“Things are never the same, things are never dull, that’s if you Macro look at them”
Walking around your home while looking for something interesting to shoot, you will probably see the same old subjects without much inspiration for photography. Think again, this time perhaps give it a go by paying a little attention on the little details. Unless you have absolutely nothing at home, with only cement and bricks, you will realize that there are some amazing things that you can snap! That’s the beauty of macro photography.
Macro photography shows you a whole new world that you live in, letting you bring out the beauty of the tiny little things that have been around you all these while. Just by holding a macro lens and a decent DSLR camera, you do not need to travel to exotic places, paying for a beautiful model or even step out of your home if do not want to; those tiny things that does not scream for attention may just give you the inspiration you need.
Whilst the beautiful tiny things around do not scream for attention, you cannot get a good shot simply by pointing a macro lens at anywhere you like. It has to be filled with custom and passion, most importantly patience! But what you really need is just a couple of papers, maybe of different colours to make them as backgrounds, these tiny little things just need a little something on the background to make them standout. A tripod and perhaps a wifi remote shutter release may come in handy to avoid blurry photos.
Simply by starting out with taking macro shots, we guarantee that you will start to have an eye for subjects that have their very own hidden potential. Perhaps it is also safe to say you will start seeing the “silver lining” in your surroundings.
One of the many joys of macro photography is that you can make anything small, mundane, and dull to become a true work of art. Why do we say that? It is because all you need to do is get up close, use a shallow depth-of-field and you can make these tiny little things turn into something quite unrecognizable! And with a little simple lighting set up like a reflector or custom backdrop, you will be bringing out more colours and contrast! If you are not familiar with custom backdrops, no problem! One of the simplest ways is to create two light sources of different temperatures, set your custom white balance to one of the light sources, you are basically done! There, easy way to stunning colours and lightings effects.
Normally, professionals set their custom white balance to the light sources that is directed at the subject so to give the subject a more natural or “correct” colour but you can simply switch them just for the fun of it. Photography should be fun! Never ever let anyone tell you that there is a “correct” way, there isn’t one…it is all about what you like and creativity.
Now other than the lighting, the choice of surface is also another important to consider as well because more often than not, it will make a huge difference to your macro photo experience. Macro photography is about making small things big, so naturally, the surface will be macro-ed as well, so do keep that in mind. Give a shiny plastic [we tried with a Tupperware cover, worked like a charm to be honest] or a dimpled metal surface. Metal surfaces regardless smooth or rough, metal surfaces just give a very complex form of reflection that makes your subject look extremely different.
So the first question that will be coming into mind is how you set up for a macro studio set and some advice perhaps. Well despite telling you how easy it is, you will still need some guide to start off.
Macro Shooting Tip #1: Lighting
Once you have decided which surface and how you want your subject to be positioned, you start positioning your lighting, in this case a simple table lamp would do! If a table lamp is not what you are looking for then perhaps you can place your subject somewhere close to the window where you can use the natural light from outside. Not to forget your camera flash light.
Macro Shooting Tip #2: Next, Settings
Switch over to Manual mode of exposure with a custom white balance set to the one you are interested in doing at the moment alongside with your camera mounted on to a tripod. The best part about macro photography is to use manual focus, where you want to focus is really just at your finger tips. Set an aperture of f/5.6 and adjust your shutterspeed to an exposure just one step under the optimal then lock it! You’ll find it easier to shoot macro photographs with shallow depth of field with macro mode but just keep in mind to have hands steady enough to get sharp shots. Here’s an important top tip, if you are hand holding your camera while shooting, don’t be afraid to shoot at an ISO of 400 and above, a noisier but sharp image is better than a blurry one.
Macro Shooting Tip #3: A little flash
Using your externally mounted flash or built in flash will work just as good. Set the exposure compensation to maybe -1 or -2 to control a little the amount of flash light coming in. If you still think it is too harsh of lighting, you can soften it with a white cloth covering the flash bulb. You are good to go! However if you still prefer to have some flexibility for your flash lighting, you can always click here to buy Nissin flashes at a budget online. Nissin flashes are great alternatives to Canon and Nikon flashes.
Unlike seasonal countries, we have summer all year round so it is only natural to be heading outdoors to do something macro shooting! Though we have the sun all year, do not discount the hardness of the sun light, afternoon sun can really kill your photographs. The golden hours are the best! Now just look for a nice flower and have a brush with you. Brush? Yes, you’ll need it to brush off the dust on the surface of the flower or…. Spend hours cleaning it up later digitally on Photoshop. Your pick!
Now let us share with you a little gear advice so you can enjoy macro photography to the fullest without having to bust your monthly budget.
Gear Tip #1: Macro Lenses Aren’t That Expensive Anymore
A dedicated macro lens will always be a better choice over a standard derivative macro shot lens and the best part is that they are not as expensive as they once were with just a little over RM 1000 to get one. So if you are looking to test out macro photography at a budget, then you can simply click here to buy macro lenses online at a budget in Malaysia.
Gear Tip #2: Get Close Up Lenses
Close up lenses are perhaps the cheapest option you can get if you are not looking into buying a macro lens because the function of a close up lens is to allow you to get even closer to your subject than normal. If you already have a macro lens, these close up lenses will bring your distance a step closer too! Close up lenses come in a range of strengths, ranging from +1 to +3. The greater the strength, the closer you can get, plain and simple but normally we see the best results for +2 and +3 strength levels. Here’s something for you guys to know as well, close up lenses are also commonly known as diopter correction lenses. Click here if you want to buy cheap diopter / close up lenses online in Malaysia.
Gear Tip #3: Extension Tubes
Extension tubes are hollow tubes that fit between your camera lens with the camera body and usually come in 3 lengths. The longer the tube, the closer you can get to your subject and for extreme close ups you may need 2-3 extension tubes. Keep note to ensure your extension tubes have electronic contacts so that you can set in your metering modes.