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Macro photography reveals the world’s hidden detail in all its glory, turning subjects once mundane, into the truly magnificent. Here are three projects for you to try…

Image by Marcus Clackson

1. Get Close to Detail


UNCOVER THE UNSEEN PATTERNS FOUND IN EVERYDAY OBJECTS
Macro photography is all about capturing the things that would normally be imperceptible to the human eye. Filling your frame with a texture’s concealed shapes and patterns is a great basis for a strong graphic image.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT LENS
A true macro lens is capable of a 1:1 magnification ratio or greater. This means if a subject is 10mm square in size, its projection onto the camera’s sensor at its closest focus distance will take up a life-size 10mm square area also. When shooting with high sensor resolutions like the 20.4 megapixels of the OM-D E-M1 Mark II this results in extremely detailed files, where tiny sections of an object can be displayed at a monstrous size.

Image by Adriana Vedula

Olympus has two true macro lenses for you to choose from, the M.Zuiko 60mm F2.8 Macro and the M.Zuiko 30mm F3.5 Macro. Try filling your image’s frame with textures that have repeating patterns or objects with very fine detail for graphic-looking macro shots that intrigue viewers. Flowers are ideal subjects for macro photography, but see if you can think outside of the box and look for alternative subjects.

Image by Frank Rückert

2. Have Fun with Figurines

CONSTRUCT YOUR OWN MACRO SCENES USING MINIATURES
Not every macro creation has to be removed of narrative and context. Why not embrace humour and try building a Lilliputian world populated by its own cast of matchbox-sized models for a light-hearted photo series?

BUILD A SCENE
One of the best aspects of macro photography is that you can try your hand at it just about anywhere, and with any subject matter you can imagine. The dining room table or garden patio are the ideal workspaces for producing macro masterpieces.

Image by Mandy Edwards

Recently, a photography trend has emerged for photographing small-scale figures interacting with real-world objects and locations. A huge variety of these tiny characters are available to buy cheaply at hobby stores and online, in a wide range of themes including workmen, sports players, beachgoers and even pirates. Select a character, grab your macro lens and camera, and explore the world in miniature for humorous narrative-driven shots.

Image by Niklas Nilsson

3. Create an Arty Abstract

EMPHASISE A SUBJECT’S INTRICACY IN A PRINT-WORTHY IMAGE
Translucent and perforated subjects offer the opportunity to experiment with illumination and colour in your images. The delicate beauty of a skeletal leaf could be the ideal focus for a modern art photo deserving of a place on your wall.

PLAY WITH COLOUR & LIGHT
The shallow depths-of-field that are produced by the close focus distances required for macro photography mean that the background behind a subject quickly becomes blurred. Alongside the wide apertures of the M.Zuiko 60mm F2.8 and M.Zuiko 30mm F3.5 macro lenses you can use this creatively to produce some impressive illumination and colour effects that bring images to life.

Image by Valentine Angerer

Try placing a tablet or computer screen a few inches behind your subject and set it to display an image with the colours you’d like your background to have (you could use Photoshop or other editing software to create a soft colour gradient). The soft and vibrant illumination it casts will add a dreamy look to your photos. This technique works particularly well with perforated and semi-translucent subjects, where light will shine through them dynamically, revealing even more fine detail.

Article featured in Olympus Magazine Issue 57 – to see the latest copy of this free digital magazine click here.