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Photo Tip Of The Day

Today’s Photo Tip (#184)

For my regular readers, thank you for following me now for six months on Facebook. 183 photo tips in a row. My first goal achieved. Woohoo!!

Enough celebrating, back to tip #184.

Macro photography can be done on a shoe string. If you have a standard zoom lens on your camera it is designed to get you reasonably close to your subject. It’s all in the technique. Here is is what you do to set up the lens to do close focus.

Set your camera to whatever exposure mode you would normally use, even the green auto mode will work here. Zoom your lens to the largest focal length on the lens. An 18-55 to 55, an 18-135 to 135, get the idea? Now turn the auto focus to OFF. Yes off. We are now going to identify the focus ring on your lens. The zoom ring you moved earlier is not the focus ring, the other ring that moves is the focus ring. The one the camera normally moves when you press the shutter button.

You need to set the focus to the close focus setting. If your lens has a distance scale that closest distance is easy to work out, if not read further. Aim your camera at something 20-30 meters away. Move the focus ring until the “something” becomes in focus. Now aim the lens at something else about 5 meters away. Move the focus ring until this item is in focus. Continue to move the focus ring in that same direction until it stops. Your lens is now set to it’s minimum focus distance.

You need to find a suitable subject, like a flower or a piece of fruit, an object about the size of a clenched fist. You need to put this item where there is plenty of light, near a window for instance. Pick up your camera, remember it’s already set so don’t move anything. Stand about 1 meter away from your subject. Look through the viewfinder and move yourself towards the subject. Stop when it’s in focus. Congratulations you’ve just found the minimum point at which your camera and lens will focus and the highest magnification it can achieve. Take a photo.

If you move back from the subject you will need to refocus the lens. If you use the zoom instead you will lower the magnification, your subject will get smaller. If you need to get closer you can add a close focus lens to the front of the lens, or you can buy a macro lens. It doesn’t matter which lens combination you use, the above technique works on every lens the same way. When you finished and before you put the camera away, remember to turn the auto focus back on.

Happy Shooting

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