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Photography Lesson Number 5

Journal Entry: Fri Oct 24, 2014, 5:12 AM

Macro Photography

So second on my poll of “what the fuck lesson should I write next?” list was macro/close up photography. Now I should warn you that I have NO experience of this genre at all BUT…when has that ever stopped me pretending to sound like I know what I’m doing?

So everybody.....sing all with me :music: "all the.....small things....." :music:


First and fucking foremost, the important thing about macro photography is…drumroll…finding something small to photograph. What’s that I hear you cry? You can do macro photography on big things? Yes you can. But you have to find SMALL interesting details on big things, DUMMY. Macro photography is basically photographing a small subject so that it looks greater than life size in the image. So get out your magnifying glass and find a fucking small thing to photograph. Favourite subject matters of macro photography include: bugs/insects, water droplets and flower stamen. All are easily and readily available so that even borderline idiots like you can find them to point a camera at.


* Camera – “Check” Don’t say check if it’s not in the bag, dummy.

* Lenses – “Check” You will probably need a specific macro lens to do macro photography that doesn’t suck balls. The general consensus is that a macro lens of 100m – 200m is the goldilocks range as you can get not too far/not too close to your subject and not fuck up your lighting or scare the shit out of that bug.

* Tubes – “Check” If you have moths in your pockets instead of money then you might not be able to afford an actual macro lens. In this case buy extension tubes for your regular lens. They fit between the rear mount of the lens and the camera body to make the lens focus closer and therefore produce a much bigger image of a small subject for half the fucking spondulicks.

* Dioptre – “Check” If you are too poor to buy a macro lens and don’t want tubes then dioptre are another option. Dioptre are close-up filters – like a single-element lens which looks like a magnifying glass. These filters screw into the front element thread and come in a variety of strengths that are measured in dioptres. HENCE THE NAME, sigh. Close-up filters are often available in sets of +1,+2 or +4 dioptre magnification.

* Tripod – “Check” You probably will need one of these as you want your image to be sharp. And remember – you’re shaky, clumsy hams of hands aren’t the steadiest. Unless of course, you’re going to the great outdoors on a bug hunt in which case you MIGHT go hand held. Or if you’re using flash cos you can freeze the subject using that. Another option is to buy a third hand. NO – don’t purchase the severed limb of a 3rd world citizen you SICKO. It’s like a mechanical arm with a clamp for a hand which can be attached to things to hold them still. NO NO NO – don’t attach it to the bugs…

* Background – “Check” A lot of macro photography is done in a set environment prepared by the photographer. You can have A3 sheets of coloured card or paper to change the colour/look/feel of your background.


Set your aperture to a high f number. This is a “small aperture” which I know is confusing for a spacko like you but bear with me. Basically, there is no depth of field at macro distances. Because there is no depth-of-field when you're this close, shoot everything at about from f16 upwards. You probably want all the fucking things inside the confines of the image to be in focus so THIS MAKES SENSE RIGHT? Your shutter speed should be synced with your flash because YES you should probably use flash to help freeze the subject matter in the longer exposure required with a small aperture. LET ME PUT IT IN TERMS YOU GET – shutter speed of 1/125 or 1/500 to match your brand of flash. Use TTL mode so the camera does it for you. Otherwise you’ll fuck it up. On the other hand you may wish to go to the other extreme and show as little sharpness as possible by opening up to full aperture like f/2.8 or f/4. At this range you will get a nice fuzzy background and probably some bokeh (background bubbly light things to you) so this is where point of focus becomes important. See those little red dots on your viewfinder when you half pressure the shutter button? You can choose which of those focus on what in the image. Most cameras have a wheel to turn or button to press to manually select the focus point. Or have someone else read the instructions to you.


Focusing distance – Those useless holes in your skull where your eyeballs are located are used to seeing everything from at least one to two feet away. That’s 30 - 60 cm for French people. Your eyes aren't comfortable — or can't in your near-blind case — focus closer than about a foot (30 cm), so macro photos made closer than this give unnatural perspectives. You don’t want people thinking you AND your photos look weird, right? Using a lens at least a 100mm lens lets us get far enough away, and still have enough magnification. Goldilocks. At 200mm you’ll have two foot of clearance – what the pros call “working distance”. It gives you a chance to light the subject well without your gargantuan head casting a shadow or scaring the bejesus out of that butterfly.

Lighting – Use flash. Simple as. You need more of an explanation? For fuck sake….some macro photographers use two flashes mounted on opposite sides of the lens. Ring flashes are another option. Flash tubes arranged in a circle around the front of the lens. Ring lights have emerged, using white LEDs to provide a continuous light source for macro photography however they are not as bright as a ring flash. If you have a set and are indoors then opt for plug-into-the-wall studio strobes. BASICALLY a high f number needs a longer exposure time in natural light so using flash helps to freeze the image, get it? I hope so.

Water droplets – Macro freaks like to photograph these on their own so maybe you would too. Try using a colour light source to cause creative colours in the droplet. You can also use droplets beside a bug to give a sense of SCALE. Guys, you know how you trim your pubes to make your dick look bigger? Well, plop a droplet beside that ladybug to show off just how close up you got. Yeah…

Fill the frame – since there isn’t really any depth of field and the background will be fuzzy and boring like your hair then you should probably fill the frame as much as possible with the close up of your subject. Bugs have interesting eyes – fill the frame with them. The water droplet has funky reflections and diffraction – fill the frame with that. Your fingernails have interesting shades of brown under them from all the filth – fill the frame with that.

So that all these lovely facts with you and go out into the garden on your hands and knees and start searching for worms to photograph up close. Do it now. Do it in the rain. Do it with a gimpish smile. Go!


Nemesis - righteous infliction of retribution manifested by an appropriate agent. Personified in this case by an 'orrible cunt... me.
Artist | Hobbyist | Photography
United Kingdom
I spent my money on birds, booze and fast cars....the rest I squandered.

I have been writing Photography Lesson Journals. So far I've covered 1. The basics of Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO 2. Star Photography and 3. Landscape Photography. What would you like to see next? 

17 deviants said Animal Photography
16 deviants said Close up/Macro Photography
13 deviants said Portrait Photography
3 deviants said Other (comment)
2 deviants said Sports Photography
1 deviant said Please don't write any more lessons because they are shit.


Oct 24, 2014
1:27 pm
Oct 24, 2014
1:10 pm
Oct 24, 2014
11:29 am
Oct 24, 2014
7:06 am
Oct 24, 2014
5:20 am


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Sergiba Featured By Owner 4 days ago
Thanks for the fav! always very much appreciated. :hug:
Buntcone Featured By Owner 4 days ago  Hobbyist Photographer
Not a problem :)
kocoze Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2014  New member
well,it was long and great trip trough your gallery
Buntcone Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
A journey around europe haha :D i hope it was enjoyable?
kocoze Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2014  New member
very much ,thanks
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