Mike Moats reviews the basics of macro and close-up photography including favorite subjects, lenses and other gear, and tips to make your images unique.
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Basic Macro Photography with Mike Moats
“If you invest all of your time in one genre,
you become more proficient.”
- True MACRO is shot at a 1:1 ratio.
- Focus area of subject is only 1 7/8” x 1 3/8”
- Minimum focal distance is about 10” from camera sensor
- Shooting this close puts you INSIDE the subject.
- When you can’t see the whole subject, it becomes more abstract.
Technically refers to anything outside the 1:1 ratio.
- Find a subject that has character, a uniqueness that sets it apart from the rest.
- The same subject can become more diverse with a change in background and position.
- Macro is REALLY affected by wind. Shooting subjects on the ground helps to remove the wind problem.
- ALWAYS use a tripod. The shutter speeds you will be using are too slow to handhold.
- Using high f-stops (f/32 – f/54) allows for the whole subject to be crisply focused.
- Find a camera angle to increase the distance between the subject and the background for background blur.
- Using a diffuser helps to remove the sheen from leaves and petals and brings out more color. ALWAYS use a diffuser in bright sunlight to decrease shadows and produce soft, even light.
“Macro photography gives you access to unlimited subjects close to home.”
Lenses and Other Gear
- 60mm prime will focus 10” from subject.
- Longer lenses – 90mm, or telephoto macro 150-180-200mm give you more working distance from your subject.
- Macro-specific lenses are designed to focus in closer to the subject – giving the 1:1 range.
- Some zoom lenses have macro-capability of 1:4 or 1:7.
- Recommended: Tamron 90mm
- Tamron 18-400mm can focus on a 2” x 3” area
- Litra LED cubes can be used to balance light if needed.
- A standard lens with Extension Tubes can produce images just as well as a macro lens, but can be more of a hassle.
- Extension tubes allow flexibility within a certain range.
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