Exploring the wonders of
Macro Photography together!

Welcome to
Macro Photography For All! 

You've landed here because you're interested in learning more about macro and close-up photography, right?

Congratulations, you've come to the right place!

This site is all about zeroing in on the world of small things and capturing memorable, beautiful images. Thus the motto "Let's Get Close-Up"!

Now that you're here, poke around a bit, kick the tires, and see what I've put together for you. Let me tell you about myself over here.

Caterpillar macro photograph

All the photos on this site were made by me, except where noted. That's convenient for both of us because I know these photographs intimately and I can share how they were made, what drew me to make them, and what hurdles I might have had to overcome. 

My goal is to help you develop your macro photography skills! I show my photographs to illustrate important points and share some of the spark of inspiration that got me into doing this in the first place. You'll collect a lot of macro photography tips along the way!

Why Macro Photography?

Because it's beautiful!

Exploring macro photography means entering a world of wonder, where you'll see stuff you never knew was there.

You'll see bugs that look like gargoyles, snowflakes that blow your mind, detail in stuff you may have taken for granted. You'll discover gorgeous patterns in flower petals, sparkles in crystal, and weird images from ordinary objects that will amuse and astound you.

Because it's convenient!

Macro photography blue flowers

What I love most about macro photography is that our subject matter is all around us. I mean it...stop what you're doing right now and take a close look around you.

Shift your gaze from the big picture to the small picture. There are great photographs waiting to be made right in front of you! No type of photography is lighter on your travel budget than macro!

In these pages, we'll explore miracles of the Little World that can be found in your back yard, or within an arm's length of where you're sitting right now.

Of course, if you like to get out and explore the world, we'll also explore different locations, times of year and the magnificence of weather and climate on the natural world.

Because it's affordable!

Even the most basic photography can be an expensive hobby, but it doesn't have to be. Why is that, you ask?

First of all, digital photography has leveled the playing field substantially.

Secondly, macro photography can be practiced without a huge assortment of lenses, camera bodies, lights, and accessories galore (pssst...if you're an incurable gadget geek...I can help...let's chat over here or over here!).

If you're on a tight budget, you can have great fun doing macro photography with simple equipment. Once you're ready, I'll show you where to put your money for the biggest "bang".

Because it's practical!

Macro photography is relevant to a range of industries and careers: medical, research, scientific, law enforcement....the list goes on! We'll talk about professions that use macro photography, and pull in some tricks-of-the-trade that can make a star out of anyone who's asked to photograph small stuff, or who's aspiring to a rewarding career as a staff photographer. Knowing how to take great pictures is a path to the top!

What is Macro Photography, anyway?

Macro photography is, strictly speaking, close-up photography. Many people use the terms interchangeably. Others prefer a more rigorous definition that relates to the degree of magnification. What matters most to me is the message within the photograph, so I try not to get hung up on strict definitions. I'll offer up some definitions here, than make the case that it doesn't really matter all that much.

We'll start by considering the 1:1 magnification ratio. This is where the size of the image on the film or digital sensor is the same as the object in real life. The coin in the photos below is 24mm wide, nearly the same width as the digital sensor in the Nikon D70 camera that made the photo. Photographing the entire coin tight to the edges results in a 1:1 magnification image.

macro photography US quarter one to one magnification macro photography US quarter one to four magnification macro photography US quarter one to eight magnification
1:1 magnification 1:4 magnification 1:8 magnification

As we pull back in our coin photograph, the coin itself occupies a smaller part of the film or sensor. If the coin is now a fourth of its actual size (on the film or sensor), then the ratio is expressed as 1:4, likewise for the coin photographed at 1:8 on the right.

When we focus in closer than 1:1, and photograph details of the coin that render twice as large as real life on the film or sensor, then we call that a 2:1 magnification ratio, or simply 2x.

Some people still call this larger-than-life photography macro photography, others insist we're now in the realm of micro photography. It's important to know the difference in theory, because micro photography is a world unto itself that is hugely important. It is the world of microscopes and lens systems that reveal details invisible to the human eye (pond scum at 60x, anyone?).

As magnifications get larger we reach the limits of where camera lenses and close-up accessories can focus and compose an image; to me that's where macro ends and micro begins. Micro photography is an amazing world to explore, but it requires special equipment and is beyond the scope of our discussion.

Understanding this terminology, and where the differences lie, is most useful:

macro photography beer bubblesBubbles in a beer glass,
macro style!

Here's why I think these definitions and distinctions matter little in the real world of creating meaningful photographs: Any strict definition of close-up vs. macro vs. micro photography would have to recognize the size of the image on the screen, or on a print.

The coins above, though photographed at specific magnifications, are enlarged for screen presentation, adding another variable (which is why the coin photographed at 1:4 looks the closest to life-size!). The more variables, the more confusion, and when confusion reigns, I'm long gone!

Aesthetic photographers needn't worry about whether the particular photograph they are lining up is a close-up or a macro or a micro....make it pretty, and interesting, and everyone's happy!

Sounds good, but what else ya got?

This site is a concise, practical resource of macro photography tips that hits the essential high points yet avoids crushing you under the weight of technical details (not that there's anything bad about that...there are some great resources out there if you want to dig deeper, and I'll tell you where they are).

I'll give you basic photography tips that no photographer should be without (whether you're shooting macro or not), tricks that will save time and money, and that will transform your pictures from "ho-hum" to WOW! 

We'll talk about equipment needs unique to macro photography and close-up photography, how to understand the language of light, and how to manipulate light to do your bidding.

You'll also be learning digital photography here, and how to make sense of the flood of terminology that can drown you in a sea of pixels.

And, because your beautiful photographs deserve, yes, scream out! to be displayed in a likewise beautiful fashion, we'll cover, step-by-step, all you need to know about displaying your photos and showing off your skill and artistic vision to a wider audience.

macro photography fly on goldenrod flower

You can also post your own photos, and share your know-how on some of the pages here. I know a lot about this subject, but there's a lot I don't know, so I look forward to hearing from you.

Let's explore together, learn how to take great pictures, and have some fun while we're at it!

First things first, however. We'll begin our journey by discussing what makes a good photograph, and try to answer why some photos work and others don't.

Enjoy your visit here at macro-photography-for-all! Let's Get Close-Up!

Site Map
The Site Map for Macro-Photography-For-All.com
Basic Photography
Basic Photography principles: All you need to know to get started as a photographer!
Digital Photography Basics
Presenting digital photography basics in a logical manner that will neither overwhelm you nor insult your intelligence.
Digital Photography Workflow
Digital Photography Workflow means planning and carrying out the steps between image capture and display, to maximize our results while making the best use of our time.
Photography Lighting
No light, no photograph! Understanding photography lighting is every bit as important as understanding our photography equipment; some say MORE important! Start the journey on this page.
Photo Locations
On this page we discuss photo locations: where to photograph, and how to prepare yourself and your equipment for different locations.
Macro Photography Careers
A review of important, stable, and in-demand photography careers that require macro photography skills
Seasons Photography
Seasons Photography means embracing the special qualities of each time of year. We'll talk here about all four seasons, and what surprises each one holds for us.
Macro Photography Equipment
A review of macro photography equipment and the techniques that will help you make the best of the equipment you have available
Photo Presentation
Photo presentation means displaying your beautiful images artistically and tastefully. We'll discuss digital photography printing, how to create a photo book, framing photographs for wall art, making digital slide shows, and preserving photographs for the long term.
Macro Photography Project Ideas
An assemblage of macro photography project ideas from the author and readers of macro-photography-for-all.com
Scanning Slides and Negatives
Here we talk about scanning slides and negatives: converting film photographs to digital images. We discuss scanner types, ideal scanner settings, and how to retrieve the most image data from your film originals.
My Gear
My Gear! The author of Macro Photography For All opens his camera bag: cameras, lenses, lights, gadgets, and gizmos I use and recommend.

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