Macro photography can open up an amazing world of wonderful details, changing the everyday into exciting, stunning images. Here are three simple projects to try!
1. FREEZE WILDLIFE
CAPTURE MINIATURE WILDLIFE WITH STRIKING END RESULTS
Tiny insects and bugs can be easy to spot, but tricky to capture in the perfect light given their erratic nature and size. Give yourself a helping hand to bring all of their detail to life with Olympus‘ dedicated macro light!
KIT NEEDED: CAMERA, MACRO LENS AND MACRO LENS
We recommend the OM-D E-M1 Mark II with either the M.ZUIKO 60mm f/2.8 MACRO or M.ZUIKO 30mm f/3.5 MACRO and STF-8 Macro Flash
The beauty of macro photography is to show details and colours of subjects that the eye simply can’t see. Trying to capture flying and jumping insects is difficult even on bright, sunny days, but with a flash system you can freeze the action and light every subtle detail of the subject, showing their wonderful character. It gives you a constant light source, which when balanced with the daylight can add a whole new dimension to the resulting shot.
The STF-8 Macro Flash is perfect for the job as its two flash heads can be fully moved around the lens, allowing you to correctly surround whatever wildlife subject you are shooting. You can even change the outputs so one side gets a stronger flash than the other. The included flash diffusers create a mid-soft but punchy light source, which brings every detail out in your subject. All that‘s required then is lots of patience and a bit of luck.
The OM-D E-M1 Mark II is light and easy to get into the action for extended periods of time without being cumbersome, which other camera systems would struggle with. The articulated screen helps you see and achieve odd angles, which again would be virtually impossible with a normal viewing screen.
The M.ZUIKO 60mm f/2.8 MACRO is great for getting a good distance away from the subject, while the M.ZUIKO 30mm f/3.5 MACRO is a little more forgiving and works a little faster, so I find you can get right in and capture that super-fast insect or bug.
2. STACK IT SHARP HANDHELD
CREATE DEPTH AND SHARPNESS STACKING EASILY HANDHELD
With the built-in focus stacking on the OM-D E-M1 Mark II you can create some wonderful results without the need for a tripod or post production. It‘s fast, simple and easy to use, and will allow you to capture tonnes of detail.
KIT NEEDED: CAMERA, LENS, REFLECTOR OR LED
We recommend the OM-D E-M1 Mark II with the M.ZUIKO 60mm f/2.8 MACRO or M.ZUIKO 30mm f/3.5 MACRO, a reflector or constant LED
Sometimes when you are on location and capturing a tiny subject in macro you are limited with the light, or just need that extra level of detail without losing the wide apertures that give your backgrounds cool blur and bokeh. The closer you get to a subject with the macro lenses, the less depth-of-field at the focus point you tend to get – so how do you solve this?
Well, it’s easy with the OM-D E-M1 Mark II, as on the focus stacking setting the camera takes eight pictures in succession at slightly different focus points (you can set these, too, depending on your subject and lens). They are then merged into one final jpeg.
I love the effect you get, and the process can be quite forgiving if there is very slight movement of the camera or subject, with the final image being almost hyperreal sometimes. I often use a miniature reflector or LED ringlight to fill the shadows and really lift the subject, so it jumps out.
A good tip is if you can get a little distance between your focussed subject and the background, it will help add some interesting background colours to the scene.
3. MAKE THE EVERYDAY SHINE
TURN THE MUNDANE INTO SOMETHING EXCITINGLY DIFFERENT
One of the best things about macro photography is that it can take something that we see every day and give it a whole new look and feel. Details that are usually too small to notice can be lifted to a whole new level.
KIT NEEDED: CAMERA, LENS & LIGHTING
We recommend the OM-D E-M1 Mark II with the M.ZUIKO 60mm f/2.8 MACRO or M.ZUIKO 30mm f/3.5 MACRO, a flash, LED or a reflector
Macro doesn‘t just involve zooming in on tiny subjects – you can also go for a more abstract approach.
I love shooting still life photography where you take an object and idea and spin it on its head. We have so many ‘things‘ around us, from a TV remote to a bowl of crisps, a pen to a piece of string! They all have their meanings and uses, but it‘s great fun to think about them in another way.
Sometimes it’s as simple as looking at an object and seeing some other meaning for it. A cheese grater that looks like a rocket hurtling towards a cheese planet! Simple, clean backgrounds are great for changing the meaning of subjects and you don’t need a big studio to create these ideas. A simple table top in a room where you can control the light is just perfect. So grab that set of chopsticks or handful of coffee beans and see what story you can make out of them…
Article featured in Olympus Magazine Issue 63 – to see the latest copy of this free digital magazine click here.