nor me...! ;):)
    MJB likes this.
  10. MJB

    MJB Well-Known Member

    I suppose it depends on how pedantic you wish to be about the definition of macro photography. Certainly now, I'm trying to include context with my butterfly shots rather than just the butterfly itself and wouldn't consider them true macro.
    peterba likes this.
  11. peterba

    peterba Well-Known Member

    In the spirit of pedantry... strictly speaking, it's photomacrography (rather than macro photography)...! :p:D

    Or photomicrography if mounting a camera on a microscope for magnifications of 40x - 500,000x...!! :eek:
    MJB likes this.
  12. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    And I thought I was pedantic!:)
    MJB and peterba like this.
  13. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    I'll stick to close-up photography with my macro lens!
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
    MJB likes this.
  14. Nikon_Peter

    Nikon_Peter Well-Known Member

    Future Publishing, who publish Digital Camera magazine, have a bookazine out called Teach Yourself Macro Photography priced at £14.99. Seen it in my local Tesco but not sure whether it's available from places like WHSmith etc. You can get it FROM THEM where it's priced at £17.99 which includes the shipping.

    I had a previous bookazine about Outdoor photography which was quite useful lots of ideas for personal assignments etc. plus detailed technique and gear information.
  15. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Trust nobody. Only your personal experience is worth anything. By all means use others' experience as a basis, but don't necessarily imagine it'll work for you.


  16. SXH

    SXH Well-Known Member

    Fairly sure I saw a copy or three in WHSmith today.

Share This Page