Macro photography: Tips and Tricks to Shooting the Finer Things in Life

September 19, 2016 3 min read

Macro photography is the art of taking close-up shots of tiny objects, so much so they appear larger than life. You’ve probably seen those close-up shots of an insect looking at the camera, but macro photography is so much more than that! More than any other type of photography, macro photography offers both the budding and professional photographer a challenge and lessons in patience and planning before taking that shot.
Want to try your hand at macro photography? Check out our tips below to making the best of your shot, no matter whether you’re using a smartphone or a SLR to take your photos.


Macro photography: the basics

Macro photography, unlike photographing street art, requires some planning and setup. It’s best used for extremely focused subjects, from the close-up of an insect on a flower, to a baby’s hand gripping a favourite toy, to highlighting your favourite part of that dish just arrived.
The good news is that with the advances of technology, it’s easier than ever to explore macro photography. You don’t need an expensive macro lens or a DSLR kit (though if you are planning to print the pictures they will help), as most flagship smartphones have both a good camera and macro modes to help you shoot. Many point-and-shoot cameras also now come equipped with a macro mode, with the photographer being required to only focus on the right subject.
Perhaps the most important thing to invest in for a budding macro photographer, no matter whether you’re using a smartphone or a camera, is a tripod. Steady hands are a must, and a tripod helps ensure your camera won’t move unintentionally when you take that shot. And yes, tripods exist for your smartphone too.


Macro photography: setting up

Practise, practise, practise is the golden word when it comes to macro photography. With either your smartphone or DSLR, practise switching to macro mode, finding your ideal shooting distance and getting into position. Learn how to pack your Pacsafe camera bag and practice removing the kit you’ll need to shoot. You know you’ve practiced enough when switching to macro mode becomes muscle memory.
Practicing, though is easy. Find a small object, such as a toy car, and place it on a table. Now focus on the toy car, and shoot! You’ll immediately notice how your subject, the toy car, becomes much sharper and the focus of your photo. If the background is unclear or blurry, that’s exactly what you want. If it’s not, take a look at your focus and your aperture (if you’re on manual mode) and adjust till you get the effect you want. Remember, you’re aiming to make the toy car your focus, not the background.


Macro photography: Identifying the opportunities

Truthfully, anything can be a macro photograph. It’s really up to you. That said though, macro photography is a great vehicle to tell stories with.
You can use macro photography to add context to your photos. For instance, you could take a macro photograph of the texture on a painted vase in Turkey. In the (blurry) background, you could have the city in the background, showing off the city’s spectacular night skyline. Or you could take a close-up of that beautiful flower you saw while hiking in the Colorado Mountains, fresh after the rain.
The possibilities are limitless, as is your imagination.

Macro photography: recommended reading

Before you start shooting macro photos, make sure you read these articles on getting the most out of your camera gear:
5 Tips on how to pack your Pacsafe Camera Bag
Low Light Photography – Tips and Tricks
How To Keep Your Camera Gear In Top Shape When Travelling

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