Macro Photography: Understanding Magnification

Photo: Close view of a bee on a pink flower

With its emphasis on detail, pattern, and texture, macro photography can yield rewarding and unique results. In this gallery, learn what makes a great macro shot and get tips on how to turn your extreme close-ups into compelling photographs. Here, a macro lens and diffused macro twin flash capture the intricate detail on a bee and flower. Photograph by John Kimbler, My Shot.

Photo: Close view of a black spider

Black spider. Photograph by Maneesh Kaul, My Shot

Photo: Close view of a plant

Pulsatilla crop, with many dewdrops. Photograph by Peter Racz, Your Shot

Photo: Close view of a winged insect

Winged insect, Admiralty Park, Singapore. Photograph by Jervis Mun, My Shot

Photo Tips Straight From The Professionals:

  • Macro photography is photography magnified.
  • It is generally recognized as “macro” when you are increasing the size of an object in your picture from about half life-size, as represented on the image sensor, to five times life-size.
  • As a general rule you should use an f-stop no wider/larger than f/16 to get all or most of the main subject in focus.
  • If you are photographing a subject that can’t be arranged more or less on the same plane, you will have to decide which parts of it you want in focus.
  • Experiment with wider/larger lens apertures, which will throw more of the subject out of focus and may produce pleasing artistic effects.
  • When shooting macro photography, using a narrow depth of field is unavoidable.
  • This actually causes a pleasant result, since the background will appear totally out of focus, and you can usually use a natural setting to compose your picture.
  • While you won’t have to fuss too much with what’s going on behind your subject, don’t forget to check for any distracting or jarring background elements.
  • Get creative with macro photography by shooting the subject from an unexpected angle.
  • Try different lighting, as well, using front lighting for deeper color saturation and side lighting to highlight texture.
  • Macro photography is really successful when the image has a main point of interest and that point or subject is composed well within the frame.
  • Choose a simple background so it doesn’t compete with the main subject for a viewer’s attention.
  • A close-up attachment is a flat, filter-like lens that mounts to the front of your normal lens (it usually screws into the filter thread) and allows you to focus more closely.
  • You will be able to focus at closer distances, although the maximum magnification will depend on the focal length of the lens you’re attaching it to.
  • Shooting flowers, leaves, and insects outside can be a challenging.
  • A perfectly composed shot can be quickly ruined by just a whisper of a breeze.
  • Stop unwanted subject motion and blur. Before you set up your shot, try planting a stick in the ground and tether the flora to it for stability.
  • Use the fastest shutter speed possible and use a ring flash or flash units mounted to your lens if shooting at a low aperture.
  • A good sturdy tripod is essential. You have two options.
  • You can buy a tripod with legs that splay wide enough to allow a very low position, or you can buy a tripod that has a reversible head stern that allows the camera to hang facing down under the tripod.
  •  If shooting outdoors, macro photography is effective on bright days when you don’t have to use a very slow shutter speed.
  • A bright, overcast day works especially well, as it will also light your subject evenly.
  • It is usually impractical to use your camera’s built-in pop-up flash when doing macro photography.
  • The length of the lens, with or without all of its macro attachments, will cause a shadow from the camera’s flash.
  • One solution is to use an external flash.
  • The best type of external flash will have a head that rotates and elevates.
  • If you find an insect or small creature that allows you to get close to it, start shooting!
  • When making macro photographs—especially of moving subjects—be prepared.
  • Make sure all your camera settings are correct because you may only get one shot.
  • Autofocus doesn’t always work well when shooting extreme close-up photography.
  • Switch to manual focus and you’ll get more consistently sharp macro pictures.

(Source: National Geographic)

Lights, Camera & Close-ups!
FRAMES Photography Club: THEME #5 is “Macro photography”.

If you are an aspiring photographer or you simply like to see things in the very dramatic way, start clicking some macro stuff. Be it an insect, dew drops spark, flames, smoke, texture or almost anything that you find interesting. Showcase your work of art by sending us an email at It can be anything. Your work will definitely be appreciated at the Dravasp Shroff Photography Blog. You can be two or 200 years old, a student or a retired army general, photography is something that doesn’t die out so soon ! Message us your entry or email us

Prizes to be won (If you are a student studying in United Arab Emirates). However, let suppose you aren’t a student and studying in the UAE, don’t get dejected. You can still send in your photographs at and your credentials will be given to you for your photograph and as a part of a photo community, your work will be displayed on my blog. Send in as many entries as possible to and the shortlisted winners’ photographs will be put up on Manipal University Dubai Facebook Page.

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