One of the most frequent questions I’m asked is what kit I use for my macro images, so this week I thought I’d explain and share a few tips along the way.
The main piece of equipment that will impact your macro photography is what lens you use. I have a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM which is fantastic and has a close focus distance of 30cm making it particularly good for flowers and smaller, less active invertebrates.
Of course there are a great number of lenses available on the market which are brilliant for macro subjects. If your budget won’t stretch as far as a new lens though, there are other options too.
Extension tubes are the simplest in my view. These are basically hollow tubes which fit between your lens and camera body, that move the lens further from the sensor to enable closer focusing and therefore greater magnification. You can get a range of sizes and they usually come in a set which you can either use individually or stacked as necessary.
I’ve also tried a close-up filter which works in a similar way to you or I wearing glasses by altering the focusing distance of a normal lens. Some are available with a thread to fit directly to your existing lens, but I use a Cokin filter system which enables me to use my filters across all my lenses by attaching them to the lens with an adapter.
Many people will argue that a tripod is essential for macro photography. While there are instances in which I will use mine, I prefer hand-holding for my images. I find that it gives me greater flexibility and this is particularly true if you’re chasing around after a butterfly for example! I tend to use a tripod for lower light situations where I can’t get away with a higher shutter speed.
Many will also state that a flash is essential and it’s true that I do use my Speedlite 430EXII the most for macro work but even so I don’t use it that often. When I do, I make sure that I have a diffuser for it th