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Welcome to Michael's blog. Michael Andrew, (aka Michael The Maven) is a freelance producer, photography instructor, tech innovator, and when needed, disaster aid specialist. Disclaimer: Michael is a participant in Bhphoto & Amazon affiliate programs that provides an advertising commission if you purchase through links on this website.


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04.02.08         photography  

The Trick to Tight Macro Shots- Handheld


Getting really good, in focus, ring shots comes down to three things:

1. The type of lens you are using
2. That lens' minimum focusing distance (this is often found written on the lens)
3. Locking down your Depth of Field on the Ring itself. (If you are hand holding and trying to get good Macro shots while the camera is on auto-focus you are making your life hard).

"Macro" Lenses are built in such a way that they will allow you to get closer to your subject, such as a ring, and therefore they will appear larger in the viewfinder and picture. I made an entry on Kenko tube extenders a few months ago, which will turn any lens into a Macro Lens. If you are tinkering with the idea of shooting macro, these are a good start because they will work with any lens for your system.

If you attempt to shoot a ring within your minimum focusing distance, the shot will be blurry.

Here are some shots I took Saturday of Kim's ring using a Canon 100mm f 2.8 Macro Lens
On this particular picture, you can actually see the Depth of Field plane in the wood as it cuts across the ring. To get a shot like this, I recommend:

1. Using a Macro Lens, obviously
2. If you are hand holding, position your body in such a way that you are as stable as possible. It may feel like you are standing still, but we are constantly moving. Lean against something, like a wall, bench or floor to ensure you arent moving.
3. Manually focus on the subject. When I say this I mean you have switched off your auto focus on your lens. It will interfere with the next steps.
4. Ever so slightly, pull the camera back maybe a centimeter.
5. Depress the shutter button on rapid fire (if you are using a Canon 40D, this is 6.5 frames a second)
6 As you are shooting, slowly move the camera forward. I call this "Pushing Through The Shot" - If you have a decent shutter speed (1/100th or faster), at least one of those photos is going to work out. Throw the rest away.

The second way to do it is to use a tripod so the camera isnt moving, even then, there may be issues.

Some photographers may disagree with me on this, but I can do a Macro shot like the one above in about 10 seconds, no tripod set up.

Here is another one:
The picture of Kim's ring on the entry below was taken with a 24-70mm f2.8 non-macro, but I was absolutely at the minimum distance. I fired several shots using the same technique, and of course, one of them worked out.

Macro shots are tricky because you need a lot of light to make them work if you want any thickness to your Depth of Field. Often this is compensated by slower shutter speeds, which means if there is any movement, say wind, you breathing, or even your heart beating (no I am not kidding) it can mess it up.

I hope you guys enjoyed this. Let me know how it works out for you!

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