4.29.2011

Macro Photography...When You Don't Have A Macro Lens!

I have always had a huge interest in macro photography. It is actually one of my favorite types of photography. I am always challenging myself to better my photos. Get closer, get more detail. However, I do not own a macro lens. Therefore, my photos are not actually "macro", as much as they are just "close-up" photos...and any professional photographer can tell the difference. Many lenses, as well as cameras, have options for shooting in 'macro mode' or 'close-up' mode. You can get pretty close to your subject, but not close enough for it to be considered "macro" photography. Yes, I can get the super close photos of a bug on a flower, or raindrops on a leaf. But what about those photos where you can actually see the little hairs on an insect? Or your own reflection in a raindrop? I try so hard, but I can only get so close with my standard lens. 

Macro lenses are specifically designed for this kind of work. With their long barrel for close focusing, they make it easy to get those super close shots without having to get so close, you realize you are actually touching your subject with your camera lens! Oops! They generally can also focus to infinity, and achieve incredibly high magnification. Some photographers also use extension tubes. These are tubes placed between your camera body and the lens. They are designed to increase the distance between the sensor and the lens, therefore, allowing higher magnification. This is an option that I have been looking into since I cannot afford an actual macro lens at this time. Another option I had been considering was placing an auxiliary close-up attachment lens to my standard lens. These are inexpensive screw-in or slip-on attachments, that claim to provide close-up focusing at a low cost. A very low cost! I found a couple of these things on Amazon, as well as eBay for about $20! However, after doing a lot of research, quality is just something that I am NOT willing to sacrifice, no matter how slight it may be. It is also very hard to trust some manufacturers and their products, and I would rather save the money for a product of quality, rather than adding something cheap {that may not work} on to my camera and ruining it. In my opinion, it's just not worth the risk, for me.

So I have been doing a little experimenting with my photos. Since the photos taken with my SLR are larger files, I can crop the photo significantly and still have a great quality photo. By cropping away all the unnecessary background, this helps to make my subject in close-up photos stand out more. By the way, manufacturers would have you believe that the higher number of megapixels your camera has, the better the quality of the photo. This is not true and I will touch upon that more in a later post. So let's move on to an example. The following photo was taken with my SLR at the lake last week. The two photos that follow it are the exact same photo as the first one, except I have cropped each one a little more.






I was amazed when I saw that last photo! What a huge difference just from cropping! Here are a couple more examples...

Before crop...


After crop...



Before crop...


 After crop...



The last photo was actually taken with my Nikon Coolpix. One of the best pocket digital cameras I have ever used, and it has an AWESOME 'close-up' setting! One day I will have an actual macro lens. Until then, I work with what I have...and so far, this cropping of my up-close photos seems to do. Whichever way you decide to do your macro photos, keep shooting and keep being creative!

~xoxo~

19 comments:

  1. Melissa, these pictures are AMAZING!!! It makes me never want to put another picture on my blog because mine are just with a little Canon point & shoot! Have a great weekend!

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  2. Wow!!!! These pictures are amazing!! I have been getting really into photography as well and I can't decide if I want a telephoto or macro lens...but your pics are swaying me! Found your blog on boost my blog fri
    -following!

    Delighted Momma

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  3. I agree amazing is the one word that popped into my mind. Ill have to check out the cool pix. I have a nice canon but it got dropped and doesn't zoom and in out that well anymore

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  4. love the pics awesome they really pop newest follower from the hop looking forward to more great posts
    http://everydayproductsandmore.blogspot.com/

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  5. Great photos! I really love the last photo! Happy SITS DAY!!

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  6. That bee one is fantastic cropped!
    Glad you show us how to get this without the fancy camera/lenses!
    I have digitial SLR but I'm frustrated with how to get it to do what i want manually - like, I can;t figure out how to adjust/set the aperture, or shutter speed, even though I have an Aperture/shutter priority feature.
    Anyway, you don't want to know all that! You're want to hear me say how GREAT your photos are!
    And they ARE.
    The water droplets on the leaf close up are amazing.
    But the dandelion?
    I like that one uncropped best xx

    Happy SITS day!

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  7. I love these. You are inspiring me to keep at my photography until it's good!

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  8. Beautiful pictures! Very creative thinking girl.

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  9. These are beautiful. And I learned a lot from your post. Good job!

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  10. Wow! Love the one with the bee! I am just getting into photography myself and I love close up pics too. I found your blog thru SITS and I will now have to follow your blog :)

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  11. Wow who needs a macro lens after seeing what you have done without one..beautiful!

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  12. I love my sans-macro camera as well ... but your photos have inspired me to explore my photography a bit more. Thanks for walking me through it!

    Enjoy your SITS day!

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  13. I have a Fuji Finepix and it takes some amazing close up pictures. But I havent cropped my pictures like you have I am going to start those were some amazing pictures.

    Happy SITS Day!!!

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  14. The images you've posted here are really nice, really sweet pictures.

    However...the vanity tags that mark them as yours are so huge that they are distracting from the image you've captured, in my opinion.

    Try not to take offense: just do a bit of reading on pro photography sites, and see what those photographers have to say.

    Hope this has been a terrific SITS day for you! You have a lovely, lovely blog!

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  15. I LOVE macro photography! That is such a creative idea- and beautiful photos!

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  16. Love your photos and advice. I also use the cropping trick and am always amazed at how easy it is to get a better close up! I'm on the Macro Lens bandwagon too. Sigh- maybe someday.

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  17. Amazing photos! I need to get me a macro lens!

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  18. What BEAUTIFUL photos! SLR? I so want and need to take a basic photography class. I'd really like to polish my skills. I will be in the market soon for a new digital camera. I'm wondering if I should check out that Nikon Coolpix!

    I realize I'm a little late visiting for your SITS day, but I hope it was a wonderful day for you! I will be back to check out more of your photography info... great info in this post!

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