There are two basic genres of macro photography. One is shooting tiny subject like jewelry and stamps with supplemental light indoors. Perhaps more popular, especially this time of year, is capturing outdoor close-up photos of both inanimate and living subjects.
Today’s quick tutorial from B&H Photo Video concentrates on the later and provides five helpful tips for shooting what instructor Colby Brown refers to as “wildlife on a macro scale.” Brown is an 18-year pro and a Sony artisan, specializing in travel, landscape, and wildlife photography.
Beginners and experienced photographers will benefit from Brown’s advice, which is equally appropriate for photographing bugs in your backyard or poisonous dart frogs in the rainforests of Central America.
At first glance, Brown’s first tip—to use a macro lens—seems pretty obvious. But larger subjects like frogs, butterflies, and the like don’t really require lenses with a 1:1 reproduction ratio. But even if you don’t need all the magnification they provide, there are other advantages to macro lenses—like the fact they’re optimized for superior results at close-focusing distances.
Brown also recommends using off-camera flash as much as possible, a technique many outdoor macro photographers ignore. He explains how easy this is to do, and the significant difference it can make in your results.
You’ll also learn the importance of referring to a naturalist’s guide for your specific location, so you’ll be prepared for subjects you encounter. On a related topic, Brown says to proceed in a manner that keeps both you and your subjects safe—especially when dealing with venomous species. Tip #5: Don’t forget bug spray!
And be sure to check out the earlier tutorial we posted from another expert, explaining how to edit macro photos for maximum impact.