Using the Macro mode on your camera

Today’s post comes courtesy of Moonyarn. After last weeks post about putting copywrite onto photos I asked people what else they would like information on. @Moonyarn responded with a great idea –

how to get in-focus close-up with blurred background on a (decent!) point-and-shoot camera? Have been playing with macro.

So as always I shall attempt to oblige.

Macro is usually represented as a flower:


This mode allows you to take close up pictures of objects, showing off details beautifully. It uses a large aperture to create a shallow depth of field and to blur the background. (I may be wrong but I think that this means that the lens lets a small amount of light through thus only picking up the details in the things closest to the camera.)

This brings me to my first point: if the aim is to show off details then ALL details, including the bad ones will show up.

Tip 1: Ensure that your object is as perfect as you can make it when using this mode, polish, iron …do whatever you need to do to make sure any imperfections are minimalised. (Some imperfections can be edited out at a later date but it is easier to do everything that you can in order to take the best possible picture at the start.)

Tip 2: It may be worth investing in a tripod as close up shots will show shaky hands! You do not have to spend a lot of money books may be enough. Alternatively you can make your own version of a tripod.

2013-05-21 19.24

This is an idea that comes in the book: The Crafter’s Guide To Taking Great Photos.

Tip 3: Again to minimise camera shake I have read that it is quite a good idea to use the timing option on your camera as this avoids shaking the camera as you push the button.

When I use Macro (and I do a fair bit) it is useful to remember which part of the piece you are focusing on as the whole picture will not be in focus.

rope 2 013

I hope that you can see that in this photograph the foreground is in focus but the background is not? This feature is very useful and can be used to really highlight details on your work.

Tip 4: As you are focusing on a particular area of your object and the whole picture will not be in focus it is probably best to keep the background simple so as not to draw the eye away from the detail you are trying to show.

Tip 5: I would really advise you to go back to your instruction manual for your camera model and read what it says about the macro choice for your camera. Despite I have read the manual for my camera fairly recently I know that I need to go back and read mine again. Writing this has made that very clear. When I have done this, and if I learn anything really crucial I will share it with you (obviously!) 🙂

If you have anything else that you would like me to have a look at then do please ask and I shall do my best to help (it helps me too so I am more than happy :))


4 thoughts on “Using the Macro mode on your camera

  1. David Ogilvie

    Hi – with regards to aperture, having a large aperture (for instance, f2.8) will create a shallow depth of field and allow MORE light in than a smaller aperture (eg. f22). This is simply because the aperture leaves inside the lens are further apart, hence creating a larger ring behind the front element of glass in the lens. So a larger aperture will let more light in.
    As a side note, with the larger apertures letting more light in for macro photography, faster shutter speeds can be used. This means you have less chance of camera shake and dont need hugely expensive lighting equipment! 🙂


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