6 fast suggestions for outdoor macro photography

Spring is in full swing and summer is almost here. With the arrival of summer, a whole new world of color, energy, and buzz. That means it’s definitely the best time to go outdoors with a handheld macro lens. From blooming flowers to bugs and bees to ubiquitous beauty, there’s a lot of fun to be had using a macro lens in nature this time of year. To that end, here are six tips you can put to good use on your outdoor macro photography adventure. So let’s get started!

Outdoor macro photography of insects

1. Gear

The beauty of macro photography is that you can use a variety of equipment; Everything from the complex setup of using microscope lenses and focus stacks to using cell phone cameras. Between these two extremes, there are foolish digital cameras that usually have a surprisingly excellent macro mode, and SLR cameras combined with a macro lens, close-up filter, or extension tube. Once you have some set up for macro photography, you can move on to the next step!

2. Seek a topic

What do you want to film? Outdoor options are varied. It can be small things or details of big things. It could be something you’ve been researching and planning for a long time or something you’ve just discovered. This is where your creativity comes into play.

Outdoor macro photography of ants

If you have no particular idea and are looking for inspiration, then lying on the grass on a sunny day and seeing the world from a frog’s point of view might help!

3. Illuminate your subject

You’ve got your gear, you’ve got your subject – now all you need to take a picture is some light. Good exposure can be achieved by using natural light or external sources such as strobe lights.

On the one hand, it’s easier to use natural light because you don’t need anything other than the camera you choose. In other words, natural light can be tricky. On the other hand, the narrow field of vision required by the very nature of macro photography means that the sensor must receive enough light from a very small area. In short, there has to be a lot of light — especially if you’re trying to capture something moving and your depth of field is very narrow.

Outdoor macro photography of insert

Using an external light source is an excellent way to control the amount and direction of light. However, it is useful to know some basic knowledge of flash photography before starting. As with all things, flash photography has its own challenges. Depending on whether you use natural or artificial light, the look and feel of your photos will vary.

4. Stabilize yourself

For macro photography, the most reliable way to get a clear image is to use a tripod to stabilize the camera. This does make the operation slower and more difficult, but the trade-off is clear photos of non-moving subjects. Instead of carrying a tripod, simply stabilizing the camera to a backpack or sweater or anything that can hold it in place can really help ensure the camera is stable and takes a clear shot. However, when the subject is moving — whether it’s a flying bumblebee or a flower swaying in the breeze — a handheld camera may be necessary.

For this, nothing is more useful than a macro lens with optical image stabilization to help keep the camera stable. Even at fast shutter speeds, the macro lens makes the smallest movements look big because it magnifies everything. If you’re not careful to stabilize the camera as much as possible, this is the secret to blurring. The better the image stabilization, the sharper the image, so if you don’t use a tripod, it’s best to invest in a dedicated macro lens with built-in image stabilization.

Outdoor macro photography of botany

Keep in mind that the longer the focal length you use, the higher the risk of getting a jitter image. This means that even if you’re photographing a still object, your shutter speed needs to be fast — or you need to use a tripod. A tripod is a great tool for photography in general, but it’s especially useful in macro photography where the setup and field of view are small and there may not be enough light.

It may sometimes feel like a tripod that limits your movement and makes your photo sessions more important than you’d like. It doesn’t matter! Great macro shots can be taken without a tripod, just remember to keep the shutter speed fast.

5. Tell a story

When photographing something technically challenging and conceptually extraordinary, it’s easy to forget other aspects of photography. But as with photography in general, some of the most interesting macro shots are the ones with a story.

You can create your own stories, or you can open your eyes to all the little stories that have been told around you. If you stop and look, whether it’s in a remote wilderness or in your backyard, there are plenty of inspirations in the little lives of outdoor living.

Outdoor macro photography of flower

6. Check your background

New photographers often only see the center of interest and forget to check the background details. For macro photography, these background details can become a bigger problem, as even a small change in camera angle can have a huge impact on the background. Sometimes, the photographer may wish to focus on the colorful foreground flowers and allow the flowers on the back to form a colorful defocus blur. But other times, a simplified, detail-free background may be needed; In fact, this is a good choice by default. In each case, to achieve this, you first need to look at what is happening in the background, and then choose to move the camera accordingly.

7. Conclusion

These are the factors I try to keep in mind when I go out for macro photography. Hopefully, these tips will help you make amazing shots on your next outdoor macro shoot.

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