Ask any photographer what they dream about at night and I’m sure most will tell you, “new lenses.” Yes, it’s true. I’d be embarrassed to admit how many times I’ve stayed up at night reading reviews on different lenses because there are SO many out there to buy and every one of them promises something different. But then I remember how my shoulders hurt after an 8 hour wedding day and I remind myself that “less is more.” I try to pack as light as possible for wedding days and besides having back up gear close by, I don’t want to be carrying heavy lenses on my shoulder all day long. So when Erin asked me to contribute a blog post on how to achieve a macro shot without a macro lens, I was excited. I love learning more about my equipment and how to push it in new ways to achieve something I didn’t think I could. So this blog post is all about how to achieve a macro shot without a macro lens and what I’ve found that’s worked for me.
1. Image Size
Since I’m taking so many pictures on a wedding day, I’ll usually shoot medium sized RAW images. When I’m about to take a ring shot or any other close up shot, I’ll change my setting so my images are the largest size possible. I do this so that I can crop the image later if I want to, without compromising image quality. I try not to crop a lot in post processing, but to achieve more of a real macro look, you’ll usually want to crop a bit down. As seen in these two images.
2. Lens Choice
My favorite focal length is 50 mm. When it comes to shooting details though, I find that it doesn’t work as well for me. If you have a lens that has a shorter focal length, I would recommend using this (like a 28 mm or 35 mm). You’ll be able to get closer to the subject to focus. On the flip side, you won’t be able to get as much background blur with a wide angle, so sometimes I’ll use my 85 mm to shoot a ring shot, and then crop the image later.
This one is more of a personal preference, but like my images to be as sharp as possible. When shooting tighter in, I usually will go to a smaller aperture (like an 4.0 or 5.6) so that I can get as much of the detail I am shooting in focus. I am trying not to be such a perfectionist, but it bothers me if the front of the ring is in the focus, and the back of the ring is out of focus.
That’s all I have! I’m not sure that these are technically correct, but it’s what I’ve found to work in my experience. I’ve heard that you can also purchase macro extension tubes that are also a shortcut to having a real macro lens. YOUTUBE Video Here For me it might be one other thing to try not to lose on the rush of a wedding day. Thanks for reading!
I learn something new every time I read a new post. Those shots of wedding rings are breathtakingly beautiful.
Alli! Thanks so much for stopping by! It makes me want to take new pictures of my rings!!! 🙂
Nancy Stephens-King says
Thanks for this editorial, it helped me a lot!
Gorgeous photos! And “technically correct” isn’t the only kind of correct, clearly!
Skye, thanks for stopping by and saying hello via a comment!!
As always, your images are SO amazing!!! I just got a DLSR for Christmas and really need to figure it out!!!
Michelle! yay for a new camera!!! Figuring it out and learning it is half of the equation though 😉 Stick around the blog for some great tutorials coming up and opportunities to learn more about your dslr!
aimee fauci says
Oh how I wish I was this talented and skilled. Very beautiful.
Great tips! I learn something new all the time with my dslr – I use mine mostly for food and diy blog posts. I am heading over now to watch the video!
Nichole! Thanks for saying hello!!! There are some amazing videos and tutorials out there for food bloggers!!!! Glad to hear you are learning and using your dslr!
Sarah W. Sofia Knepp says
First of all beautiful photographs! I have to admit I am one of those people that dream of getting a new lens! I’m a wedding and event planner and designer, and take a lot of my own photos. This is very informative and easy steps to getting the right shot. I’m pinning this to use as resource.
Patrice M Foster says
Love these photo. breathtakenly lovely.
Patrice, Thanks for stopping by and saying hello via a comment!!
Krayl Funch says
This is fantasic information! I am working on perfecting my photography skills and it seems there so many options. Thank you for keeping it straight forward to understand!
So happy to hear that this post was easy to understand and you learned! That’s the goal and I love hearing from the readers when it’s accomplished! Thanks for stopping by!
this is SUCH a wonderful post!! I am in love with macro shooting, and I’m always wondering which lenses to use! I currently have the 50mm and the 40mm, but I think I’m going to invest in the 35 mm soon for this purpose.
Love your blog girl!!! Photography is one of my favorite subjects to learn about, so I’m addicted!
So happy to hear that this post was easy to understand and you learned! That’s the goal and I love hearing from the readers when it’s accomplished! I love my 35mm lens!! You won’t regret that lens! Thanks for stopping by!
Erica @ The Crumby Cupcake says
Sooooo were you watching through my window last night? Because I spent a good 2 hours reading Ken Rockwell lens reviews, trying to decide which one to put on my next list. I use my 50mm for almost everything I shoot for my blog, and sometimes I have issues with the macro-style shots, so I’ve been looking in to one that has better AF. I’m torn between a 60mm and 105mm, both of which are SOOOO expensive! (gorgeous shots, btw!)
Thanks SO much for the tips! I’ve been struggling to get decent detail shots like these lately. I think I can do much better with these tips!!! Especially that last one…