with Courtney Slazinik
An Introduction to Modern Macro Photography
An Introduction to Modern Macro Photography

When I first started trying to learn macro photography (way back in early 2012) everything I read had such an “old school” approach to shooting. Everyone said you have to shoot with a tripod and stop down to at least f/16. To me, these rules were extremely stifling and they just didn’t feel like ME. So I set out to teach myself macro photography in a way that felt authentic to my style and vision. Here, I hope to share some tips and tricks with you, to help you on your own journey to explore macro photography! This is the best macro guide I've seen yet! Love all the tips! Read - "An Introduction to Modern Macro Photography" Read More: Focus Stacking: The secret to increased depth of field in macro photography This post contains affiliate links. Thank you in advance for supporting Click it up a Notch!

  • No.
    What is macro?

    Macro photography is defined as the close-up photography of objects that are typically very small. “True” macro is done at 1:1 ratio, meaning that the object is represented on your sensor at the same size as real life. I am more flexible with my definition and consider 2:1 or closer to be macro photography.

    Read more: 7 Best Macro Photography Tips for Creative Photos

  • No.
    Do I need an expensive macro lens?

    You don’t! There are very affordable macro lenses out there, like the Lensbaby Velvet which captures 2:1 macro. You can also try macro filters or extension tubes. You can also try reverse free lensing, which allows you to shoot macro photography without a macro lens.

  • No.
    Do I need lighting and a tripod and focusing rails and a bunch of other equipment?

    Definitely not! I never use a tripod, and I rarely use artificial light. You can certainly be a macro minimalist, if you choose!

Okay, so on to the fun stuff! Here are my top tips for beautiful macro images.

  • No.
    Use manual focus.

    Auto-focus is simply not reliable enough when working at close distances and with narrow depth-of-field. Manual focus can take some practice if you aren’t used to it – keep trying and don’t give up! Don’t forget that with focus you want to make sure you are using a smaller f-stop to give you more room to nail your focus.

  • No.
    Try different angles.

    This is the benefit of not using a tripod – you’re free to move around and try all different angles and compositions. One of the great things about macro photography is that you don’t need anyone else to participate, so no one is rushing you to take their photo. Take your time and slow down.

  • No.
    Be attentive to color.

    Color can be a really powerful element in your images. Be thoughtful about your vision and how you use color. I love using complimentary color schemes in my macro images.

  • No.
    Be purposeful with your depth-of-field.

    With macro photography, we are very close to our subjects and we often have a long focal length, and these factors lead us to have a very narrow depth-of-field. Make sure your depth looks intentional. Think about exactly how much of your subject you want to be in focus, and choose your aperture and distance accordingly.

I hope these tips give you the confidence to try out macro photography or maybe try a different approach if you’re already shooting macro! Macro can be very therapeutic and it’s a wonderful way to slow down and shoot for yourself.

Read more about macro photography: – 3 Simple Tips For Snowflake Macro Photography5 Creative Exercises for Macro Photography9 Tips for Using Macro Filters

  • Marcie Reif
    March 6, 2017 at 6:11 PM

    Great article TIffany! You are the master of macro!

  • Dean Whitling
    March 21, 2017 at 4:54 PM

    great shots, love the muted tones and colours. You really nailed these.

  • Rahayu
    April 1, 2017 at 7:27 PM

    Great tips… thank you for sharing👍👍

  • John
    April 24, 2018 at 7:17 PM

    Hi. Enjoyed your article, but I just wanted to make a correction as you have the reproduction ratios the wrong way round. The Lensbaby Velvet has a reproduction ratio of 1:2, which is half life size (the 1 being greater than the 2), not 2:1 which is twice life size (2 being the greater of 1). I think this is also what you meant to say in your comment about being more flexible about where ‘macro’ starts, and consider 1:2 (half life size) and closer as macro. 2:1 would mean you only consider macro as anything 2 times life size and above, rather than 1:1 and above.

  • Tiffany
    May 19, 2018 at 4:13 PM

    oh yes, that was a typo – it should say 1:2. so sorry!

  • Tiffany
    May 19, 2018 at 4:16 PM

    thank you so much Rahayu!

  • Tiffany
    May 19, 2018 at 4:19 PM

    thank you so much for your kind words, Dean!

  • Tiffany
    May 19, 2018 at 4:25 PM

    thank you so much Marcie!

  • Marlo
    September 5, 2018 at 2:37 AM

    Hi Tiffany, I realy love your macro shots. I’m new into photography and am wondering how you get that beautiful modern look by attaining those dark backgrounds. Do you achieve this by playing with the exposure or any other way to get this look?

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