The St. Louis School of Photography Presents

The Picturesque Photo Challenge

Bringing you unique bi-weekly challenges to enhance your technique

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Liquid Drop

Mystery Macro:
Macro Photography

Opens June 6, 12:00 pm

Closes June 27, 2021, 11:59 am


  • Use  a tripod:  A lot of macro lenses have some heft to them and that extreme magnification and sliver of depth of field will show every little movement and mess up your shot.

  • Chose the best vantage point: Check all angles before you settling on your composition. Moving around your subject will allow you to choose on the best vantage point or angle. A running theme in macro photography is that small movements make a world of difference, whether it’s that you are picking up a new highlight previously unseen or getting your subject more or less on the same focal plane.

  • Pay attention to your background: Because of the extreme shallow depth of field created by macro lenses, your background will play a huge role in the mood of the image. Since mostly everything will be a blur of colors, it is up to you to decide how you want that color to interact with the subject.​​

    • Make your own background by using a black or colored piece of construction paper.​

  • Use manual focus: Autofocus works by identifying contrast and when working with such a narrow depths of field, that contrast is less easy for your lens to identify and causes an effect called focus hunting. To shoot in manual mode, turn the focus ring first until everything is out of focus and then, with intention, turn it the opposite direction until the area you want appears sharp and clear.

  • Pay attention to your lens and aperture necessary: In macro photography, depth of field is measured in millimeters. Your DOF becomes extremely shallow when you are using one of the wider apertures. Shooting at f/8 or f/11 on a macro lens will yield the look of f/2.8 on a standard lens. However, this means you need a LOT of light to compensate and at these close distances, no matter how much you stop down, you’re unlikely to get your entire subject in focus.

  • Use live mode: If you are on a tripod when setting focus, you can turn on the Live View LCD screen and zoom in 100% on specific parts of your scene to check if your focus is razor sharp in the area you want.

Macro photography, or taking larger-than-life-size pictures of very small subjects, is a fascinating, absorbing branch of photography through which you can explore the details of the world around you and come up with some fantastic images in the process.

One of the most unique aspects of macro photography is its ability to transform an object into something extraordinary. When shooting macro photos, objects are photographed at such a close proximity that they often can look like something other than what they really are.

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