Monday, April 20, 2009

The Macro Mystery

Ok first things first... Life sucks it gets in the way of posting new blogs and keeping up with my Etsy store. Of course owning a house and having all kinds of projects and other hobbies doesnt help either. Enough of the excuses though and onto our topic for the week.

Macro photography is usually defined as creating a full sized or lager image of an item. That is why macro photography is so useful to members of Etsy. Many times the products that we sell are small or have a great amount of detail that we want to try and capture. Using the macro setting or lens on your camera can help you do this.

There are three things we need to create great macro shots. The first is the camera with macro feature or lens if using a dSLR. The second is a tripod. Yes you really need a tripod(we will get to this later). The last thing is good lighting. Without good lighting your shots will not be as good as they can be.

Most newer digital camera models are capable of producing macro shots. Most of them use a flower to designate the macro mode. There are varying degrees of macro capabilities based on the cameras features. There are some models out there that have a 0 clearance focusing depth which can be really handy when capturing really small items. Zero clearance means that the item could be sitting on the lens and the camera would be able to focus on the subject of the photo. Most cameras however have a minimum focusing range that can be found in your owners manual. These usually range from about a couple of inches for a decent camera to a couple of feet if you are using a dSLR with macro lens.

Once you find out what your minimum focus setting that is as close as you can be to your subect. This is important to know because if you are any closer your camera wont focus on your item and your image will not be as clear and sharp as possible.

Ok so we covered the camera part now its the part that a lot of times I meet a lot of resistance on. The tripod. The tripod is almost as important as the camera itself. The reason the tripod is so important especially with macro photography is because your subject is soooo close to your camera any shake at all will create what we call camera shake and your images will come out blurry. So get the tripod out or go to Walmart and pick one up for $30 it will be the best $30 you can spend to help your photographs for your shop. Once you have your tripod set up and your camera ready set the self timer on the camera to take the picture for you. The reason for this is because pressing the shutter alone will create camera shake.

The third and last item you need is lighting. Lighting is very important not just for macro photography but photography in general. Without lighting you cant take photographs. There are several very expensive lighting setups for macro photography including ring flashes, studio lighting, off camera flashes, etc. Now for the reality of it. If you look back through my blog you will see a post on a light box that I made. The total cost for that light box if you have to buy everything needed to make the box would be around $30 or so. I used a big shop light because I had it but you could just as easily use 3 clamp lights. There are some light boxes or tents out there that are commercially available that are pretty affordable as well.

Below are some macro shots that I have taken. While none of these are product type photographs they show what kind of detail that can be captured with macro photography.

Normal shot


Macro shot


100% crop of the Macro shot


Some copper parts and Table Salt



Sea Salt and Black peppercorns

3 comments:

Mia Sophia said...

I love that shot of the salt and pepper. but how can you use a tripod when so many pictures require different angles.....that could take forever~!

Christine Burgess said...

Thanks so much for all the great info here. I know so little about photography and cameras, etc. that this is really helpful. Those pictures you took are amazing!
Christine

DoYouLoveLucy said...

wow..you really know alot of photography! these are some great pictures! i'm learning slowly how to take pictures. Thanks for all the advice!