Early in my artistic journey, macro photography beckoned.
The sharp focus of a water droplet on a flower petal is dramatic and beautiful. There’s something fascinating about the ordinary, something that draws you in to the very simplicity of the subject. Close-up images are compelling, even magical. With all the chaos and hubbub of everyday life, seeing something so simple and plain can be a breath of fresh air. It can help you appreciate what life has in store and allow you to stop, ground yourself, and get ready to jump back into the chaos once again!
Viewing the world up close through macro photography has become a prominent feature in my work. This intimate point of view dramatizes the fragility of life and lets me live in the moment, allowing me to find the visual message in simple, everyday objects and events. It is a way of seeing the ordinary as the extraordinary that I find myself falling deeper in love with every day.
If you feel macro photography calling to you, here are some of my tried and true tips for achieving close-up images.
Observe small details throughout your day. A fabulous macro shot isn’t “big picture,” it is discovered in the tiny details. The handle of a teacup could be more interesting than the entire cup.
Simple backgrounds work best. The backdrop shouldn’t compete with the subject. A solid-colored wall, piece of white foam board, or piece of fabric can function as a lovely background.
Isolating the subject can create drama. This might be as simple as moving the subject away from a distracting background. Changing the position of your camera equipment or zooming closer can frame a perfect shot. Only include things that add value to the image.
Press the shutter halfway down to focus and all the way down to capture the subject in your image.
Get very close (1-2 inches) to the subject.
Backlight (sunlight) can help capture extra details. The source of light shines directly into the camera lens in this technique.
You don’t need to go far to find interesting things to shoot with your macro lens. Head to your own backyard or a local park. It is constantly changing with the seasons.
Most DSLR cameras accommodate switching lenses. Look for the “flower” icon which usually indicates the macro setting. Since I am a Nikon user, my favorite lens has always been the Nikkor 60mm 2.8 macro lens which allows for crisp focus and a dreamy blurred background. This lens is a perfect choice for low-light situations, especially indoors.
Switch it up! Ask yourself, “How can I make this shot different?” Changing perspective can create stunning results.
Practice, practice, practice. I suspect the hours of practice I have with my macro lens is a huge factor with how successful I have been at shooting my photos!
Each time my macro lens and I romance everyday life, I fall in love with macro photography again. Take the ordinary and turn it into something amazing with the guidance of a macro lens by your side.
Diana Foster, owner of The Studio 56, is a lifestyle photographer and photo card designer. She is wife to one, mother of two, sister to many, a musician, a blog addict, and a hopeless dreamer. Her days are spent romancing ordinary life and everyday stories. To learn more about her work, visit her blog at thestudio56.com/the-blog and follow her on Instagram (@dianafoster56). She welcomes email at [email protected].