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7 Useful Macro Photography Tips

Answers by CanvasPop is a weekly blog series featuring responses to your printing, photography or art questions. Check back on Fridays for more content! Have a question? Let us know at answers@canvaspop.com.

As promised in our post from last week, we’re continuing with some suggestions for interesting photography ideas. This week we wanted to feature some great tips on how to perfect your macro technique! Macro photography refers to taking a photograph of smaller subjects, at a very close range. We love this technique as it’s always fascinating to see those smaller details, you may not always notice in day to day life. In terms of subjects — flowers, insects, foliage, and animals are always a great place to start.  These types of photos always make for beautiful canvas prints! Here are some fantastic tips we found via Picture Correct:

SWITCH ON MACRO MODE
This may seem a no-brainer, but many a beginner has been frustrated by the salesman’s claims about macro,  just because they don’t read the manual. This is usually represented by a small flower on the settings dial, but make sure you know where it is on your individual camera. This setting allows you to bring the camera lens closer to the subject.

USE A TRIPOD
Although some say a tripod can be useful, I think that it is essential for any form of close-up or macro photography. It will help limit any form of user induced vibration which will give a sharper image. Camera shake is more noticeable the closer you get to the subject. Getting the best should be your priority so a good tripod is key.

USE FLASH
It’s not always necessary to use flash but often it is essential as shadows are a macro photographers enemy. Try shooting where possible in bright available light and if necessary use some form of reflector, to fill the shadow. This can be the white back cover of your camera manual or a proper reflector from a photo shop. It would be ideal if your camera gave you control of the flash, but if it doesn’t use a piece of tracing paper and tape it over the flash to diffuse the harsh strobe light.

FOCUSING
The ability to focus manually is a big bonus when shooting macro. Because you are working with such limited depth of focus you need to be able to determine what you want in focus. Allowing the camera to choose by auto focusing will interfere with where you want to focus. So set it manual focus and focus on the part of the subject you want in sharp focus.

APERTURE
The ability to set your aperture manually is a big advantage as this allows you to control the depth of focus mentioned in point four. The technical term for this is depth of field and it determines how much of your image is in focus in front of the subject. Some cameras won’t allow changing the aperture once the setting has been changed to macro mode. If you can change the aperture you’ll probably use a large aperture in order to blur out the background which is very effective for close-ups.

COMPOSITION
Don’t forget the rules of good composition like the rule of thirds. Placing your subject and making it the focal point are essential to good macro photos. Often when people shoot close-up, composition goes out the window because they are so focused on the detail.

SELF-TIMER
The use of your camera’s self-timer is essential in limiting camera shake and vibration when pressing the shutter button. This is basically a delayed shutter release allowing vibrations to subside before the photo is taken. Check out your manual to see how it works on your particular brand of camera.

Photo credit: Steve Wall via Flickr