Macro Photography: How to Compose Seasonal Close-ups

Curators’ Corner

Macro Photography: How to Compose Seasonal Close-ups

© Jennifer Cohen

Spring into the season with these Do’s and Don’ts for mastering macro photography.

Do select Aperture Priority or Manual. Though it’s tempting to let the camera take care of business in its point-and-shoot mode, the results are unlikely to do your subject justice. Focus manually on the most critical point in the frame. For maximum focusing precision, use your camera’s magnified Live View option. As a general rule you should use an f-stop no wider than f/16 to get most of your subject in focus.

Do shoot with as low an ISO as possible. Use a low ISO when your subject is adequately lighted based on your exposure settings. The less visible digital noise the better.

Don’t forget your tripod. Camera shake is much more noticeable when working close to your subject. To minimize movement and blur, use your camera’s self-timer or use a remote release to eliminate any photographer-induced camera motion when the shutter button is pressed. In addition, use the fastest shutter speed as possible to avoid any blurring due to camera shake.

Don’t neglect composition. Use the Rule of Thirds. Divide the frame into thirds, both vertically and horizontally then place your subject at or near the lines or their intersecting points in order to draw the eye of your viewer. A non-competing background is also ideal.

Don’t be afraid to get down and dirty. Perspective matters and that means the perfect shot may require you to be on the same plane as your subject. Macro means increasing the size of an object to approximately five times life-size. Subjects are often mere inches away from the lens — sometimes even closer.

© James Douglas

© Victoria Linssen

© Michael Schwartz