A complete guide to macro photography for beginners

Jeremy Gray

posted Monday, April 4, 2022 at 6:00 AM EDT



Macro photography is a highly specialized genre of photography. It requires specific equipment, although it need not be a pricy endeavor, and it comes with its own set of challenges. If you’re new to photography, macro photography is extreme close-up photography of small subjects, like insects or flowers, to name a couple of examples. It can be daunting to try out an all-new kind of photography, especially when it has its own unique demands. Fortunately, talented macro photographer Micael Widell is here to help. Widell recently published a complete beginner’s guide video to macro photography. The video covers various topics, including how to work up close to subjects, the best camera and lenses for macro photography, depth of field, flash, focusing, camera settings and much more.

What about cameras and lenses, are there ‘best’ choices for macro photography? The good news is that if your camera is made in the last 10-15 years and allows you to change lenses (an interchangeable lens camera), you will be able to do macro photography. If you’re looking to buy a new camera, a mirrorless camera is a good bet because they offer many helpful features, like focus peaking and focus magnification. If you’re using a DSLR camera, you may have these same features available in your ‘Live View’ mode. A mirrorless camera has another advantage, though, an electronic viewfinder. You can typically manually adjust the brightness of the EVF, which can make it much easier to fine-tune manual focus when doing macro photography.

When it comes to lenses, they’re much more important than your camera. Specialized macro lenses can get quite expensive. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get a great value by opting for a third-party lens or a manual focus macro lens. You can also skip a macro lens altogether and get extension tubes compatible with lenses you already have. By using an extension tube, you create a gap between your lens and your camera, allowing you to focus closer. If you’re looking to get a macro lens, there are great options from many manufacturers, including Tamron, Sigma, Tokina, Venus Optics (Laowa), TTArtisans and more. Plus, every major camera manufacturer has a macro lens available for their camera system.

Widell has many more excellent macro photography tips in the video above. Be sure to watch the entire video to learn about all aspects of macro photography. If you want to go even more in-depth on a particular macro photography topic, check out Widell’s YouTube channel. To see more great macro images, visit his website and follow him on Instagram.

(Via Micael Widell

Anita Shire

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