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Macro photography can be some of the most fun and rewarding types there is to shoot, but it can also be the most frustrating. We've already covered how to dominate macro photography and have nearly a dozen articles that relate to macro, but what's the secret to being successful? That's what we'll explore now.
Most tutorials focus on the gear you'll need to properly shoot subject matter, tips and techniques to help you achieve the shot and post production methods to ensure the sharpness of the focal point is, well on point. There is more to macro photography then just the technical aspect though, there is composition and subject matter, both of which you have total control over.
Macro photography doesn't mean you can't utilize well established guides like the rule of thirds when shooting, in fact they should be utilized to help with the depth of field from shooting wide open. Furthermore, macro photography is one of the rare forms that actually encourages the shooter to fill, even over-fill the frame.
Choose Your Macro Subjects Wisely
The subject matter with macro can be near anything, but insects and plant life, specifically drops of water on flowers or grass blades can be a great starting point to honing your craft. Don't just stick to these well known macro subjects though, look and approach anything as if it could be a good subject, even your morning cup of coffee!
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Or even the ice cube in your summer sun tea.
For me, the secret to a successful macro shot is choosing the right subject matter, utilizing proper composition (note the rule of thirds in the photo above) and proper technique. Since the technique and proper equipment is learned, finding the subject matter is often what most macro photographers don't spend enough time on and I feel is where they aren't succeeding.
Most well known macro shots show common, every day subject matter in a way that we don't usually view them, including insects. When you're trying to learn how to take better macro shots, then why not emulate those that have been successful before? Take a look through your home for textures and colors that may be interesting objects to shoot, then experiment with the technical aspect of properly lighting them. You may find some of the most stunning subjects right inside your own home!
While technique, composition and equipment are all important, the simple act of choosing your subject can be the difference between mediocre and great macro photography. Choose wisely.