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Top Tips for Macro Photography



Macro photography is all about getting close to your subject. This means that the smallest movements can have a big effect on your photo. That’s why it’s important to know your camera settings for macro photography.


When I first started my macro photography journey, the best piece of advice I got was to learn about your camera. Sounds simple enough, right? But this takes time, patience, trial and error, and learning from mistakes.


I cringe a bit when I look back on old macro photography shots. We can be our own harshest critics. If only I knew back then what I know now. This post will provide some top must-know macro photography camera settings to take better macro photos.


Settings are Key


To choose the right aperture (f-stop), shutter speed, and ISO for your macro photos, you will need to:

  • consider the amount of light that is available,

  • the size of the subject, and

  • the DOF (depth of field) that you want to achieve.


Aperture and shutter speed are interrelated, so you must experiment with combinations to find what works best for your particular situation.


The size of your subject concerning its composition and how it fits into the frame will determine your f-stop to capture the ideal DOF (depth of field).


Another factor to consider is understanding the relationship between shutter speed and light. I like to think of these three concepts as a balancing act intrinsic to a macro image’s overall quality.


Camera Mode


Many camera modes can be used for macro photography, but the most popular is probably the Manual Focus (MF) Mode. To have complete control over your shot, manual mode allows you to control each piece of the puzzle to fine-tune exactly how you want your shot to turn out. Other important modes are focus mode, aperture priority mode, and metering mode.


Focus Mode


Focus mode is an important camera setting when taking macro photographs. There are three focus mode settings on most cameras: single-servo AF (AF-S), continuous-servo AF (AF-C), and manual focus (MF). Each mode has its advantages and disadvantages when shooting macro subjects.


  • Single-servo AF is best used when the subject is stationary, as it will lock onto the subject and maintain focus until the shutter is released. This can be problematic if the subject moves, as the camera will not refocus on the new location.

  • Continuous-servo AF is best used when the subject is moving, as it continually adjusts focus to keep up with the subject. This can be problematic if the camera has trouble gaining focus on the subject, as it will keep hunting for focus and may never lock onto the desired subject.

  • Manual focus is best used when the photographer wants complete control over the focus of the image. It’s difficult to achieve precise focus using this method.


Focus mode is important for macro photography because it allows the photographer to control which parts of the image are focused. This is especially important when photographing small objects, where a slight change in focus can significantly affect the overall image.

By using focus mode, the photographer can ensure that the subject is sharp and clear while still keeping the background blurry. This can help to create a more striking and interesting image.


About Rachel Z Photography

I’m a 30-year-old San Francisco-based photographer, activist, tattoo enthusiast, and guardian of 2 lovely rescued birds. I adore doing portrait photography for others, whether that’s indoors or outdoors, covered in flowers and nature or covered in fake blood. My goal with my photography is to empower you by taking the essence of who you are and turning it into works of art. I want to hear what YOUR ideas are and help make them into a reality. I want you to feel powerful. I want you to feel beautiful. I want you to feel confident, because we all deserve that.

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