Macro Photography

When the topic of macro photography is raised people often think of close ups of small objects. That’s quite true but macro photography strictly speaking refers to creating images where the subject is @ 1:1 on the film or sensor and this requires specialised equipment to achieve. To do this a macro lens is most commonly employed although extension tubes or diopters can also be used as well with regular lenses. And these days most lenses say “macro” on them somewhere but this refers to their ability to focus up close, not to produce a 1:1 image.

The macro lens is typically a fast prime and a highly technical apparatus to use successfully. For a start depth of field is very shallow making a properly focused image had to achieve. Good light is required since as you adjust the lens to increase depth of field shutter speed is diminished and for small insects a high shutter speed is required. Overcoming these limitations requires a tripod and flash. Maybe a macro rail for micro adjustment of the camera position to compensate for shallow depth of field. And lots of patience.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

If you look at the images above you can see the dew drops on the basil flower and the bee has good detail. However when this image is reproduced @ 1:1 you can see clearly the detail of the bees eye. That’s a macro photo compared to a closeup.

More reading:

  1. Wikipedia on Macro Photography
  2. Macro for Beginners (3 part primer)
  3. More Macro Info
  4. Uber Macro Photography
  5. Macro images on the web