MACRO SHOOTING - Tips & Tutorials

GOLDENORFEGOLDENORFE Super ModeratorPosts: 4,612Super Moderators moderator
edited December 29, 2014 in Holy Macro
Brian Valentine - SmugMug Artist-in-Residence
<HR style="COLOR: #575757" SIZE=1><!-- / icon and title --><!-- message -->Dgrin's Lord Veterinari, Brian Valentine, is one of SmugMug's Artists-in-Residence.

Brian is an amazing Macro shooter. We're lucky to have him here!

this thread will be for all shooting technical and gear advise


Brian's Macro Learning Series

Macro Exercises #1 DOF, Aperture and diffraction

Macro Exercises #2 FOCUSING

Macro Exercises #3 FOCUS STACKING

Macro Exercises #4 Lighting

Definition of MACRO - What's a Macro?

Some earlier references and resources:

Macrophotography Tips & Links

More Macro Tips & Links


<!-- / message --><!-- sig -->___________


Phil
http://www.flickr.com/photos/goldenorfe/
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Comments

  • GOLDENORFEGOLDENORFE Super Moderator Posts: 4,612Super Moderators moderator
    edited September 10, 2009
    I get asked for pics of my gear & flash setup all the time, so here are a few gear pictures, more to follow.

    standard flash gun on a small 19mm ball head to alter flash angle, a home made diffuser with either kitchen towel or diffusion sheets from manfrotto diffusion pack to soften and diffuse the light.
    the subjects are quite often 2-6 inch infront of lens , without diffusion the light would be very harsh with blown highlights and fine detail would not be seen.

    canon 100mm macro with kenko extension tube set, kitchen towel diffusion
    3238942421_b6383364ae_o.jpg

    canon mpe-65 manfrotto diffusion sheets on home made coke can diffuser
    3239782748_814b83ca97_o.jpg

    ball head atached to a simple straight flash bracket
    3239781826_1ee7402494_o.jpg

    close up of ball head
    3238942803_5d96b96491_o.jpg

    hope this helps
    Phil
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/goldenorfe/
  • EddyEddy Lovin It!!! :) Posts: 320Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 20, 2009
    Macro MPE 56 mm lens
    Any pics done by the canon macro MPE65 mm lens i was just given one of these for my B'day in August...I would like to know how to use this awesome lens
    E.J.W

    Great understanding is broad and unhurried, Little understanding is cramped and busy" ..... Chuang Tsu
  • GOLDENORFEGOLDENORFE Super Moderator Posts: 4,612Super Moderators moderator
    edited September 21, 2009
    Eddy wrote:
    Any pics done by the canon macro MPE65 mm lens i was just given one of these for my B'day in August...I would like to know how to use this awesome lens

    congrats on the new lens, try shooting at x1- x2 mag at first. move the camera towards the subject & shoot when the eyes are in focus.
    depth of field very narrow,
    shoot f8-f11 at x1-x3 mag and f5-f7 at x3- x5 mag for a start
    just takes a lot of practise.
    what flash are you using?
    here are 3 shots, #1 &3 taken by holding leaf in left hand & resting lens on hand, keeps everything steady.

    3603970189_4aaf572b9a_o.jpg

    3480913826_7741f376a8_o.jpg

    3729698797_df7290f2f4_o.jpg
  • afterglowphotographyafterglowphotography Big grins Posts: 44Registered Users Big grins
    edited October 1, 2009
    Hey Goldenorfe ,

    Love your work any tips i use a canon 40d and canon 100mm 2.8 macro i just want to get in closer any suggestions on extention tubes? are the kenko ones ok? or do you only use canon?

    here are some of my macro shots
    http://afterglowphotography.smugmug.com/Nature/Macro-Photography/9153227_BWsVR#610579427_XLxE3

    any tips would be great

    amy
  • GOLDENORFEGOLDENORFE Super Moderator Posts: 4,612Super Moderators moderator
    edited October 1, 2009
    hi amy, yes go for the kenko auto set, they will double your magnification to just over x2. 11mm will fill frame.
    that is enough magnification to show good eye detail in your subjects
    what flash are you using?
    phil
  • afterglowphotographyafterglowphotography Big grins Posts: 44Registered Users Big grins
    edited October 2, 2009
    hey thanks for that info i dont use any flash for my photography just use available light and tripod. Should i invest in a macro ring flash?
  • GOLDENORFEGOLDENORFE Super Moderator Posts: 4,612Super Moderators moderator
    edited October 2, 2009
    no, not a ring flash! standard flash gun much better & more versatile.
    at higher magnification you need flash to bring out detail and freeze movement.
    phil
  • afterglowphotographyafterglowphotography Big grins Posts: 44Registered Users Big grins
    edited October 3, 2009
    oh cool thanks for that!

    your photo's are stunning cant wait to get into more photography next ill by some kenko extension tubes!

    Cheers again

    Amy
  • blaser321blaser321 Major grins Posts: 201Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 13, 2009
    How dose the pivot ball help? Are you setting the flash down and just getting
    the angel right or on a try pod
    5D mark II, 24-70 2.8L, 70-200 2.8 L IS
    EF 2.0x II extender BG-E6
  • GOLDENORFEGOLDENORFE Super Moderator Posts: 4,612Super Moderators moderator
    edited October 13, 2009
    blaser321 wrote:
    How dose the pivot ball help? Are you setting the flash down and just getting
    the angel right or on a try pod

    almost always shoot handheld.
    the flash needs to point directly onto subject
    as the subject distance varies so the flash angle needs altering.
    when magnification increases the flash needs to point down at the subject instead of lighting up the area behind the subject.
    especially when using mpe-65, as the barrel extends quite alot between x1 & x5 mag. you have to alter angle continiously to compensate .

    with 100mm + tubes only have to alter height usually for larger subjects, or when shooting "portrait" format.
    phil
  • cal_geckocal_gecko Grinnin Lizard Posts: 73Registered Users Big grins
    edited October 29, 2009
    anyone familiar with the pro-optic extension tubes? they are much more affordable than the Kenko tubes...

    http://www.adorama.com/MCAETEOS.html
    Canon 5D MkIII
    Canon 24-105 f/4L IS
    Canon 70-300 f/4-5.6L IS
    Canon 17-40 f/4L
    Sennheiser MKE400 shotgun Mic
  • GOLDENORFEGOLDENORFE Super Moderator Posts: 4,612Super Moderators moderator
    edited October 29, 2009
    dont know anyone using them, quite an old product i believe with plastic mounts which may not last to well. unless they have been updated
    everyone does say kenkos are best
    phil
  • cal_geckocal_gecko Grinnin Lizard Posts: 73Registered Users Big grins
    edited October 29, 2009
    GOLDENORFE wrote:
    dont know anyone using them, quite an old product i believe with plastic mounts which may not last to well. unless they have been updated
    everyone does say kenkos are best
    phil

    Yeah, they have two versions... one is the 'budget' set for $59 or so, then there's another set that has electrical connections and metal mounts, for $89 for the set.
    Canon 5D MkIII
    Canon 24-105 f/4L IS
    Canon 70-300 f/4-5.6L IS
    Canon 17-40 f/4L
    Sennheiser MKE400 shotgun Mic
  • crysjancrysjan Big grins Posts: 30Registered Users Big grins
    edited November 4, 2009
    Kenko Ext Tubes
    I had Kenko extention tubes before and I end up selling it because I have having a hardtime focusing. I have the 100mm Canon lens at this time and I would like to upgrade it. Is it better to get the MPE 65 or the new Canon 100mm L



    GOLDENORFE wrote:
    hi amy, yes go for the kenko auto set, they will double your magnification to just over x2. 11mm will fill frame.
    that is enough magnification to show good eye detail in your subjects
    what flash are you using?
    phil
  • GOLDENORFEGOLDENORFE Super Moderator Posts: 4,612Super Moderators moderator
    edited November 4, 2009
    hard question to answer, i do use both.
    what subjects are you shooting?
    the mpe isnt really an upgrade from the 100, as it does not focus to infinite it is more restrictive in its use and is used in addition to 100mm.
    if you couldnt focus with ex tubes on your 100mm macro you will really struggle to use the mpe with its shorter focus distance where correct focusing is critical at high magnifications.

    phil
    crysjan wrote:
    I had Kenko extention tubes before and I end up selling it because I have having a hardtime focusing. I have the 100mm Canon lens at this time and I would like to upgrade it. Is it better to get the MPE 65 or the new Canon 100mm L
  • JapersJapers student Posts: 30Registered Users Big grins
    edited September 2, 2010
    ? For MP-E Users
    For those of you who use the MP-E, how dark is that lens through the viewfinder? Specifically at 3x and above.. If you could compare it to a 100mm with tubes or a 50mm with a 2x TC for example..
  • Lord VetinariLord Vetinari Smugbug Posts: 15,042Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 2, 2010
    Japers wrote: »
    For those of you who use the MP-E, how dark is that lens through the viewfinder? Specifically at 3x and above.. If you could compare it to a 100mm with tubes or a 50mm with a 2x TC for example..
    It does get quite dim depending obviously on the subject and magnification but I've never found it too much of a problem. Some people do rig up LED focus light aids to help with this.

    Brian v.
  • JapersJapers student Posts: 30Registered Users Big grins
    edited September 2, 2010
    That was my next question, obviously a ring flash wouldn't be preferable given the focusing distance at its higher mags (I currently shoot with Sigma's EM-140), but possibly a twin flash with modeling lamps? I've read that the 1D and the 7D are much brighter than say the 40D as well, which may help. Thanks for the input Brian!
  • ArturMArturM Artur Posts: 1Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited September 10, 2010
    Initially I had Olympus Camedia C-5060 for macro photography and it was quite hard to have background blurred – now, with typical DSLR with macro lens it is quite opposite – I have to choode aperture range at least 5.6-8 to have an object sharp enough.
    I would introduce you to my website about macro photography and ask what you think about it. There aere some tips on issue and small gallery of macro pictures - http://www.macro-photography.eu
  • fronsfrons Needs software :-/ Posts: 90Registered Users Big grins
    edited March 29, 2011
    I am planning to get out a bit more this year, but I really need some advice on my flash technique. I've been using the pop-up flash for fill in bright sun or to add a bit of zip to subjects in shade or early morning light. I want my shots to have more even lighting and brighter colors.

    I've noted Phil and Brian's flash setups and plan to do something similar. My main question is whether similar results are possible with a greater flash-to-subject distance? Working distance for smaller subjects is often very small, but I will generally be farther away and will have more "space" to light. My other concern is the effect on highlights and whether diffused flash will produce harsh results on dew (I guess the many dewdrop shots I've seen may answer that question?).

    Here are some shots I've posted before whose colors I think could have been richer with stronger, diffused flash lighting. I think all three had some fill from the pop-up, though I'd need to check the EXIF. Any thoughts?
    www.dgrin.com[img][/img][URL=%22http://www.flickr.com/photos/42993036@N05/4054290167/"]4054290167_cf9c06f47a_b.jpg[/url]4024978292_4340901dc7_b.jpg


    4023793626_5fae5db73a_b.jpg


    4054290167_cf9c06f47a_b.jpg
  • Lord VetinariLord Vetinari Smugbug Posts: 15,042Registered Users Major grins
    edited March 30, 2011
    Not quite sure what you want to achieve. I actually prefer natural dull or early morning natural light shots to any form of flash and tend to only use fill flash when I'm faced with a slight backlit subject.
    A diffused bracket mounted flash should give better results than a naked pop up flash but you are correct in thinking the working distance matters and suspect you will get bright reflections from dewdrops etc and possibly double light reflections from both the sun and the flash.
    I suspect it's a case of try it and see how you get on but hard to see how you could improve on shots like #3

    Brian V.
  • fronsfrons Needs software :-/ Posts: 90Registered Users Big grins
    edited March 30, 2011
    Thanks, Brian, I think I am just going to give it a go and see if I like the results. Some may like the natural light, but early morning light is too blue for my taste. One of my concerns is that the background is just going to go black, but it may not turn out as bad as I think.

    Another reason to try the off-camera flash is to get away from the tripod. I began using the Nikon 200, and now the Sigma 150, and have always used a tripod; hand-holding will be something new for me. The slow shutter speeds required at dawn are always challenging.

    And then there are those rare shots, like #3, that are just fine without a big blast of light. :D
  • Lord VetinariLord Vetinari Smugbug Posts: 15,042Registered Users Major grins
    edited March 30, 2011
    Well half the fun of photography is trying new and different things :)
    BTW not sure if you have seen Remy's stuff on flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/remus3374/ but he does a lot of early morning natural light shooting often with a tripod or a bean bag.
    I tend to only shoot in my garden and can't find early morning bugs- they only appear when the sun comes out :) so have to content myself with early morning dewdrops instead :)
    Brian v.
  • GOLDENORFEGOLDENORFE Super Moderator Posts: 4,612Super Moderators moderator
    edited March 30, 2011
    shooting at longer focal distances with flash is more difficult, i have shot with 70-300 is & 100mm macro for dragons and used flash with resonable results, mostly in apperture priority, higher iso and reducing shutterspeed down to 1/40th - 1/100th to ballance background light. works great with standard 100mm macro for spider in web shots where full flash produces black background.
    flash just lifts the slightly dark areas.
    do prefer nat light for full body shots dragons/damsels & butts :D
  • fronsfrons Needs software :-/ Posts: 90Registered Users Big grins
    edited April 4, 2011
    I just received a second-hand SB-600 and noticed in the manual that the near limit of automatic TTL use is only 2 ft., just like many other flashes. In a quick test with the flash shoe-mounted, a shot from about 2 ft. was exposed properly, but shots taken much closer were underexposed. Are you using the flash in TTL mode with the mpe-65 or similar close setup, or are you shooting in manual mode using trial-and-error and experience to get the best exposure?
  • GOLDENORFEGOLDENORFE Super Moderator Posts: 4,612Super Moderators moderator
    edited April 5, 2011
    frons wrote: »
    I just received a second-hand SB-600 and noticed in the manual that the near limit of automatic TTL use is only 2 ft., just like many other flashes. In a quick test with the flash shoe-mounted, a shot from about 2 ft. was exposed properly, but shots taken much closer were underexposed. Are you using the flash in TTL mode with the mpe-65 or similar close setup, or are you shooting in manual mode using trial-and-error and experience to get the best exposure?


    you might find that mounted on the hot shoe the light is not lighting up the area nearer the lens, better mount off camera so flash can be angled to light closer to focal distance being used.
    ttl works fine with mpe, shooting in manual on camera ,just need to alter flash exposure compensation for different subject - background lighting differences. usually only +- 1 stop
  • Mcfly682Mcfly682 Big grins Posts: 22Registered Users Big grins
    edited September 12, 2011
    Hi Phil. I really love your helpful tips and spectacular macro shots. This is something i find just amazing at seeing details that i have been looking at for my entire life and never seen. I want to give this a go and am preparing my next setup. Where might be a good place to locate the ball head and clamp used in your setup? Do you find your DIY diffusers to be more effective than a standard square type diffuser?

    Thank you for being so generous with your knowledge.

    Chris
  • GOLDENORFEGOLDENORFE Super Moderator Posts: 4,612Super Moderators moderator
    edited September 14, 2011
    hi Chris, i use 2x 19mm novoflex mini ball heads , which give every angle needed to alter flash angle, they are attached to a very old straight metal flash bracket. in usa check out b&h , think they sell all the pieces you need.
    home made diffusers are always superior to commercially available products as they are constructed for your specific requirements. took me 2 years of experimenting to get the light how i like it!
  • Butterfly2011Butterfly2011 Major grins Posts: 269Registered Users Major grins
    edited February 16, 2012
    GOLDENORFE wrote: »
    congrats on the new lens, try shooting at x1- x2 mag at first. move the camera towards the subject & shoot when the eyes are in focus.
    depth of field very narrow,
    shoot f8-f11 at x1-x3 mag and f5-f7 at x3- x5 mag for a start
    just takes a lot of practise.
    what flash are you using?
    here are 3 shots, #1 &3 taken by holding leaf in left hand & resting lens on hand, keeps everything steady.

    3603970189_4aaf572b9a_o.jpg

    3480913826_7741f376a8_o.jpg

    3729698797_df7290f2f4_o.jpg


    I just love Macro Photography!!! I've been looking between the Kenko Extention Tubes or Raynox 150 & 250. Your photos here are exactly what I want to achieve! I have a Nikon D90 I have 3 lens right now a Nikon 85mm 1.8F, Tameron 17-50mm & Tameron 70-200mm. Now can I just add something on one of these lens or would I have to buy another lens plus add one of these on. Not wanting to spend alot. I really need someone's advice, when I look online there is so much out there. Thank u!
  • GOLDENORFEGOLDENORFE Super Moderator Posts: 4,612Super Moderators moderator
    edited February 18, 2012
    Without spending too much ,kenko extension tubes will increase magnification on all of your lens`s , you will not get the same image quality using zoom lens compared to a macro lens though.
    you could also think about getting a secondhand 100mm macro + ex tubes to get x2 magnification, you will need to use flash at higher magnifications, have u got a standard flash gun?
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