Macro Photography by Tracie Kaska (Guest post)

Macro Photography – What Is It?

What is macro photography? It is close-up photography that produces a digital or film image that is life size or larger than life. With this type of photography you can see texture and detail that the human eye cannot easily detect.

I have been fascinated by this type of photography for as long as I’ve had a camera, so you can imagine my excitement when I recently got my first macro lens. When I first attached it to my camera I expected to go out immediately and take amazing pictures that would wow anyone who saw them. Well, guess what? Macro photography is not as easy as it looks. Macro lenses have a very shallow depth of field, so even the slightest movement can completely throw your focus off. Trust me—I have hundreds of blurry photos to prove it!

So what can you do to improve your chances of getting a decent shot? Here are a few tips that I have found helpful:

1)  If you have one, use a tripod! (I had a choice between getting a tripod or a macro lens and I opted for the lens, not realizing just how important a tripod would be to this kind of photography).

2)  If you don’t have one, all is not lost. Learn to rest your lens in your hand and rest your elbow on a nearby object. Hold your lens firmly, but don’t grip it too hard—your camera will feel the vibrations your tightened muscles make even if you can’t feel it yourself.

3)  Hold your breath. Breathe in, get your focus, and click. There is a word of warning in using this technique, however. If you take to many shots in a row, holding your breath every time, you will make yourself very lightheaded. Take a moment to breathe normally between shots.

4)  Since macro lenses have such a shallow depth-of-field you can increase your shutter speed and still have a nicely blurred background. If the light is good enough, I like to use 1/100th of a second or faster.

5)  Don’t get overly close to your subject. Getting too close to your subject will often cause the foreground to blur. In a landscape photograph this can be fine, even desired, but when you are doing close-ups, your foreground is generally part of the subject you are trying to capture. If you want a tighter shot, it is better to do a little cropping in your photo editing program that to another photo to clutter your recycle bin.

6)  And lastly, if your subject is flat enough and you want the whole thing in focus, make sure your lens is parallel to your subject.

There is much more to mastering the art of macro photography, but these tips are some that I’ve picked up through trial and error. The very best advice I can give is: Practice! Get your camera out every day and just keep snapping. Before you know it, you’ll have a portfolio you’ll be excited to share with others.

Follow Tracie with her challenging a photo a day:

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Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/photographytkdesigns

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/Photography_TK

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