Macro Photography with
Rick Alvarnaz


I. What is Macro Photography?
  A. “close up” vs. “life size” magnification
   (subject fits in a 35 mm slide image area)
  B. True macro photography has always been described
       as “life size” (1:1) or larger subject magnification.
      (L.S. = passport photo, Half L.S. = 3” x 5“)

II. Why macro photography?
  A. Wide variety of subjects to photograph. Commonplace
       objects at close range reveal beautiful textures and patterns.
  B. Close views yield photos with impact as they eliminate
       extraneous background material.
  C. So many great macro subjects are available just by
      stepping outside and do not require distant (and expensive )
      travel.

III. Equipment considerations
  A. Many of us already have the basic equipment needed
      for close up photography. (most zoom lenses have some
      close-up capability to get started). Many close up subjects
      do not require specialized equipment. A dedicated macro
      lens is not always necessary.
  B. A good tripod (size based on focal length and
      magnification) Keep digital crop factor in mind!
  C. Diopter lenses and extension tubes
  D. A cable release or self-timer
  E. A reflector/diffuser
  F. “The Plamp” or a pipe cleaner?
  G. The advantages of a true macro lens:
       - ”Life-size” or “half life size” without accessories.
       -Why focal length is important: field of view & working
         distance.
  H. A “mobile” butterfly/insect photo rig
  I. A general macro photography setup

IV. Working “in the field”
  A. Lighting outdoors for best results.
      -bright overcast is best.
      -modifying bright sunlight with a diffuser or flash to
        reduce contrast
     -dealing with the wind: shooting early, and being
       patient!
    -using ISO and shutter speed for sharpness
    -white balance affects the color of your images!
  B. Aperture and depth of field (DOF)
    -Focus carefully! Choose your point of focus.
    -low F number means shallow DOF, (soft fore and background)
    -high F number means deep DOF, (more detail throughout)
    -shorter focal length lens offers appearance of deeper
      DOF at same aperture; “roundness” effect.
    -longer focal length lens offers appearance of shallow
      DOF at same aperture; causes “compression” effect.
    -longer distance from subject offers more DOF
    -shorter distance from subject offers less DOF
  C. Exposure
    -proper exposure in camera makes better images with
      less editing time!
   -exposure can be a subjective, creative choice.
   -whites need special attention to preserve detail;
     bracket and underexpose slightly.
  D. Composition
    -with one bold subject, fill the frame!
    -use other out of focus elements to complement the subject.
    -Strive for simple, uncluttered backgrounds.
    -Try creative cropping options in post-processing.
  E. What to do with all of these great close-up images?
    -Make greeting or note cards to share!
    -Adding text to your images
    Font types
    Choosing font colors, size
    Flatten the image!