Macro, as you probably very well know, stands for close-up photography. Why it’s called macro though, I have no idea. A much better name would be “Micro“, really. Anyhow, shooting macro photos is an amazing thing, because you get to observe all the tiny details of the subject magnified beyond what you human eye can normally see.
A major problem that comes to the surface often when doing macro photography is the sharpness of the photos: the macro shots are often not very sharp. Here we will give a number of tips on improving the sharpness of your macro photos.
But before moving to the actual tips, let us firs examine closely the definition of macro photography. True macro doesn’t mean just close-up shots. It means more precisely that the object of your photo is magnified by the lens to be the same size as the imaging sensor of your camera. However, the sharpness problem is universal to any type of macro photography.
Here are Four Essential Steps for Taking Sharper Macro Photos
- Do not shoot from the minimum focus distance of your lens. Every lens, even if it’s not a dedicated macro lens, has a minimum focus distance. It is actually the closest distance between the object and the lens, while the object is still being sharp. Move your finger close toward your eyes and you will see this phenomenon at work. At one point your finger won’t be sharp any more. The lens, as well as your eye, are not capable of focusing on objects closer than the minimum focus distance.So, simply don’t approach this distance too much. You are pushing the limits of the focusing capabilities of your lens, and it won’t produce the sharpest picture.Rather, move away from this limit a bit and the resulting photo will be much sharper. Of course, you won’t get as close to the object as before and the it won’t be as large, but the sharpness should be your priority anyway.
- Use a Tripod. You are shooting something really small, and because of that any camera shakes can ruin your photo, or at least introduce a significant blurring effect. If you hold your camera and press the shutter button, this action introduces even more shakes. To prevent camera shakes, use a tripod. A good one, if you can afford it and you will notice a dramatic increase in sharpness to your photos.
- The wind can ruin you photo as well. Similar to tip number 2, this tip says the same only from the other end. If you have stabilized your camera shakes, make sure the object itself isn’t moving. Because, it will essentially create the same problems.Sharpness problems of this type can occur while shooting flowers. Even a slight wind can make the flower you are shooting to oscillate very fast, and this movement will destroy the sharpness of your photo.
- Use a sharper lens. If you’ve exhausted all the other options, and your photos are still not sharp enough, maybe the problem is in your lens. Luckily, both Canon and NIkon offer very good and inexpensive 50mm prime lenses that are sharp even close to their close-up distance. They are a good option to be considered if you want to improve the macro photography on the cheap.
What do you think about taking sharp Macro Photos? How to you do it? Why don’t you share your experience in the comment section below?