Macro Photography Tips - Digital Photography Reviews and Digital Photography Tips for Beginners

Learn The Top 10 Macro Photography Tips for Beginners

The Top 10 Macro Photography Tips for Beginners

Learn Meta’s Top 10 Macro Photography Tips and Close-Up Photography Tips for Beginners.

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Macro Photography Tips - The Top 10 Macro Photography Tips
The Top 10 Macro Photography Tips

Learn The 10 Macro Photography Tips and Close-Up Photography Tips

For shooting Macro Photography and Close-Up Photography, Meta uses one of the two Special Sony Macro Lenses, the Sony 100mm f/2.8 Macro Lens or the Sony 50mm f/2.8 Macro Lens. You can also add Kenko Extension Tubes (Set of 3 Extension Tubes) to the 100mm Macro Lens for extra zoom and to reduce the distance to the subject. The 12mm Kenko Extension Tubes works best with the Sony 100mm f/2.8 Macro Lens. Kenko Extension Tubes DO NOT work with the Sony 50mm f/2.8 Macro Lens, as it is already close enough to the macro subject.

Listed below are Meta’s Top 10 Macro Photography Tips and Close-Up Photography Tips for Beginners.

1) Get the Widest Depth of Field – When using a Tripod, use a Smaller Aperture such as f/11 to f/16 to get the Widest Depth of Field. Use the Camera’s Live View Display Button to show the Depth of Field and Exposure level. Smaller apertures of f/11 to f/16 work the best for Macro Photography and Close-Up Photography. When shooting in RAW, use Cloudy White Balance, and Watch Your Histogram for overclipping of the whites.

Avoid using the Camera’s built in SCN – Macro Mode, if you are using either of the Special Sony Macro Lenses. This defaults to f/4.0 (Resulting in a Very Shallow of Depth of Field). This mode is NOT designed to be used with the Special Sony Macro Lenses.

2) Hand Held Shutter Speed – Use a Shutter Speed of 1/125th for 50mm (Sony 50mm f/2.8 Macro Lens) or 1/250th for 100mm (Sony 100mm f/2.8 Macro Lens). The General Rule of Thumb for Hand Held Photography is – Shutter Speed 2.5 x Lens Size. Double this speed if you are shooting Flying Insects.

3) Start at ISO 50 – ONLY increase your ISO as a Last Resort, because Higher ISO = Higher Noise. When using a Low ISO, Add More Light (LED Flashlight, Sony HVL-F43M Flash / Popup Flash or Ring Light), Slow down your Shutter Speed (Use a Tripod) or Opening up your Aperture (Reduces Depth of Field and Blurs Background), before increasing your ISO. The Sony a77 II Camera shoots very well with low noise at ISO 1600.

4) Add More Light – Use a Ring Light, Sony HVL-F43M Flash / Popup Flash or Zoomable LED Flashlight. Extra light allows for a lower ISO for Low Noise and lets you use a smaller Aperture for a Wider Depth of Field.

5) Set your Aperture Based on your Background – If your background is very busy, you might want to select a wider Aperture like f/4.0, which will blur the background. If the size of your Macro Subject is large, you might want to select a smaller Aperture like f/16, which will give you a Wider Depth of Field and keep most of your subject in focus.

6) Always Use Manual Focus – Turn on the Peaking Level and Peaking Color to assist in easier Manual Focusing. Breathing out when shooting will help with Shooting in Manual Focus Mode!

MENU –> Gear 2 –> Peaking Level –> Low or Middle
MENU –> Gear 2 –> Peaking Color –> Yellow

7) Frame Each Shot Carefully – This is the difference between a great shot and one that gets deleted. Remember to take both Landscape and Portrait modes for each shot. Try to adjust the camera lens to be parallel with the subject for maximum Depth of Field, across the entire subject. Try to include some of the background foliage, or to achieve a neutral background, hold a small piece of Black Felt or White Felt behind the subject.

8) Use a Monopod – Make slight backward and forward focus movements to get the subject into sharp focus. This works a lot better than carrying a heavy Tripod, especially when hiking.

9) Use a Reflector as a Wind Block – Even the slightest wind movement of the tiny macro subject will be very difficult to capture in sharp focus.

10) Take Lots of Photos – Film is Cheap! Try many different angles, planes and distances, both landscape and portrait mode, because the number of good macro photos will be fairly small! Use the larger size SanDisk Extreme Pro 128GB SD Cards to capture lots of photographs. For the Fastest Write Times with no Buffer Lockup, especially when shooting at 12 frames per second, use only the Fastest SD Cards – Not the cheaper and slower “Drug Store Brands”.

Macro Photography Camera Settings

Macro Photography Tips - My Camera Setup for Macro Photography
Meta’s Camera Setup

Meta’s Camera Settings for Macro Photography and Close-Up Photography

Camera: Sony a77 II Camera.
Flashes: Polaroid LED Ring Light or Sony HVL-F43M Flash. (Tilted down 8°)
Flash Power Ratio: Full Power.
Shooting Distance to Subject: 10 – 20 cm.
Lens: Sony 100mm f/2.8 Macro Lens.
Camera Mode: Manual Mode (M).
ISO: Start at ISO 50
White Balance: Manual White Balance
Shutter Speed: 1/250th to 1/500th of a second.
Aperture: f/8 to f/18.

When shooting Macro Photography and Close-Up Photography, she always use her Monopod. Meta shoots in Manual (M) Mode, starting at ISO 50. A Good Rule of Thumb is to set the Shutter Speed to 2.5x the Lens Size, or a minimum of 1/250th of a second for the Sony 100mm f/2.8 Macro Lens. When shooting Bees and Flying Insects, bump the shutter speed up to 1/500th or 1/1000th of a second, so that it can freeze the wings. Depending on the background and size of the subject, set the Aperture open for a more blurred background around f/4.0, or Aperture close for a wider depth of field around f/18. If extra light is needed on the Macro Subject, which is often the case when shooting in the woods, use the Polaroid LED Ring Light or Sony HVL-F43M Flash with the built in Video Light. For Quick Spots, a Zoomable LED Flashlight does the trick.

How to Compose Better Macro Photography and Close-Up Photography

The Fibonacci Spiral


The Fibonacci Sequence

In the 12th Century, mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci, devised a Series of Numbers (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89...) that will produce an aesthetically pleasing composition known as “The Fibonacci Spiral”. This interesting mathematical curve is found in nature in spiral sea shells. You can also find this Spiral in many classical designs, like the top curve of the green glass bankers desk lamp. No wonder it’s still a classic shape today!

The Fibonacci Spiral” happens to work very well when Composing Macro Photography and Close-Up Photography! It’s fairly close (38% / 62%) to the “Rule of Thirds”, which is used in most Photography Composition. You can also think of this as the shape of a Single Smart Quotation Mark. Click on the “The Fibonacci Spiral” to download Meta’s EPS file to print!

TipPrint “The Fibonacci Spiral” on a transparent overhead foil, so you can hold it up over your subject, to help compose your photographs. The print includes a larger and many smaller versions, that you can cut out and overlay on the LCD Screen on the back of your Sony a77 II Camera.

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Photos By Meta - Meta Gatschenberger Photographer Blowing Rock NC

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