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!