Special Guest post by Jason Anderson
At some point, the allure of macro photography in all its intricate detail entices us all to either buy or rent some glass that has the power to take us to the enchanting 1:1 ratio where we can see things full size! When you do take the plunge though, there are a couple things to keep in mind when capturing macro-scale photographs:
#1 – Stay sharp or stay home – Nothing loses the appeal of macro enthusiasts more than an image that is out of focus, at the macro level. There are notable exceptions of course, but we are zooming in close to see the details, so unless they are sharp, we just aren’t interested! Make sure you identify the main point of focus for your viewing audience and make sure that point is tack sharp!
#2 – Keep it simple – Too often, people will jump in and try to capture something highly detailed in a macro shot. The problem is that often times you are dealing with a very shallow depth of field (low apertures in the 2.8 – 1.4 range), which means detail is lost either in the foreground or the background, or both! This can be appealing in some cases, to have the fade from sharpness to blur, but in others, it’s not as effective, which means you’ll have to deal with focus-stacking. It’s kind of tricky, so when starting out, stick to simple compositions like flower buds, water drops, and other such objects of interest (even a quarter’s edge can be appealing). Another guest post is coming on the subject of focus-stacking so make sure you stay tuned for that article too!
#3 – Be aware of your background – Even though the background is often way out of focus, the color or tone of that background can make or break your photo. Make sure it’s either a complementary color, or sufficiently blurred as to be indecipherable. You can take shots with the road and vehicles beyond the branches of a flower, yet because they are so out of focus though, the grays and browns might be either a great neutral color to offset a colorful foreground, or sufficiently drab to make the shot less appealing.
Visit Jason Anderson at his blog “Canon Blogger” for more tutorials, articles, and photo nuggets.