How to shoot macro?

1. Introduction

You’ve probably seen some stunning photos of beautiful nudibranchs, seahorses, and more. Unlike other amazing images of sharks and manta rays, capturing small animals does require some unique equipment and practice; How to shoot macro? Once you get the hang of it, the world of macro photography offers endless possibilities.

apexel macro lens

2. What is macro photography?

Macro photography is simply the act of taking small objects, where the camera is very close to the subject and the resulting image is larger than the actual object in real life. In short, it generates an image ratio greater than 1:1.

Once you delve into the world of macro photography, you’ll discover many possibilities — but before getting into the details of taking images with a macro lens, let’s take a look at what you can do without one.

3. There is no macro lens

Before you start buying lenses, diopters, and other specialized macro equipment, you can get a head start by simply using your camera in its case. Most modern cameras have a macro mode, which you can use to get great results. The key components of macro photography without lenses are to get as close to your subject as possible, choose the macro mode, zoom, and stay as still as possible to capture your shot. While camera Settings alone is a good starting point and you will be able to start developing your skills, eventually you will need to upgrade to lens Settings. This is because built-in lenses in cameras can have their limitations.

apexel macro lens

4. Macro and super macro

Macro photography is the art of taking pictures of small objects from very close range. However, when the subject becomes smaller than a few centimeters, you have to move from macro photography into the super-macro territory. Try to think of it in terms of a microscope; To see a normal cell, you can use a standard laboratory microscope; However, once you want to look at the cells themselves, you need an electronic microscope that can provide significant magnification.

Usually, macro photography covers 1-10 cm subjects of the entire subject, but can also be detailed macro shots of larger subjects. Think of the ubiquitous stained nudibranchs. On the other hand, you can take great macro shots of the eye details of sleepy parrotfish or friendly wrasse, or even capture the amazing details of lobster eyes.

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Once the subject is less than 1 cm, you are truly in the realm of ultra-macro photography. To fully understand this, just consider the spectacular “Shaun of the sheep” Costasilacuro Nudibranchia. The tiny creature, measuring just 5 millimeters in size, is little more than a white speck when viewed with the naked eye while diving. However, view it through a super macro lens and your viewfinder will explode in the green and finest detail and present you with a stunningly beautiful animal.

5. The light

Finally, the use of artificial lighting in macro photography is a must. Due to depth and the more common fact that most tiny critters tend to be slightly hidden under outcrops or other slightly concealed positions, they are not well lit as a result. Flashlights will be required. The key to the macro using the flash is to get the angle and settings right, as pointing the flash directly at the subject can lead to overly bright and faded photos. Care must be taken to point the flash away from the subject so that it is fully lit and not overexposed.

6. Works

The rules of composition for large photographs still apply to macro photography. Similarly, a picture of the tail in the first place isn’t really good work and won’t win any awards, and similarly, a picture of the back of a colored nudibranch that barely shows the rhinos and gills isn’t very good either. Photos should be oriented towards the subject or slightly to the side, always focusing on the eyes for clarity, even if you use a narrower depth of field.

Apexel macro lens to capture various scenes of renderings


Do I need a macro lens and an ultra macro lens?

It’s a matter of personal choice, although there are macro and ultra macro lenses with different magnifications, many macro lenses offer stacking capabilities. This is where you can “double” the macro lens, doubling the effect of a single macro lens by screwing one into the other. Some photographers opt for the stack option because it offers greater flexibility and is more economical than having macro and dedicated super macro lenses.

In the long run, stalking also gives photographers an alternative to regular macro lenses. On the other hand, some excellent underwater cameras, even point-and-shoot cameras, have an excellent macro mode that can provide excellent results. Ultimately, it is the size of the subject that requires a macro or ultra macro lens.

How close do macro photography subjects need to be?

As a general rule, you want to get as close to your subject as possible to bring it into focus, especially when using a lens. If you go too far away, the picture will lack the amazing details usually associated with macro photography. On the other hand, getting too close can stretch your lens and camera out of their reach, and photos can be a little blurry and lacking in detail. In general, for macro and ultramicro photography, the subject should be kept 2 to 10 cm away from the camera. This is a rough guide that will vary from camera to camera and lens settings.

What are the best macro subjects?

As a general rule when considering a subject or macro photography, you need to consider proximity to the subject. Objects that are timid and nervous and don’t allow you to get close can become scary objects. That’s why fish are so hard to take macro shots because they move when they see you approaching.

Their best subjects not only ignored the divers and let them approach, but the subjects themselves did not move much during their daily activities. That’s why nudibranchs, pygmy seahorses, mollusks, shrimp, and pipe billfish are the best macro subjects. Because they don’t move much and are relatively relaxed in the presence of divers, coupled with their amazing color patterns, they make remarkable subjects.

What are the macro diving paradises?

One of the great things about macro photography is that it can be done anywhere in the world because almost all coral reefs have a rich variety of life and they make great subjects. However, certain diving destinations offer an extremely rich and unique macro biodiversity.

Popular destinations are located in the Indo-Pacific/Southeast Asia region of the world, including Wakatobi, Rambi Strait, and Turanben in Indonesia. In Malaysia, Mabu Island is known for its biological and mud diving, while Anilo in the Philippines is another macro paradise for underwater photographers.

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