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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Art Of Small


When, where and how to shoot better macro images




This Article Features Photo Zoom

On dewy mornings, dragonflies hold still for photos because of the weight of the dew on their wings.
Fuji S3 Pro, Tamron SP AF180mm F/3.5 Di 1:1 Macro at ƒ/5.6
The long-range telephoto macro lenses, at 150mm, 180mm and 200mm, are your best bet when you need extra working distance between you and your subject. These longer focal lengths also blur backgrounds better than the shorter focal lengths, which is a desirable look for flower and insect images.

I recommend that you use a good sturdy tripod and a ballhead under your camera as much as possible. With high magnification, you need to have a solid foundation and steady camera to help produce sharp images. If you like to shoot handholding your camera, you need a fast shutter speed to stop any slight camera movement or use a flash system.

I use a simple style of shooting that’s easy to learn. Most macro photographers struggle with depth of field, so I’ve learned to gear my compositions to the ƒ-stops. I work both ends of the range of depth of field. I’m either shooting at the highest ƒ-stop numbers or the lowest. With the higher ƒ-stops, I’m getting maximum depth and everything in focus. At the lower ranges, I’m limiting the depth with less of the image in focus.

When I’m in the mood to shoot images with a soft, abstract look or the typical flower shots with a soft, blurred background, I shoot in the ƒ/2.8 to ƒ/8 range. With this style, being aware of the backgrounds is important, and finding the angle with the least-distracting background can help you succeed.

There are many ƒ-stop settings in between wide open and closed down that produce various amounts of focus in the image. Practice shooting an image with all the different ƒ-stop numbers to get a feel for how the depth of field works. If you get confused with the ƒ-stop numbers, try to remember that the bigger the number, the bigger the amount of focus, and the smaller the number, the smaller the amount of focus. To change your ƒ-stop, set your camera to manual mode or aperture priority. The depth of field is important, and you need to have control over setting the depth of field, depending on the style of image you’re shooting.

You can see more of Mike Moats’ macro photography at his website, www.tinylandscapes.com.

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