Macro Photography

Macro Photography Lesson 3

Focus Tips For Macro Photography

In Macro Photography Lesson 2 we have learnt depth of field and understanding of shutter speed. So in this lesson we will learn about different types of focus techniques. Let’s start this lesson.
In high-magnification macro photography, the amount of your subject that is in focus won’t be more than a couple of millimeters, even at a crazy aperture like f/32. It can be tough to place the focus accurately on a bug, considering that your pulse alone probably makes your hands jump more than a couple millimeters. You will want to take your photos between breaths and heartbeats – seriously – or you may find it impossible to get anything in focus.

If you attempt to auto focus in 1:1 Magnification you may get blur image because of hand movements. Without tripod its difficult to deal with the static photo. I will give you some tips so that you can do Photography easily without any tripod.

The Simple Technique: Manual Focus

Manual Focus results in good macro pbotos. Since the auto focus in your camera is not fast enough to counteract the hand movement.

Sometimes manual focus is not realiable as we think because when you do macro photography with Manual focus and you Adjust Your focusing lens left or right, it may work good in non macro photography but in macro photography it will brings the shaking with the hand movement.

Instead, the best method is to keep your macro photography lens fixed at a certain magnification. Then, slowly rock the camera forward and backward – sometimes on a stick or monopod – millimeters at a time, while looking through the viewfinder. When the viewfinder image is sharp, take the photo.

Focusing Technique at Wider Magnification:

If you aren’t trying to magnify your subject as much as you want than manual focus will to be good at that time . If your subject is 4-5inch large than auto focus will result in good macro photo. I will recommend AF-C focusing mode because your hand will still movement and the auto focus will adjust it automatically for the best focus at this Magnification.

Align Your Macro Subject with the Depth of Field:

As i mentioned the depth of field is very important in macro photography. One way to make good depth of field is to align the macro subject with the depth of field.

In this photo the subject is aligned with the macro subject perfectly that’s why the photo is looking more good. Regardless the subject is in not 1:1 frame.
Sometimes you need to focus on the important part of bug , like eyes, wings. Eyes are very effective & important part of a bug , so Focus on that part where you can get full depth of field. In flies the Focusing part for depth of field is wings. For certain subject you might care about wings.

Step-by-Step Method of Taking Macro Photographs

One of the best ways to get good at macro photography, or any genre of photography, is to know the exact steps that you need to accomplish, even before you take a picture. In macro photography, a possible set of steps looks like this, if you are trying to take high magnification close-up pictures with a flash as your main source of light:

  1. Buy a monopod or find a stick.
  2. Get a strong flash, and use a diffuser to soften the light. If you don’t have a diffuser, the best solution is often to make one yourself. Experiment with cardboard, tin foil, tape, and paper towels (no joke). Also, check out our comprehensive tutorial on macro photography lighting.
  3. Put a macro lens on your camera and set it to manual focus at your intended magnification.
  4. Pick the correct exposure settings so that you capture the enough light. If the flash is your main source of light, and you’re shooting at 1:1 magnification, it is a good idea to use the fastest shutter speed that still syncs with your flash (typically 1/200 or 1/250 second). Use an aperture from f/16 to f/22.
  5. Set your ISO to whatever value gives an accurate exposure of a leaf when the flash fires in manual mode at roughly 1/4 power. That sounds extremely arbitrary, and it is, but it works well. The simple reason? You’ll want the brightest possible flash to help gather light, but if your flash is much brighter than 1/4 power, it typically will take too long to recharge between exposures. Hence, pick an ISO that results in a flash of 1/4 power most of the time.
  6. Switch the flash to TTL (automatic) mode. However, even though it’s in automatic mode, you know it will tend to hover around 1/4 power, thanks to step 5!
  7. To get an accurate exposure, you will need to adjust your flash exposure compensation, potentially by as much as a few stops. It is not uncommon to have flash compensation in macro photography that is something like +2 or even +3.
  8. At this point, the only “automatic” setting you’re using is auto flash, which will adjust itself depending upon the reflectiveness of your subject. All your other settings – aperture, shutter speed, and ISO – will stay constant. Don’t worry about changing them.
  9. Put your camera on a monopod or a stick, assuming that it doesn’t interfere with reaching your subject at the right height.
  10. Find a bug that lands long enough for you to photograph it – hopefully, one that is the size of a housefly or larger.
  11. Focus (using the manual focus technique covered earlier in this tutorial), and take the picture!
  12. Watch out for dust spots in the editing stage, and you’re done.

Next up is Composition , so stay tuned for the Lesson 4

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