Macro Photography : Useful Tips and Beautiful Examples

Making macro photography can be a really challenging, yet very interesting task. This world is a unique place of extremely close distances, very thin depth of field and long exposure time. It is filled with strange creatures and landscapes usually not seen by a human eye, and many photographers concentrate their efforts on the macro world trying to catch its beauty.

I’ve collected some useful macro photography tips, but before that I’d like to separate macro and close-up photography. Basically those types of photography are about the same, but there is one main difference: the lens you are using.

The macro lenses have magnification ratio 1:1 or higher so the object size on film is equal (or higher) to the real-life size. In close-up photography you can use different ratio lenses such as 1:2, 1:4 or even 1:6. If you don’t need to get too close to the target this may be your choice, but remember that you won’t be able to perform real macro shooting with those lenses.

Macro lenses

Typically there are three types of lenses: short (30-50mm), standard (60-105mm) and tele-macro (150-200mm). The shorter lens is, the more depth of field you will get and in most cases cheaper it will be. Standard lenses have more comfortable working distance and are suitable for portrait shooting. Tele-lenses have a working distance up to two feet, but they are more heavy and costly.

The lenses I prefer are: the short ones – Nikon 40mm f/2.8G AF-S DX Micro and Sony 50mm f/2.8a Macro; the standard – Nikon 60mm f/2.8 D AF Micro-Nikkor, Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di and Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro (AF); tele – Tamron SP 180mm f/3.5 Di Macro LD-IF and Nikon 200mm f/4 ED-IF AF Micro Telephoto Nikkor.


The most important thing in the outdoor macro photography is the sun angle since too much light will destroy the whole picture. What is also important is a cloud formation and the time a photo is taken. Because of a small aperture, you’ll probably need some artificial light such as flash, but this can be tricky as well. Sometimes the camera flash is too strong, so you’ll have to avoid pointing it directly on the subject to make only the edge of light hit the target. You can also point the flash completely out of it to brighten the background.


As usual you have to think about the rules of composition such as focus, color, frame, background elements and depth of field. The narrow depth of field makes focusing extremely difficult so the good idea will be to get a tripod. If you are shooting moving objects, you’ll have to open the aperture (that will decrease the depth of field though) or use artificial light. The next thing you’ll have to face is a wind. You’ll need a lot of patience to wait for a wind to stop since the small breeze can ruin the whole picture.

Use extension tubes

This will allow you to experiment with different focal lengths and increase your picture quality.

Don’t use auto-focus

Just set your camera as you want and use manual focus. It will help you concentrate and you won’t need to wait for the lens to adjust.

Macro Photography Bee

Use light reflectors

Sometimes camera flash or shooting angle is not good enough so the good idea will be to use small mirrors. Also you can use the white round-the-lens reflector with a hole in the middle to reflect the light from a lens on the object.

Macro Photography Flowers

Use continuous shooting

If there is no way to get a nice focus (because of the wind for instance) just set your camera on continuous shooting. This will help you get some focused images for sure.

Macro photography is a really demanding field. It needs a lot of patience and time to learn and much more to master, but it does really worth your time spent. Many photographers have opened the whole new world and focus only on the macro and close-up photography. Hope you can add something new to the above tips, so feel free to share your ideas in comments below.

Showcase of Beautiful Macro Photography

Brandywine Park

Source : Flickr

Macro Photography Cuckoo Bee

Source : Flickr

Macro Photography Fish Frenzy

Source : Flickr

Macro Photography Bubble

Source : Flickr

Macro Photography Insect

Source : Flickr

Macro Photography Flowers

Source : Flickr

Macro Photography Butterflies

Source : Flickr

Macro Photography Fungi

Source : Flickr

Macro Photography Flower

Source : Flickr

Macro Photography Beans

Source : Flickr

Macro Photography Snails

Source : Flickr

Macro Photography Water Drops

Source : Flickr

Macro Photography Bee on leaf

Source : Flickr

Macro Photography Ant

Source : Flickr

Macro Photography Make a Wish

Source : Flickr

Written by Winston Mathews

Winston Mathews is a photographer and fan of the 14,000 square foot studio, located in Houston, TX with the primary focus on food and drink photography. Feel free to visit their photography blog ( as well.

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