Macro photography is a genre of photographic art in which small objects are shot at close range and appear much larger than in reality. Usually, macro photography refers to pictures at a scale of 1: 1 or less. This means that the captured objects or animals do not exceed the camera sensor and fill the entire frame. Macro photography allows you to see familiar things in the smallest detail, but not attracting attention. Most often, insects, plants, snails, dewdrops and snowflakes fall into the lens of fans of this genre.
Macro photography in the early stages of development is inextricably linked with microphotography – a genre in which photography is carried out using a microscope. At the dawn of photography, these directions were not divided. The first experiments in shooting multiply enlarged objects were carried out in the 1830s, including Henry Fox Talbot. However, for a long time such pictures were of a purely scientific and research nature. The history of macro photography as an art began in the 1900s.
The macro photography fascinated British photographer and director Percy Smith, who became one of the pioneers of this trend. He shot individual photographs and entire films at high magnification. The next important stage in the development of the genre is 1955. In West Germany, the first true macro lens, which provided close focusing at all times, went on sale. A similar improved technique is used in our time. When the era of SLR cameras came, the genre quickly became popular all over the world.
How to take macro photography?
If you are thinking about how to shoot macro photography, you can first try the corresponding functions in a regular camera, but for serious development in the genre, a special technique is needed. First of all, it is a macro lens. To use it and try different options, you need to choose a camera with an interchangeable lens.
The built-in flash does not work well in macro photography, so external light sources are preferred. For example, a ring flash around the lens or an ordinary flashlight with a homemade reflector. Another problem can be camera shake in the hands, limiting the exposure time. Therefore, many authors of macro photography use a tripod when shooting.
Of all the subjects, insects are considered the most difficult. Many of them fly away, as soon as you get closer, others are constantly moving. As in the genre of animalism, the photographer must study the behavior of the small animal that wants to shoot. Therefore, it is more convenient to start with flowers, grass, dew and other static objects.
Famous authors of macro photography
Successful photographers in this genre see big in small and turn inconspicuous details into real works of art.
Among the most famous authors of macro photography are the following:
- Krasimir Matarov. This Bulgarian photographer travels a lot and captures wildlife, including macro. In 2013 he won first place in the Sony World Photography Awards.
- Jacky Parker. A female photographer from Great Britain takes delicate and expressive pictures of flowers. She is considered one of the best masters in plant photography.
- Nordin Seruyan. The Indonesian photographer prefers to photograph insects, snails and frogs. His works are notable for their beauty and well-captured moments.
- Thomas Shahan. This master creates incredible portraits of insects – with expressive eyes, thoughtfully raised antennae and hair damp from dew.
- Vyacheslav Mishchenko. The Ukrainian artist and photographer first took up macro photography at the age of ten. Now his works are known all over the world.
Macro photography is a fascinating genre with endless possibilities for the development of imagination. To plunge into this new and unusual world, you don’t have to go somewhere or equip a studio. You can take a good shot next to the house: just find a corner of nature with plants and insects. Winter is a good time to shoot snowflakes, and in a studio setting you can explore the abstract texture of familiar things.