Learn a Mode Monday – Digital Macro Photography

Welcome to the first ever Learn a Mode Monday – my new mini-series on learning all about one of those little icons on your camera!  Today we are all about that little flower on your mode dial i.e. Digital Macro Mode.  This is absolutely one of my favorite modes for really making Wow Pictures and one of the easiest skills to acquire in beginners photography.  Want to capture that ickle bumblebee sitting on the azalea bloom?  How about getting that close-up of the detail on your wedding dress?  Digital macro photography is what you need to master!

1. First find your subject – something small like a bee, a bloom, a coin – anything tiny.

2. If you are indoors switch off your flash as it will only bounce back off your subject and the picture will appear blown out.  If you do this you will most likely need to use a tripod or have a very steady hand!  Best option – head outdoors into natural daylight.

3. Next, find the Macro Mode on your camera – it’s usually an icon of a little flower something like this :    Digital Macro Photography

4. Position your subject so it is well lit and that you are not casting your own shadow over it.  Opt for a plain background if you have the choice, something with little or no distractions in it.

5. Rather than using your zoom to get closer to your subject, leave your lens at it’s widest setting and physically move yourself closer to your subject until you have filled the frame with your subject.

6. Slightly depress your shutter button so that your camera finds it’s focus.  If you can’t focus, move slightly back and retry.  Repeat this process until your camera allows you to take a sharp, in-focus shot.

7. Bingo!  You’ve managed to capture the full beauty of that tiny, little flower  Well done!

Digital Macro Photography

It may take you a while to get the hang of this process but once you do you will be hooked.  Ask my mother in law – She turned from a photography novice to a real pro at taking macro shots all over the Costa Rica rain forest!

Please post your best Macro shots below with any questions or just to show off!

Bonus Tip: Compact cameras are usually way better at getting close up macro shots than DSLRs.  If you have a DSLR, and you want to do lots of specific Digital Macro Photography you’ll need to invest in a good macro lens such the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens for Canon users or the Nikon 105mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR for Nikon users.

If you’re just trying to get the best digital macro shot check out the new Powershot G12 from Canon.  It will allow you to get super close ups with a closest focusing distance of  you a mere 1cm.

For more Learn a Mode Tutorials from Ingrid click here

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KeHoeff - May 28, 2009

hey this is a very interesting article!

Renee - May 29, 2010

Wow I going to try my Macro setting now that I know what it’s for. Thanks so much Ingrid.

Tweets that mention Learn a Mode Monday - Digital Macro Photography | Beginners Photography Blog -- Topsy.com - December 2, 2010

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Briana - January 1, 2011

Thank you so much, I’m very interested in learning more and more about photography, I look forward to reading more from you!

Ingrid Owens - January 2, 2011

So glad you like the Blog Briana! You should subscribe to the newsletter to get some extra (almost) weekly tips!!!

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susan - April 23, 2011

Gee, thanks! I learned about the style and techniques in taking macro shots. This has been a challenge to me as a novice in photography. The bonus tips are very helpful. I was just about to ask for your recommendation or advice on what specifically to buy to meet my needs. But you already provided it so, again, thank you! Please keep on writing. I would love to hear from you and learn again.

PhotoTipMan - June 13, 2011

Great page. I love macro photography and agree that you can do so much with it. The depth of creativity available to a new photographer is almost limitless with this added to the arsenal of techniques.

I have also documented some information on macro photography tips that you may want to try. Combined with the information here, it will help novices move into a new realm of wow!

travelyn - April 7, 2012

Thankyou for this valuable little piece of information. I’m going out to practice in the garden. I never really understood how that works till now, so hopefully I will have better results. Thanks

kumar ss - May 8, 2012

Nice information and i agree that Compact cameras are good at capturing macro’s of insects and flies.

Ingrid - June 25, 2012

And they are handy to carry with you if you were out on a walk or a hike!

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