top of page

Macro Photography & Lenses Explained

Updated: Dec 22, 2023

This article will explain what macro photography is and why it is useful to both amateurs and pros, and how you may use it as a photographer. We'll go through different lens types and discuss some of the most common macro lens options. You will learn the difference between Macro and Micro, and I will answer the most common questions regarding this topic.

Macro Photography Samples

Macro photography is a fun technique to take extremely interesting images. Hardly anything draws the eye like a-true one-of-a-kind macro image. Macro photography can take the viewer to a different world. These types of photographs provide us with a breathtaking glimpse of the world that surrounds us at all times. It's our reality but seen through a new and distinct lens. Macro photography is subject that could be mastered by both amateur and professional photographers.

I feel that recently more and more people, are interested in learning more about macro photography and how to achieve that desired effect. I'll answer the most often asked question on the subject.

Macro photography of two lady bugs.

What is Macro Photography? If you want to take close-up shots of small objects like coins and flowers, macro photography, or "Makro" for short, is the way to go. You can achieve this by using a specialized macro lens, but you don't always need one because certain camera phones have a feature that allows you to shoot close-up pictures.

Macro photography of a 1972 united state peny.

Why is it called macro? When we think about macro photography, we usually think of close-up shots. Photographers can capture images of objects that are normally imperceptible to the naked eye. You may have seen a lot of macro images, but you may not know what "macro" means or why it is called macro. The word macro is derived from the Greek language, and it means "big." This phrase is normally used in biology.

How do I take a macro photo? When taking a macro photo, it's a good idea to hold your breath and give the camera a half-press before hitting the shutter release completely. It's also a good idea, to experiment with aperture options to see what you can come up with, and which one will be better.

It's not just about getting near to an object or a subject when it comes to taking good macro pictures; it's also about where you put that subject. When taking a macro photo, consider the following factors.

  1. Remove hair, dust, and fingerprints from your work surface. This is a must-do step to ensure that your photograph is free of distractions.

  2. Use a small aperture. The subject will appear blurry if the aperture is too wide. To bring the subject into focus, try narrowing the aperture to f/22 or f/32.

  3. Find a suitable source of light. When photographing miniatures and models, natural light is the ideal option because it is both free and dependable. If natural light isn't an option, try putting a flash behind the figure or using diffused sunshine through a transparent fabric.

  4. A tripod should be used. Even though you're working with such little subjects and trying to catch microscopic details, every little bit counts. A tripod will help you avoid camera shake and keep everything steady so you can get that clean, clear and sharp photo you want!

  5. If it's too windy outside, go inside if at all possible.

Photographer taking a photo of a tiny flower.

Best cameras for macro photography: If you are looking to expand your portfolio with Macro photographs, here is a list of the top cameras that will help you achieve a unique macro look.

People nowadays utilize their phones' cameras to photograph everything from flowers and food to bugs, garbage, and dust. However, if you want your images to stand out from the crowd, you might consider purchasing a camera that allows you to take genuinely amazing macro shots.

A good camera for taking macro images has a variety of features, such as high resolution, autofocus, and manual focus settings, as well as an adjustable ISO setting that can be used to brighten up your photos. The cameras listed below all have these features, as well as a few others that make them ideal for capturing close-ups of nature's tiny wonders or whatever else you like.

Here is a list of my favorites:

The Best Cameras for Macro Photography

  • Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

  • Nikon D810

  • Sony A7R III

  • Fujifilm X-T3

  • Pentax K-1 Mark II

  • Panasonic Lumix GH5S

What Is Black-and-White Macro Photography? Black-and-white macro photography is also known as monochrome macro photography is shooting macro photographs in black and white rather than color. The result is dramatic, and it may be used to produce breathtaking portraits or to draw attention to specific aspects in nature photos.

There are several methods for creating black-and-white photos, but one of the simplest is to take a color photograph and then use software to convert the image to black and white.

Macro photograph of an insect.

What is a macro lens? Close-up lenses, often known as macro lenses, are specialized lenses that allow you to photograph small objects up close. You can connect them to your camera and photograph tiny objects without having to approach them directly. Macro lenses get their name from their capacity to magnify small subjects: macro means "large" in Greek, and these lenses will make your microscopic subjects look big.

The magnification of macro lenses is greater than that of conventional lenses. A macro lens is defined as a lens with a magnification of 1:1 (one-to-one). Many macro lenses have magnifications that are higher than this 1:2, 1:4, and so on. So, you don't have to get as close to your subject as you would with a conventional lens. This makes capturing beautiful photographs of little subjects at a distance much easier.

Since macro lenses often have larger focal lengths, they let in more light than other types of lenses, making it easier to shoot shots in low-light situations without producing grainy results. By altering the aperture on your lens, you may control how much or how little light enters the camera.

photograph of a dragon fly.

Which are the best Macro photography lenses? The Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L and the Nikon AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED are the best macro photography lenses in the market at this time. These lenses are particularly useful for photographing small insects, flowers, and other small things in excellent detail. Because they have a 1:1 magnification ratio, the lens will project an image onto the camera that is exactly the same size as the subject being photographed at its closest focusing distance. For example, a butterfly that is 100 mm across, will produce an image on your camera's sensor that is exactly 100 mm across.

What is the magnification on a true macro lens? A true macro lens has a magnification factor of 1:1, which means it can capture an image that is the same size as an object in real life (no exaggeration!). When it comes to macro photography, many photographers prefer to shoot at 1:2 or even 2:1 magnification (i.e., images that are twice as large as the object itself).

example of magnifications using macro lenses.

Is using Macro filters better than using a macro lens? Although both macro filters and macro lenses have advantages and disadvantages, the solution to your query ultimately depends on what you want to do with your camera.

A macro lens is a preferable choice if you want to be able to photograph little objects at varying distances. This is because a macro lens can concentrate on objects that are very close to you, but it can also focus on objects that are very far away as well, whereas macro filters can only focus on objects that are very close to you. Macro lenses are sharp at all focal lengths and frequently have a small depth of field, making them perfect for portraits or pictures where only one specific element of the image has to be in focus.

If you're primarily interested in photographing smaller objects up close, a macro filter may be a better option than a macro lens. The filters are compact and easy to travel due to their modest size. They're also handier and easier to use than macro lenses because they don't require changing lenses (you simply screw the filter onto the end of any lens). However, if you decide later that you'd want greater focal length versatility, you should invest in a macro lens.

Nikon F-mount to M42 adaptor.

What is the difference between Macro and Micro-photography? There is a scale difference between macro and Micro-photography. Micro-photography records images that are smaller than the human eye can see, and macro photography captures images that are larger than what the naked eye can see but still on a smaller scale than an image captured with a standard camera lens.

Objects that are larger than life-size are referred to as "macro." Macro lenses may typically focus on close distances from their subjects, providing for a high level of detail and magnification.

Micro, on the other hand, refers to objects that are smaller than life-size. Specialized cameras with Micro-lenses can record these exceedingly small objects.

Macro vs. Micro samples

Can I use a telephoto lens for macro photography? Telephoto lenses are excellent for photographing distant objects, but not so much for close-up photography. Most telephoto lenses can only focus within four feet of an object, this varies from lens to lens. Macro photography demands close focusing.

You'll almost certainly need a macro lens if you want to do macro photography. Macro lenses are meant to focus on objects that are as close as a few inches away, and some macro lenses can focus on objects as close as a few inches away.

There are a few exceptions to the preceding. A telephoto lens, for example, can be used with extension tubes to get closer, or it can be reverse mounted and used as a "poor man's macro" lens. However, these methods have their own set of limits and drawbacks.

Photographer with an giant len.

Is a 50mm lens suitable for macro photography? Short answer, yes.

Long answer: It depends on your setup. However, a macro lens with a focal length of 50mm can surely be used. If you have a 50mm lens with a 1.4x tele-converter, for example, you may use it with an extension tube to capture some fantastic images of little subjects. In contrast, you might need to come fairly near to your subject and crop away some of the background—which isn't an issue if you have a superb 50mm prime lens with a wide aperture!

photo of a 50mm len.


Hopefully, we've persuaded you to try macro photography in whatever capacity and with whatever equipment you prefer. Whatever the case may be, always remember to practice, practice, practice! The most effective approach to improve at any ability is to practice it regularly. Keep at it, whether it's photographing various items around your house or doing something like photography flowers in your neighborhood. If you feel that your photographs aren't up to par, don't become disappointed. You may hit a brick wall for a while, but don't give up. Give macro photography a shot and enjoy yourself!

Click on the following links to learn more about photography and start shooting like a Pro!

Photography 101             

Photography Basics         

Please visit my home page at

1,891 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page