Here’s a quick tip for amazing macro photography using a the best macro lens you probably already own…
Your old point-and-shoot camera – which is probably sitting in a closet somewhere gathering dust.
Most point and shoot cameras have “macro mode” – otherwise known as “the little flower icon”.
I use my nine year old Canon G9 exclusively for macro photographs of wedding rings, and in many cases it does an as good or better job than a dedicated macro lens – and its super easy to do.
To Take Macro Photos With Your Point-And-Shoot
Almost all point-and-shoot cameras have built in macro mode – so just set your camera to “the little flower icon”.
Now, depending on how sophisticated your point-and-shoot is, you may be able to further customize your settings.
If it’s available use full manual mode, or at least aperture priority to control your depth of field. For wedding rings I prefer the look of a shallow depth of field, so I generally use f/2.8 or f/4 – but if you’re photographing insects or something you want a deeper depth of field – you might want to use a higher aperture.
Also, use spot focus. You can make matrix focus work if you don’t have a choice, but spot focus works much better. Once in spot focus, adjust the location of the focus point to be right on the point of your scene that you want in sharp focus.
Focusing on macro subjects is a little touchy, especially if you’re using a shallow depth of field, so take a few photos to make sure you have the focus you want.
Try to use the lowest ISO you can. Old point and shoot cameras don’t do well with high ISO (the Canon G9 is useless at ISO 400 and up – by modern standards of photo noise anyway).
To get really close, zoom all the way out and move your camera in close – close as in the lens is nearly touching your subject.
This is a little counter intuitive – it makes more sense to try to zoom in with the optical zoom on your camera – but in macro mode your camera can focus closer to the lens with the lens zoomed all the way out – so you can actually get a much closer shot by zooming out and moving the camera physically closer.
You do have to be careful of the shadow of the camera using this technique, but with side lighting or backlighting, its not a problem.
Finally, if you have a high end point-and-shoot like the Canon G9 – you can even shoot your macro photography in RAW, but if your point-and-shoot doesn’t do RAW, just use the highest quality JPEG you can.