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Photo By Mike Moats


5 Reasons You Should Shoot Macro

By Mike Moats

If you haven’t explored macro photography yet, you may want to take a closer look. 

Macro not only offers an expansive new world for photographers, but it allows you to take remarkable images without buying tons of equipment or traveling to exotic locales. In fact, you could probably photograph for years just in your own backyard. 

Here are my five favorite reasons for shooting macro:

Shooting close to home 

Macro subjects are everywhere. You can find them at local parks, in your own yard and even inside your home. I have four great parks within 20 minutes of my home, and probably 70 percent of my best images have been taken in those parks. A few of my best-selling images were shot in my own backyard. Most people have flower gardens in their yard, so they can simply walk outside and start shooting. This is not only incredibly convenient, but it saves you money on gas and the wear and tear on your vehicle. On top of that, you can do a shoot even if you have just an hour or two available. 


Photo By Mike Moats


You can shoot with just one lens 

Unlike some types of photography, you don’t need a whole arsenal of lenses to shoot macro. I got by with just one lens for seven years before I added another to my camera bag. If you are starting out as a macro photographer and limited on funds, a mid-range focal length lens like the Tamron 90mm will work great as an all-purpose lens. If you plan to shoot live subjects such as butterflies, dragonflies and other small critters that will flee if you approach too closely, go with a longer focal length macro lens in the 180mm range. Plan on shooting most images with your camera mounted on a sturdy tripod and ballhead.




Photo By Mike Moats

Shoot any time of day

Landscape and wildlife photographers have limited control over lighting and usually need to shoot early morning and late evening to take advantage of the best light. Because of the small subjects that macro photographers work with, we can control our light by using diffusers and reflectors, allowing us to shoot any time of the day. I carry a simple 12-inch diffuser, which I use to control harsh light and prevent overhead sunlight from hitting my subjects



Photo By Mike Moats


Enjoy more creativity 

One of the challenges faced by macro photographers is working with limited depth of field. Because we are shooting awfully close to our subjects, the depth of field is very shallow, causing lots of out-of-focus areas in our photos. The closer we get to the subject, the less of that subject will be in focus. But we can use this shallow depth of field to our advantage in creating artistic compositions. If you like soft-focus, dream-like images, try shooting in the lower f/stop range (with a wider aperture) and use this shallow depth of field to produce some beautiful artwork. If you have a subject that may have some interesting lines or textures that you want to accentuate, you can set your f/stop in the higher numbers (narrower aperture) and bring more of the images



Create your own personal art

This is one of my favorite benefits. Every image that you view on my website is an original. Each one is a subject that was present for only a moment in time, until nature or the environment erased them forever. Almost none of those images can be reproduced, because the subjects are gone or have changed. 


There are plenty of great reasons to give macro photography a try. Once you start exploring this world, you’ll begin finding your own.


Mike Moats is an international award-winning, full-time professional macro photographer from Michigan. He’s a Tamron Image Master, and his articles and images have been published in numerous photo magazines. He hosts a Macro Photo Club online with over 2,000 members from 18 countries, and teaches workshops and speaks at photo conferences throughout the United States. His website can be found at