by Brent Bergherm
The old cliché “stop and smell the roses” certainly applies to macro photography. To get good results, you must slow down and be very methodical.
I encourage you to take a moment, without a camera, to study the finer details in any subject you find. Be it flowers, bugs, textures. Look at it, study it, feel it. Get to know your subject. The smaller, the better. Get in to the details.
Macro shooting is way more than simply crafting an image with good composition, color and texture. I do try to look for all of those things in my images, frequently emphasizing one more than others. But with macro, you enter a world that is completely different than your own.
Take this inch-worm for example. Normally, we see a tiny little thing, barely a millimeter in diameter, literally inching along. It’s wonderful to pause and watch it go about it’s life. But when magnified, its details are nothing short of amazing. Check out the feet. The mouth. What about the intricate designs on the side of the head, oh yeah, that must be its eyes!
The characteristics of light are especially important when shooting macro. The perception of subjects change when you can see all the fine details. This floral sprig, for example, would be absolutely terrible in harsh light. I go for open shade or use modifiers to ensure I get wonderfully soft light when I’m shooting a subject like this.
Sometimes the subject calls for light that’s more harsh. Then I say go ahead and use it. Using appropriate light is equally important as composing the scene properly. But even if I have a harsh or sharp subject, soft light can still allow the texture to really come through in macro.
Don’t be afraid to create your own reality either. This photo of Tithonia was created with a fine water mister and a plastic syringe. I placed the drops right where I wanted them. For even bigger drops, get some glycerin from your local Wal-Mart or other store that carries everything.