Many of us like to get up close and personal with our photography! By that I mean we like to take macro photos. There are several ways to accomplish this feat, some without spending too much money.
If you own an all in one camera, one with the lens permanently connected, your camera will have a macro mode you can select that will change how close it can focus. Some cameras will let you get as close as 1 or 2 inches from the subject allowing for some great close ups. The macro mode symbol is usually that of a flower.
Sometimes it can be found on a button on the back of the camera or it may be one of your scene modes. When this mode is chosen the camera will be in a fully automatic mode so all you need to do is concentrate on framing the shot and trying to keep the camera as still as possible. Remember that when you magnify your image by getting in close to the subject you magnify any movement as well. So maybe try using a tripod or monopod to keep the camera still.
If you own an SLR, single lens reflex, the lens that you have will determine how close to your subject you can get. The typical 18 to 55 mm lens that comes with the camera will let you get to about 9 inches.
The macro mode on an SLR will not allow the camera to focus closer, rather it changes some features in the camera that will allow it to take a better close up photo. Such as how the camera meters the scene for a good exposure, how it focuses on the subject, whether or not it fires the flash and so on. These things will make a big difference when getting in close. Remember that a tripod may be needed to get the sharpest image.
If the lens that you are using doesn’t allow you to get close enough there is always the option to buy a dedicated macro lens. These are engineered to focus much closer than the normal lens and will produce images with amazing results. The only drawback is the price, and not all of us can afford to spend a fair amount of money on a new lens. Fear not, there are a couple of affordable options that will get you up close and personal using the current lens.
One option is the use of close up filters. These screw onto the front of the lens just like a UV filter does. When they are attached they change the focusing point to a point much closer to the lens. The lens no longer focuses at infinity, nor anywhere near that, just much closer. The close up filters usually come in a kit of 3 or 4 filters, each one allowing the camera to focus closer than the other. I like the filters that Canon makes, not just because they are high quality, but the name of them tells you where they focus. The D250 filter focuses 250 millimeters in front of the lens, and the D500 at 500 millimeters. Simple and easy to use, I like that.
The only drawback to using close up filters is that you can only use them on a lens that is the same diameter as the filter. So if you buy a set of 58mm filters, they won’t fit a lens that has a 67mm filter diameter. You would have to buy another set for that lens.
A way to avoid that hassle is to buy extension tubes. (My favorite) These are hollow tubes that mount to the back of the lens and then that assembly mounts to the body of the camera. The tubes simple push the lens away from the body of the camera causing it to change its focal point to much nearer the lens. It no longer focuses at infinity, only much closer. The extension tubes are available in different depths, the further the lens is moved away from the body, the closer it will focus. The nice thing about extension tubes is that they can be used with any lens you buy because they use the lens mount to attach and that is always the same size.
So there you have it. If you like to snuggle up with your subject matter and get close, and who doesn’t, there are ways to make it happen. Try using the lens you already have. It may surprise you just how close it can get. But if it doesn’t there are a couple of options that shouldn’t break the bank that will do the trick. Just make sure to keep the camera steady so the images will be sharp.
Have fun, take lots of pictures and as one of my professors used to say, “If you come home clean, you didn’t get the shot!”
Till next time,