Macro Photography Tutorial – Part 1 Introduction to macro photography
This is the first episode of a video series on Macro Photography. It takes you through various type of Macro Photography and typical challenges faced during Macro Photography.]
What is Macro Photography?
Macro Photography refers to being able to focus on a subject that are very close to the lens. The physical proximity between the subject and the camera results in magnification.
In technical terms, if an image of a subject on the sensor is exactly the same size as the subject itself, then the ratio of magnification is 1:1. A true “Macro” photograph renders an image on the sensor at life-size (that is 1:1 magnification) or larger than the actual subject.
In practice, the “measurement” of magnification really does not matter. What matters is if you are able to capture great details of a tiny subject while keeping and interest of the viewer.
Different types of of Macro Photography?
There are different styles of macro photography based on the level of magnification include
- true macro,
- wide angle macro
- micrograph (also known as photomicrograph)
Key Challenges in Macro Photography?
Below is the list of various challenges that keep Macro Photography away from most people.
- First is Achieving Magnification and most people give-up at the first step itself. There are plenty of dedicated macro lenses to choose from, but all of them are expensive.
- In Macro, the “Depth of Field” (Focus Range) is Razor Thin and DoF becomes thinner with increase in magnification.
- Focusing is a Nightmare. Most macro lenses have auto-focus, but as you get into the realm of 1:1 macro and beyond, that auto-focus is of no use. You have to turn it off and start using your body and your breath to get perfect focus.
- Natural light is never enough. We know there are many photographers who use only the natural light, but then good luck with fast moving insects. Insects are mostly still during early morning hours or late in the evening when the light is low. Also at high magnification and at small aperture (that is larger f number on your camera) needed for macro even mid day light is not enough.
- You can counter the light problem by using a tripod, but then how would you reach the insects under the leaves or in hard to reach areas? And of course they are moving, so by the time you setup your tripod, they are long gone. We have found using Tripod is very clumsy, especially for insects and practically 100% of our shots are taken without the use of tripod, even the stacking ones.
- Working Distance play a key role in Macro. You would like to get closer but you should not have to practically touch the subject to get higher magnification. Different equipment’s offer different working distance.
- When you use “alternate” equipment’s like Adaptors, Converters, Reverse Ring, they all create Light loss which needs to be compensated.
- Learning Curve: Your “keepers” would be way too small compared to other types of photography when you start for the first time. Image is lost if focus moves just by 1 millimeter. It’s the difference between getting the eye in perfect focus and getting absolutely nothing in focus and you have a blurry mess on your hand.
- Lastly the subjects are everywhere, but it takes time to develop an eye.
You can take a look at Yogendra’s work in Macro here: http://www.yogendraphotography.com/