Monday, 11 July 2011

Photo Glossary - 10 - Macro Photography

Put simply macro is taking photos of very small things. True macro photography requires a magnification of 1x (or a ratio of 1:1), in other words you must be able to fill your entire photograph with something the same size as your camera’s sensor. In order to achieve this you need specialised equipment such as a dedicated macro lens for an SLR camera or a magnifying attachment for a compact.

This does not mean however that you need expensive kit if you want to take photographs of small things. Almost every compact camera will have a macro mode (normally represented by a flower) which allows your lens to focus closer than normal. It may not give you true 1:1 but it will definitely get you close enough to take some interesting shots. Just remember to turn the mode off before trying to take normal photographs again!

Macro photography has its own challenges. Because your subject is so close to the camera you will find that the photographs will have very shallow depth of field. The depth of field and proximity also mean that it is very susceptible to movement. Ideally you want to shoot with a small aperture and fast shutter speed, which means that you need a lot of light if you want the shot to be sharp and in focus. Alternatively you can use a tripod, which is cumbersome to move around (particularly when chasing bugs) but gives you a lot more control.

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