Five tips for gorgeous macro photographs

Tiffany Kelly is a photographer with a passion for macro.

Here, Tiffany shares her top five tips to making gorgeous macro photographs

1. Slow Down

One of the most incredible things about macro photography is that it allows us to really slow down and take in the beauty around us. I encourage you to really take your time and be thoughtful about your image before you start snapping. When shooting flowers or nature, your subjects are typically not going anywhere, so you can take your time and absorb the little details before you start shooting. Macro photography can be very therapeutic or meditative.

2. Use manual focus

Manual focus is really the key to getting accurate focus in macro photography. Auto-focus is simply not reliable enough in macro photography where a small change in focal plane will entirely change the focal point of the image. Using manual focus also encourages us to slow down and really concentrate in a thoughtful way.

3. Understand depth-of-field

Depth-of-field (DOF) operates in a very unique way for macro photography, compared to portrait or landscape photography. Because we are so close to our subjects, we have a very shallow depth-of-field. You may be surprised at how far you have to stop down to get everything you want in focus. While some photographers advise always stopping way down for macro, I like to shoot wide open sometimes too. For me, the key is that my focus and depth-of-field looks intentional.

4. Consider your composition and angle

Angle is a huge part of macro photography and it takes some trial and error. I love to capture multiple different angles when shooting, and sometimes I am really surprised by my favorites. Composition is similar in that the best approach is trying different things and then assessing which ones you prefer. Macro photography can allow us to explore some of the more complex patterns of composition, like golden spiral, because we are able to slow down and thoughtfully plan our composition.

5. Pay attention to your background

I feel like a huge turning point in my own macro journey was when I realized I really like clean backgrounds. Instead of shooting flowers in a vase with other flowers creating a messy, colorful background, I tend to take one flower out alone and shoot in with a solid background like a wall or table. I use a third hand tool to hold my flowers still wherever I want to place them.

To learn more about Tiffany’s approach to photography, check out her workshops on The Art of Macro Photography and her Breakout e-course Up Close and Personal.



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