Macro Photography Explained

macro-photographyBy Phin Upham

Macro photography is one of the most unique methods of photography, presenting extremely small objects at larger than life proportions. It can help us understand more about the world around us, showing us close-up glimpses of things the human eye can’t really notice. Most cameras have some kind of macro function, so feel free to play around with yours. Here are some ideas, and a bit of history, to get you started.

The term was first coined in 1899 by W.H. Walmsley to describe a lens that could photography objects at a magnification of less than 10 diameters.

Macro lenses can go as far as 200mm, depending on how close you’re able to get to your subject without disturbing it. Most people can easily photograph a bee pollenating a flower with a 65mm lens standing near the flower and maybe leaning a bit.

When you’re searching for a lens, it’s not just about zoom. Macro lenses place the lens farther away from the sensor, which increases magnification dramatically. Standard lenses can mimic this functionality thanks to software in your DSLR, but a true macro lens will provide detail you can’t get from a standard lens. It’s also a bit trickier to shoot with because of how the magnification works.

Those with an ordinary lens can use what’s called a “reversing ring” to convert the lens into a macro. Detail is usually pretty good up to 4x life quality, but attempting to push boundaries further is no easy task. Some photographers even use a coupler to mount a lens in reverse, which achieves a macro-like shot.

About the Author: Phin Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media and Telecom group. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham website or LinkedIn page.