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I don’t claim to be an expert in macro photography. But it is definitely one of my favorite genre’s of photography. It’s very soothing and relaxing. I also love the beauty of nature and I love capturing that. I am that crazy person that is always outside scouting out beauty in my own backyard. I am that lady that asks for flowers when someone asks me what gift they should get me. And I am that lady that steals your flowers (sorry mom!). But I don’t only find beauty in flowers. I love buds, grass, leaves, anything nature. Just give me my camera, macro lens, and nature and I’m good to go.
This is one of my MOST seen posts! Thank you for the support! I am working on updating it a little more to add in even more information for you to use. Here are some other blog posts you might be interested in about macro photography:
FREE Macro Photography E-Book
So first and most important is your equipment. Sure, you can take pictures of nature with a normal 50mm 1.8. But you won’t be able to get that detail and that texture you so crave with just a simple lens. You’ll need a macro lens. The one I have is an older version, Nikon 105mm 2.8, it doesn’t have the nice vibration reduction (VR) like the newer lenses have. I will one day upgrade to a lens that does have VR. I’ve heard that they are so much easier and nicer to use.
Now, if you’re not sure you’ll like macro photography (like me) and don’t want to spend a ton of money on a macro lens only to find out you really don’t like it, I would suggest buying macro extensions first. I bought them first and decided, yes, I really do enjoy macro photography and then moved on to buy my Nikon 105mm 2.8 lens. I will point out that macro extensions do not work as well as macro lenses. They don’t get you the clarity a macro lens would. But they do allow you to see if you really want to splurge on a macro lens.
not sure what lenses to use? check out my Macro Photography: What Lenses to Use post
1. don’t be afraid to change your aperture
I’ll be first to admit that I love wide open images. Even in macro photography. But just like in your normal everyday photography, I would suggest experimenting with different apertures. The image above is shot at an f stop of 8. That is quite a bit higher than what I would normally do. But as you can see, since it’s a macro lens and the compression is greater than a normal lens, the background is still blurry. Experiment and see what type of aperture you like best. I do a variety of apertures to get different effects. If you have a wider aperture (lower f stop number) you’ll come to find it a little challenging to get what you want in focus, but it can create a beautiful effect that I sometimes go for.
I also don’t always use my macro lens for my macro work. I use all of my other lens to get some ‘nature’ images! You can work with what you have. Check out what I think the best macro lenses to use are.
2. add water droplets
I have a spray bottle that my husband got me as a gift (us photographers ask for the weirdest things!). And I love using it for my macro photography. It’s pretty self explanatory, but I’ll lay it out for you. I simply use my spray bottle to spray the plants I want to photograph. Sometimes I add very little water and other times I add A LOT! It depends on the look I am going for.
I also love to go on a walk after it rains. The rain adds water to plants in such a delicate way. Or you could go for a walk early in the morning right after the dew hits. There are a couple of options in adding water droplets to your macro work. And the water droplets add interest and depth to your macro work.
3. use a third hand
If you don’t have one already, I highly recommend going out and buying a third hand. I use it when I get flowers and for when I just want to isolate one flower. It is so great. Plus you can move your flower to any background you want, it doesn’t have to be the bouquet of flowers that came with it. Like the image above, I used a third hand to isolate the flower and get it with a plain background to really exaggerate the flower and water droplets.
I even wrote a blog post about why you should use a third hand when shooting photography. These little devices are so cheap yet so useful! I really highly recommend you getting one!
Macro photography, once you start, is very addicting. It’s one of my favorites things to photograph. So, I dare you to start. You’ll be forever grateful that you found such a beautiful genre of photography.