Tutorial: Macro Photography

Composing and focusing

When you start moving in close to a subject, placing it centrally in the frame usually creates the best interest and impact.

Peak moment, You Connect member Willem Melssen, Canon EOS 50D

Backgrounds become less important, because they will usually be out-of-focus. That’s because depth-of-field will be at a minimum. Depth-of-field is the area of the image that appears to be in focus. When shooting landscapes with a wide-angle focal length (28mm, for example), depth-of-field can extend from a few metres in front of the camera to infinity. However, with close-up photography, depth-of-field is very narrow, sometimes only a few millimetres wide.

Using Aperture Priority AE (Av) shooting mode and setting a small lens aperture (such as f/16 or f/22) will increase the depth-of-field a little, but means that you will have to set a slow shutter speed increasing the risk of blur from camera shake. If you do need a short exposure, then raise the ISO to compensate.

With a very limited depth-of-field, accurate focusing is critical. If possible, switch off autofocusing and focus manually. This lets you choose the point-of-focus, rather than leaving it to the camera. 

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