Backyard macro photography
As photographers, we often have the idea that in order to capture great images, we need to travel to exotic places. But what if you don’t have the time or opportunity to go to one of these places? Suppose you have some free time one morning and want to get outside and take some amazing pictures. You may be surprised by the photos taken in your own backyard!
One of the best things about backyard macro photography is that you don’t have to go anywhere to have a shooting experience, so if things don’t go right, you won’t have that long of a disappointing return home with nothing to show for it. If it succeeds, you can immediately rest and celebrate, although you may still have to face mowing the lawn!
Spring and summer are good seasons for backyard macro photography at safari parks. You can pick up your camera, get creative and start a small photography project without leaving your home.
1. Necessary equipment:
Keep things simple! Start with a camera and macro lens on a tripod. Other devices you may find useful include pads or kneepads, flashlights, reflectors, and diffusers. Another good thing about the backyard safari park is that if you decide to use another piece of equipment, you can go back to the house and get it!
That’s why I don’t encourage novices to make their first macro lens into a cutting-edge lens with stability and autofocus: it’s much easier to compose and focus with a tripod.
As with almost all types of photography, a tripod is one of your most important pieces of equipment for several reasons. The most obvious reason is to avoid camera shake, but in many cases, your depth of field will be very shallow, and keeping your camera on a tripod will help keep your subject sharp and in focus. Another benefit of using a tripod is that doing so slows you down, which can be very helpful in setting up the composition and lighting of an image.
You don’t need fancy, expensive tripods, but again, avoid cheap junk that just wobbles and sags.
(2) Mat or kneepad
Not every good shot can be taken standing up. A mat or knee pad is a great tool to help you reach the ground comfortably in the yard.
Sometimes, you’ll find some of the most interesting themes in the shadows deep in the yard. In these cases, using a flash will add some light to better display or enhance your subject.
For such a small subject, adding light is much easier than you might think. The onboard flash can be “reflected” left or right onto the white diffuser, adding soft directional light to the subject. If the flash is not shining directly at the subject, you may need to set the flash to very bright.
(4) Light reflector
Reflectors come in handy when you need to add some light to shaded areas of an image.
(5) Light diffuser
If you are dealing with very harsh light, a diffuser or light regulator can soften the light.
2. Take time to look around
Yogi Berra once said, “You can observe a lot just by looking around.” In macro photography, sometimes less is more, so slow down and look for even the smallest details that can create great macro images. Try to find new angles and even the simplest objects can become interesting. Don’t be afraid to try new techniques, such as multiple exposures.
3. Decide on your subjects
There are many objects in your own backyard that make great macro photography subjects, such as flowers and insects. But don’t just stop there, looking for repetitive patterns, textures, and guidelines. Water droplets and spider webs can be beautiful subjects if photographed carefully. Just like in any other form of photography, look for red to make powerful images.
4. Choose your background wisely
Context is one of the most important elements of a good macro. Set the camera at the level of the subject. This will allow you to move 360 degrees around it and carefully choose the right background to enhance the subject. Note that if the background is too busy or bright, it will take the viewer’s eyes away from the subject.
Avoid strong light or flat lighting. By looking for sidelights, or even backlights, you can create more dramatic images. Adding an off-camera flash is an effective technique for enhancing your subject and separating it from the background. By setting the fastest flash synchronization speed and using a small aperture, you can make the subject stand out from the boring background.
Focusing is probably the most difficult part of macro photography. Here’s a tip to help you get the focus results you want: First, set the lens to manual focus. Next, turn the focus ring to the minimum focal length. Now just move your camera closer to your subject until you want the sharp part of the image to come into focus and shoot.
7. The wind is not your friend.
Clear macro images can be difficult to capture on a windy day, and even harder to compose if your subject is swaying back and forth in the wind. Try adding a flash to freeze your subject in windy conditions. In some cases, the wind can help create interesting effects, but it’s a challenge!
If you’re bored, or just need something to pour your mind into and focus on for a few hours a week, then hopefully this article gives you something to do. Capturing images of nature in your own backyard can be beneficial and convenient if you are inspired and capture something really interesting and creative.
What does macro mean in photography?
The strictest definition of macro photography is that the subject is photographed at 1:1 magnification. In other words, the subject is life-sized in the photo. However, most people use the term “macro photography” to refer to any photograph that depicts a close-up and extremely detailed image of a small subject.
Is macro photography hard?
Macro photography is a difficult genre — you’re pushing up against the physical limits of depth of field, diffraction, and motion blur. Naturally, focusing on macro photography isn’t an easy task, but it’s a crucial one.
Can I use 50mm for macro?
50mm lenses work best in capturing typical macro shots. However, these types of macro lenses have their drawbacks. 50mm lenses make subjects appear half “life-size” since they usually feature a 1:2 ratio, and require shooting at a much closer distance. But a 50mm lens is a must if you want a general walk-around lens.
Do you need Flash for macro photography?
You don’t need to use a flash for macro photography, but without one, you might struggle to get enough light on your subject. Shooting wide open will give you a thin depth-of-field. A macro flash will allow you to increase your aperture to stops like F/9 and F/11.