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The essentials of Macro photography.

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 2:36 AM


Hi, deviants! This week is Community week, and I am giving my best to introduce some essential tips concerning macro photography.


But first of all: What is macro photography?


Macro photography - what is it about? 
Wikipedia tells us things like "extreme close-up photography, usually of very small subjects, in which the size of the subject in the photograph is greater than life size" (Source: Wikipedia.org)
But is that really all that matters? It is a common fact that many people believe that macro photography is photography which refers to life size, which means 1:1. The object is the same size on your sensor/film it is in real life.

"Great thing, but I cannot start macro photography, since I do not have a macro lens."


That's what many people think. It is not the lens or the camera taking the pictures. Of course everything is made easier for us when we use a macro lens, but if you do not have any knowledge about your camera settings, then you will just take snapshots, even with the most expensive camera ever. If you do not know what I mean, then check out this journal, it will help you! 
How to improve your skills in close-up-photographySince many people asked me how I take my pictures and why they are so "special", I would like to tell you how I manage things when I take pictures.
I. Finding the location
When I go outside to take pictures of nature, I do barely have any concepts in my mind. I just go and let nature inspire me. The first important step is finding a location.It is not that difficult to find an interesting background. I personally do prefer backgrounds which are not monochrome. Many shades of light (light and dark contrasts or different colors) make your picture interesting, no matter if the final result will be monochrome or colorful in the end.I look out for locations where not many people are. Like a big meadow in front of a house or a field or forests. (Forests do have the special plus that it does almost always have different light shadings I mentioned in 2).
II. Know your possibilities!


You have found your favourite location? Great! Many people do the mistake to

Right. As I already said, it is not that difficult to take macro shots, or to come close the 1:1-ratio, even with a Kit lens!
You do not know how? Then listen to me, I will try to explain it to you.

Which equipment is absolutely necessary?

That's a fact many people ask me, actually. 
As I said, it is not the camera taking the pictures, and it is also not the lens. It is the photographer taking pictures, and that's why it is up to you how to take pictures! You may choose the angle, composition, etc.
So I would not say you need the newest Canon-Mark III or the Nikon D800 to take great pictures, the megapixel size of the sensor does also not count that much (almost always it is better to stick around 10MP, since there are not that many pixels on one millimeter, and the grain is reduced then). But what I would really recommend is a DSLR, because while a "normal" Digicam may have the best macro mode ever, it will never have the ability to create shallow depth of field, which is important for a "good" macro photo. (Which does not mean you cannot take great pictures with a point and shoot-camera, but I will continue with DSLRs now.)
You do not even need a macro lens for macro photography.
"Oh really??" will some people ask now. Yes, it is possible, and you can also take even higher scales (like 2:1 [the object is twice the size on your sensor as it is in real life) with you Kit lens, which is normally a 18-55mm lens. I do also own one, and I began my passion for macro photography with this Kit lens.
Of Endearment. by dragonfly-oli

Which equipment is optional?

I personally own a closeup-filter, which really helps me to get much closer to the object. But I will talk about that later.
Helpful are also extension tubes, which increase the focal distance of your lens. I never tried it, but many people told me it is a great alternative to a macro lens, too.
Optional is also an adapter for sticking your lens upside down towards the camera, which means: The electrical devices are pointing towards you then, not to the camera!

What are the techniques?

Yes, I used the plural, since there is more than one technique!
I will try to explain them to you in a short, but understandable way.

1. Reverse macro technique
This technique does not require any purchase of additional equipment, since you only need your kit lens, or any other lens, which can also have a wide angle (10-50mm). 
Step 1: Remove your lens from your camera.
Step 2: Turn it around 180°, so that the electrical devices turn towards you.
Step 3: you only need step 3 if you have a retro-adapter, which allows you to stick the lens reversed to your camera. If you do not have an adapter, skip to step 3a. Put on the reverse adapter to your lens (like a filter) and put it on your camera again. Tada, you have a selfmade macro lens!
Step 3a: If you do not have an adapter, do it like I do: Take your lens and hold it to your camera, which can be quite complicated. 
Since you cannot choose the settings to use, just do experiments. There is no general formula for doing this, but I am sure you will make it when you spend a little time on it.
Pictures taken with that technique:

Of Endearment. by dragonfly-oli  



2. Getting closer to the object with the help of Extension tubes ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extensio… )
These tubes allow you to get closer to the object, since their closest focussing distance is avoided here. The focal length of the lens is increased through the millimeters you win with them. You can go closer to the object and focus normally, like you did before.
How to use it: You put it behind your lens, between lens and camera.
Advantage: You get no loss of quality.
Disadvantage: Since the lens is "longer", the light needs more time to travel through it, which leads to a loss of light. Also, when you buy cheap ones, there are no electrical connections in it and you cannot choose aperture or shutter speed anymore.
I personally did never use any tubes, but maybe you prefer trying that method out.

Pictures taken with that technique:

little reminders by wolf-minori    Happiness by fruitpunch1



3. Getting closer to the object with the help of close-up-filters ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Close-up… )
This method allows you to lower your closest focussing distance by the use of a filter. You put it on in front of your lens. The Closeup-filter operates like a magnifying glass, depending on which dioptre you use. Be careful: You need to go much further to the object, which means that the depth of field gets really shallow.
Advantages: More light comes in, the pictures are brighter
Disadvantages: The image quality gets lost a bit if you do not buy expensive filters. 
Pictures taken with closeup-filters: 
Of happiness. by dragonfly-oli  The end of autumn. III by dragonfly-oli
50.52 - Little wonders. by dragonfly-oli 17.52 - Rest in peace. by dragonfly-oli Elements in heaven. by dragonfly-oli
When everything's quiet. by dragonfly-oli Leave me alone or.. by dragonfly-oli The jump. by dragonfly-oli

Finally, some tips for macro photography, and then I will come to an end.

Use composition rules like
DSC 9032 DxO raw1111mit111da by dragonfly-oli 
the rule of thirds

or

DSC 8088 DxOda by dragonfly-oli 
the golden ratio.



2. Avoid distracting objects in your picture, try to focus on only one object.
DSC 8964 DxO rawda by dragonfly-oli

3. The most important one: Take care of the focus. Some millimeters handshake may lead to unsharp pictures. I recommend a tripod or a really calm hand. :giggle:
Some DON'Ts:

DSC 9038 DxO rawda by dragonfly-oli 
the focus is behind the flake

DSC 9036 DxO rawda by dragonfly-oli 
focus behind the flake

4. Get close to your object. The closer you get, the more shallow will be your depth of field.

DSC 8972 DxO rawda by dragonfly-oli

My final snowflake-pictures:

Silence. by dragonfly-oli  50.52 - Little wonders. by dragonfly-oli



The last tip is very simple:

Shoot, shoot, shoot! ;)



I hope this tutorial helped you a bit. If you have got questions, just note me or write it in the comments!

I wish you a Merry Christmas! :love:






Macro photography tutorial - 23.12.2012
Add a Comment:
 
:icondragonfly-oli:
dragonfly-oli Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Oh, danke! Ich werde es ändern. :)
Reply
:iconrick-tinyworlds:
Rick-TinyWorlds Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2014   Photographer
Good tutorial for beginners with a nice, clean layout!
When clicking on a link (e.g. for the close-up filters) the closing bracket is included in the URL.
The URL then is en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Close-up…
instead of en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Close-up…
Reply
:icondragonfly-oli:
dragonfly-oli Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you! Close up filters are a cheap and great thing to learn macro photography, but I really prefer my macro lens now that I have one. :aww:
Reply
:iconastuephotography:
AstuePhotography Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Great tips! I've recently figured out you could reverse mount your lens and was ecstatic to learn I didn't have to go out and buy a macro lens just yet! I will be purchasing close-up filters soon and can't wait! Thanks!
Reply
:icondiavolinas:
diavolinas Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2013
pleasure :bounce: nice work
Reply
:icondragonfly-oli:
dragonfly-oli Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
You're welcome.
Reply
:icondiavolinas:
diavolinas Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2013
zhanks
Reply
:iconastrikos:
Astrikos Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013   General Artist
That's going to be awesome!
Reply
:icondragonfly-oli:
dragonfly-oli Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
I also cannot wait to buy my Tamron. :love:
Reply
:iconastrikos:
Astrikos Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2013   General Artist
:eager: Can't until May when I get it! :nuu:
I can't wait. :giggle:
Reply
:icondragonfly-oli:
dragonfly-oli Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
I'd love to see the pictures then :giggle:
Reply
:iconastrikos:
Astrikos Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2012   General Artist
Ooh that's cool :la:You're so amazing and awesome. And yeah I love nature :w00t: Can't wait to go to the nature reserve and take pictures :eager:
Reply
:icondragonfly-oli:
dragonfly-oli Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
:heart: You're welcome!
Reply
:iconlucilaleyla:
LUCILALEYLA Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you so much for sharing :heart:
Reply
:icondragonfly-oli:
dragonfly-oli Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Ich auch. :aww:
Reply
:iconabravewolf:
abravewolf Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2012  Professional Photographer
Yep. Specially the composition issues. That was the thing I was doing wrong :) Thanks
Reply
:iconneaffka:
Neaffka Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Tjaha Mütter eben! Aber sie kann so viel meckern und aufräumen wie sie will: Ich hab' sie trotzdem lieb :heart:
Reply
:icondragonfly-oli:
dragonfly-oli Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
HA! GENAU DAS kenn ich auch!! ;)
Reply
:iconneaffka:
Neaffka Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Haha meine Mutter auch nicht ... aber am schlimmsten ist es, wenn sie hinter mir herräumt und ICH dann nichts mehr finde :O_o: :D
Reply
:icondragonfly-oli:
dragonfly-oli Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Naja, in meinem Ordnungssystem finde ich immer alles wieder.. :D Aber meine Mama nicht. :D
Reply
:iconneaffka:
Neaffka Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Ehrlich? Ich nur manchmal bei der Ordnung meines Zimmers, aber auch da nie extrem ^^;
Reply
:icondragonfly-oli:
dragonfly-oli Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Na dann, ich bin nicht so die Managerin. :D Bin total unordentlich. :D
Reply
:icondragonfly-oli:
dragonfly-oli Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Did they help? :)
Reply
:iconabravewolf:
abravewolf Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012  Professional Photographer
Thanks for this excellent tips. Cheers :)
Reply
:iconneaffka:
Neaffka Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Wahrscheinlich etwas sehr spießiges: Anwältin oder was im Managment Bereich. Letzteres noch lieber, da ich dort landestechnisch flexibler bin ;)
Reply
:icondragonfly-oli:
dragonfly-oli Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Danke! ;)
Und was willst du so machen? ;)
Reply
:iconneaffka:
Neaffka Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Das ist doch voll gut! :wow: Drücke dir die Daumen! :aww:
Reply
:icondragonfly-oli:
dragonfly-oli Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Ja, ich hab momentan 1,5. Aber ich werds trotzdem versuchen, schaden kann es ja nicht.
Reply
:icondragonfly-oli:
dragonfly-oli Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you!
Reply
:iconpedroerodrigues:
PedroERodrigues Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
excelent tips... thanks!
Reply
:iconneaffka:
Neaffka Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Hm das hört sich aber nicht so gut an ... Jep, als Arzt muss man ein ziemlich gutes Abitur und sowas vorlegen können. Die können sich ihre Leute ja aussuchen :(
Reply
:icondragonfly-oli:
dragonfly-oli Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Ich möchte studieren, wenns geht Medizin.
Aber wenns um Jobs geht, will mich niemand haben, weil ich halt total den Stress hab mit Schule und so, da bin ich nicht flexibel genug..
Reply
:iconneaffka:
Neaffka Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Okay ja, 18 ist auch noch mal schwer! Willst du den studieren oder eine Ausbildung machen? :)
Reply
:icondragonfly-oli:
dragonfly-oli Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Ach, ich bin doch auch 18. :giggle: Und glaub mir, wenn du 18 bist, findest du lange keinen Job.. ^^; Das ist verdammt schwer.. :(

Ich dir auch!
Reply
:iconmalesx:
Malesx Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012
You wellcame my dear X3
Reply
:iconneaffka:
Neaffka Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh das mit dem Geld und sparen für Kamerasachen kenne ich! In meinem Alter ist das noch schwieriger als für die, die über 18 sind und ihr Geld schon selbst verdienen :saddummy:

Naja, ich wünsche dir übrigens schöne Weihnachtstage! :aww:
Reply
:icondragonfly-oli:
dragonfly-oli Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Sauber! :aww: Wenn ich erstmal mein Makro-Objektiv hab (ich spare wie ne dumme, aber ohne Job ist das schwer..) dann schieße ich auch was das Zeug hält!
Reply
:icondragonfly-oli:
dragonfly-oli Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you! ;)
Reply
:icondragonfly-oli:
dragonfly-oli Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Lovely! :aww: I hope it helped a bit.
Reply
:icondragonfly-oli:
dragonfly-oli Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you!
Reply
:iconmalesx:
Malesx Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012
So cool i love so much XD
Reply
:iconhikarilayla:
HikariLayla Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Great ^^ i will try...
Reply
:icondensity-tmr:
density-tmr Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2012
A good journal - well done
Reply
:icondragonfly-oli:
dragonfly-oli Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you. :)
Reply
:iconamethystcamera:
amethystcamera Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Super helpful! Thank you for taking the time to write this down!
Reply
:iconneaffka:
Neaffka Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Bestimmt! Ich habe heute von vielen Freunden, die auch Makro fotografieren, tolle Tipps bekommen. Auch das mit der softbox, was du auch schon angesprochen hattest. Da wird meine 600D nach den Festtagen erst mal bewusstlos geschossen! :D
Reply
:icondragonfly-oli:
dragonfly-oli Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
:giggle:
Reply
:iconurus-28:
Urus-28 Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well I take one every time it's possible :lol:
Reply
:icondragonfly-oli:
dragonfly-oli Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
:thumbsup: Die Ergebnisse werden sicher auf devART hochgeladen oder? ;)
Reply
:icondragonfly-oli:
dragonfly-oli Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
It's your decision. I took the D5000, and I am still happy to have it, although there are already two updated versions of it. :aww:

Same like me. :heart: yay!
Reply
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