14 May 2013
Oh, who doesn't like macro shots? Well, I'm a lover of them. One thing is loving them and another thing is trying to get them. You often try to shot macro, but the more the you try, you finish asking yourself: why can't my shots look more closer and with more detail? The answer is quite simple: you don't the correct equipment.
For macro shot and for better photography, I always recommend a DSLR camera. Next, get some macro extender tubes. Don't forget the flash, in my case, I'll go with the Canon Speedlite 580 EX II. Why not use the twin flash? Well the 580 EX II is quite cheaper and rather more useful than a twin flash. What about the lenses? I recommend you use a prime lens. In my case, I'll use a 50mm. It's lightweight, focuses super fast and it's not expensive. What about the extender tubes? I decided to get the combo that brings the 12mm, the 20mm and the 36mm tubes.
Now that all the equipment is ready, the time is now, to set your camera. Shooting in manual mode, establish the white balance for the occasion. Some moments will require the sunlight setting and some others, the auto white balance. I rather go with the sunlight setting. The apertures will be set between f/9.0 to f/11. The speed must be set at 1/250. Make sure you shoot in RAW format, JPEG format won't work for macro shots.
So now comes a very interesting question: what can I shoot macro? That's a question you are going to have to answer yourself. I'm an wildlife animal lover, so you can always start in your backyard. We can start by insects on plants, we can continue with lizards and try to end this assignment safe and sound, try to shoot a wasp without getting stung. When shooting animals (or people), we always focus the eyes. Many DSLR have the area-of-interest focus points. Only the points selected of the chosen area will be more in focus and the rest can create a nice and interesting bokeh. Lots of planning will be needed but, be very careful and very observant. For some shots, that are not so close, the 12mm tube works. If you simply want to get closer, use the 20mm or the 36mm. Or simply combine them. When using the extender tubes, you gotta get much closer. Sometimes it'll happen, that the animals may get scared and simply run away. Don't get frustrated, it's a matter of time. For example, when I found the spider, it hid itself. Ten minutes later, a bug that fell on a spider web, was going to be the lunch for the hungry spider. It happened the same with the iguanas. One simply felt more secure with the companionship of its mate. When I found the wasp, it was a eating a worm. When walking near a bush, I found two ladybugs having fun. Some moments will be quite improvised, and a faster shooting will be needed. Be alert , cautious, and observant. You don't want to get stung by one of these insects or other animals. Don't let a stung, make you drop your camera or you will regret it. Don't forget, that some moments in photography are a matter of pure luck! Especially when my neighbor had a really small turtle on his hands, it got camera shy. The turtle may look big, but that is one of the purpose of the extenders: get closer and see something big. They add high magnification capabilities to very small things.
I've been shooting for seven years. From all the assignments and all, macro shots are quite a challenge. They require a lot of nerve and overall, lots of practice. It took me one year to get the hang of this. Put your heart into it. The more you experiment, the better. I started doing macro shots without a flash. It can turn to be difficult or it can be an epic fail. The flash gives a nice frozen feeling to the shoot, making the colors look even better and the detail, even more crisp. A blurry macro shot doesn't work. Keep trying until it hits the desired result. One of the points that I'm trying to prove is, that you don't need the most expensive flash, camera or lens to do macro shots. If you know your camera, and what to do with it, you'll find a way. Although I've seen some animals giving me a look of pride, with lots of pride, I immortalize them with my camera. Not an easy task, but if well done, it's so worth it. So, have your equipment ready and dare to expect to find unexpected things. These unexpected findings make your job even more interesting. So, why see the animal or the object from far? Lets simply get closer. Macro is simply a closer way to view things. And what's the best part? Macro photography always delights the eyes of many people.