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What is Macro Photography?

Spider on a web - example of focus stacking
Bee on a sunflower, example of macro photography
Example of macro photograph, available for purchase at https://www.WaltPayne.Photography

What is macro photography?

Technically, the term macro photography refers to images where the subject is captured as a life-sized image or has a 1:1 magnification. Most people refer to any close-up image as a macro. Macro photography is most popular with insects and flowers but is also used in many other 



Is macro photography difficult?

Macro photography is one of the more complex genres of photography to master. You have to deal with issues such as motion blur, depth of field, and often skittish subjects. Even inanimate objects like flowers can move around in a breeze, making macro photography more complex at times.


Can a macro lens be used for other types of photography?

Sometimes macro lenses are the best lenses available for other types of photography. This is especially true because most macro lenses are prime lenses and are incredibly high quality. Portrait photographers often use macro lenses to get less depth of field and therefore focus 

attention on the subject. 


As a landscape photographer, I love using my 50 mm and 100 mm macro lenses for landscape images because of the quality of the lens elements. These prime lenses are also great focal lengths for many situations when shooting landscapes.


What focal lengths are used for macro photography?

The most common focal length lenses used in macro photography are 35mm, 50mm, 80mm, 100mm, and 180 mm. There is no reason to not use other applicable focal lengths, but those are the ones most in demand because of versatility, size, and price. If you are thinking of purchasing a 

macro lens to shoot insect pictures, consider that insects can sometimes be very aware of our presence. Having a longer focal length will help avoid scaring them away.


Can any lens be used for macro photography?

The short answer is yes …. but. You can use any lens for macro photography, but a non-macro lens requires a reverse mount ring or macro extension tube(s). Using these rings can complicate focusing and adjusting other settings and is not recommended for beginners. There are

 also lenses designed to attach to the front of standard lenses, allowing them to focus closer. Macro extension tubes, hollow tubes that move the lens elements farther from the camera sensor, enable the camera to focus at a closer distance. The cheaper ones do not connect your lens electronically to the camera and are, therefore, very difficult to master.


Do I need a flash for macro photography?

It can sometimes take work to get adequate light on the subject of macro photography. Depending on the lens(es) you are using and what your subject matter is, you may need a flash, or it may not be necessary. If you need a flash, you should get one specifically designed for macro 

photography. That is because you are a lot closer than the distances that a standard flash is designed for.


How do I focus properly on living macro photography subjects?

Auto-focus does not work well for living macro subjects, such as insects or inanimate objects moving due to wind. The best way to focus on a macro subject is to use manual focus and then get the subject in perfect focus and continue slightly past that point. Then make very minute 

adjustments until you get the image in focus again. Do not keep adjusting the focus back and forth. That is because of a quality of your brain that will start compensating for improper focus, which will trick you into thinking you have got it right.


After you get the focus right, you will still need to make minor adjustments if the subject is moving. Many photographers find it best to make those adjustments by making slight changes in their body position rather than adjusting the focus ring.





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