A General Look at Macro Photography

If there were one type of digital photography that has a great deal more drama than any other, it would certainly be macro photography. This method of taking pictures at very close angles has many advantages. Not only will you be able to take amazing and dramatic images, but you will also find that there are opportunities for macro photography everywhere and at any time of the year. Macro photography is different from any other type of digital photography, though, so you will need to learn more about it before you can get started.

Understanding the Phrasing

When you start delving into the world of microphotography, one of the things that you will find is that there is a whole new set of phrasing and terminology that goes along with this type of imaging. Some of the phrases can be quite confusing, and some of the phrases do not get used in the proper manner. It is important to clarify these things so that you can understand the actual details of macro photography. To get you started, here is an overview of the different phrases you may hear and what they actually mean. This is a good way to get started with macro digital photography.

macro photography
Dandelion Closeup Denise

Macro photography – this refers to a method of getting extremely close to an object to the point that the original object is no longer discernible and instead, you are able to see textures and tiny details for a dramatic image.

Micro photography – this actually has nothing to do with close up photography, but instead refers to the type of photography that is recorded on microfilm.
Photomicrography – another term often mistakenly used in reference to macro photography. Photomicrography actually refers to a very specific type of photography that is taken through the view of a microscope.

Magnification – unlike standard digital photography, macro photography does not so much depend on zoom as it does on magnification. A macro lens or adaptor will actually magnify the subject to get the extremely close images.

Focal Length – This refers to the length of distance between your camera and the subject of the macro digital photography. Focal length comes into play when you are working to create a life sized image or you are trying to completely fill the frame with the subject.

Perspective – As you already know, perspective can change a great deal when you make use of a wide angle lens. This can be put to use very well with macro photography. When you make use of a wide angle lens when photographing in macro, you will end up with a perspective that slightly distorts the subject but that does so in a pleasing way.

Depth of Field – When you work with depth of field, you will be able to give your subjects a three dimensional look that is considered very sought after in the digital photography world. This can be harder to achieve in macro photography. This is simply due to the fact that as you get closer to a subject, the image becomes more flat. In order to keep depth of field in the image, you will need to start working with very small apertures. If you really want to work on keeping depth of field, then you will want to consider a lens that allows high f/stops. You will find that when you are taking extremely close images, you will need to consider f/stops as high as f/32. You can also gain more depth of field for a macro image by changing your angle for the camera. You may need to experiment with different camera angles in order to gain the right depth of field for your image.

macro photography
Macro screw Tiago Pinheiro

The Lens: Do You Really Need Macro Specific?

Since you are already well involved in digital photography, you already know that lenses are not cheap. In fact, the lenses often will cost you much more than the camera body itself did. However, the right lenses are definitely needed when you want to get the best shots. With that in mind, you must be wondering, do you need to spend all of that money to purchase a lens designed specifically for macro photography? Alternatively, can you use one of your general purpose lenses? This is a good question and it is one that you will want to consider very carefully. Here are the pros and cons of each option.

The General Lens
The Pros: Of course, you will already have this lens so you will not have to spend more money. Additionally, a general lens can be much more versatile. This way, if you are photographing something else and you come across a macro opportunity, you will not have to spend time switching out the lenses.

The Cons: There are cons to choosing a general lens. It may not be capable of always achieving the right focus for true macro photography. For that reason, you may have to spend more time editing and cropping your images for the right macro look. Sometimes, general lenses require that you get so close to the subject that your lighting is ruined as well.

The Macro Lens
The Pros: The pros to choosing a specific macro lens are quite obvious. You will have a lens with the perfect focal length and the perfect aperture abilities to take true macro images no matter the situation.

The Cons: The main problem with the macro lens is that it can be quite costly. In fact, it is one of the more expensive lenses on the digital photography market. However, if you plan on doing a great deal of macro photography, it will be well worth the cost.

Macro photography is certainly a fun type of digital photography to pursue. You will find that everything around you lends itself to macro and you will find yourself photographing the most unlikely subjects for dramatic images. Understanding terminology for macro photography and understanding the difference between lenses will definitely help you get started.

Top feature image by patrickiven

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