For those of you unfamiliar with the term, macro photography is the art of taking extremely close up images of objects. It is tremendous fun, and with a little time and practice, macro photography can provide you with some extraordinary images!
Technically speaking, macro images are defined as images captured at life size or greater (1:1 or higher), and achieving this level of magnification requires special gear. A tripod will aid you by reducing motion, which is crucial at this level of magnification. Ultraviolet filters help in filtering out ultraviolet light, but more importantly, protect your camera lens from dirt and scrapes. This is a truly cost effective solution in taking care of your gear, because the most important piece of macro photography gear is the lens.
When you are just beginning with macro photography, a 50mm macro camera lens is a good place to start. A reasonable one can be obtained for well below $330. While looking to purchase your 50mm macro (or any size macro for that matter), you will generally see a pair of numbers around the product headline, something like “Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro Lens.” The first number refers to the camera’s lens length (in this case, 50mm), and the other is its f-stop value. F-stop (likewise identified as f-number, focal ratio, f-ratio) is a focal length divided by the aperture size and offers a quantitative way of measuring lens speed.
Both of these numbers are important, as macro lenses do not have any zoom capability. This requires you to be very close to a shot’s intended topic area. Placing a lens so near to a shot’s object reduces both the light level and the depth of field, and it means that the focus of the shot should be on just one facet of the subject. A smaller aperture may alleviate the difficulty of a shallow depth of field, though this further lessens the light level. Working with a flash or another man-made source of light can improve the shot.
Macro photography is a fairly specialized area, and there are more precise details available on the subject in books and instructional videos, as well as on the web.
Best of luck!
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