If you’re looking to explore the world of macro photography and you’re on a limited budget, like me, the Raynox DCR-250 or DCR-150 is the perfect solution. With your normal kit lens, if you try to go close to a macro subject, you are likely to experience focusing issues and won’t get a crisp and blurry background. The Raynox filter allows you to go closer to the subject, greatly enlarges the subject in your frame, and gives you a beautiful blurry background.
So now let me talk about my 10 tips that can help you achieve such great results.
The usual subjects for macro photography include flowers and small insects. Do some kind of research into where you are likely to find beautiful flowers and insects. You can go to your nearest park or garden, or start with your backyard itself.
2. GEAR & SETTINGS
The Raynox DCR 250 filter can be used on any lens with a diameter between 52 and 67mm. It will work best with any semi telephoto lens like my 70-300mm lens. But it can also work with a wide lens. The Raynox gives you a very shallow depth of field. So you have to keep your aperture value high, sometimes as high as f 20 or 25 also. It helps if you use an external flash with your Raynox. Or else you may have to keep a very high ISO and low shutter speed that can make your images grainy as well as shaky. So with a flash, I can keep a shutter speed of around 1/100 or even 1/200 and ISO of around 500. I also use Auto White Balance and Spot Metering.
Before going into the field, practice with your lens at home. You can use it on any objects like coins, toys, jewellery, etc and try to click sharp images. Once you gain confidence, start clicking on the field.
4. BE PREPARED
Make sure you have charged your batteries and have enough space in your memory cards. Before going on the field, wear proper sunblock and mosquito repellent. Wear dull colored clothes and comfortable footwear in which you can walk for quite a few hours.
5. GO CLOSER
In order to bring your subject into proper focus, you have to go close to it. So if it is a stinging or flying insect, I avoid my Raynox there. I use it for flowers or harmless insects like ants or spiders. Yes, spiders are harmless!
Once you get close to the subject, move your camera back and forth till you arrive at the correct focus and click. You may try manual focus but I have also achieved good results with autofocus.
One thing that you must keep in mind in macro photography is the background – whether you want a blurry background or a plain black one. If I increase my shutter speed or decrease my flash intensity, my flash will only be able to light the subject, and I will get a black background. Coz before the light reaches the background, my shutter will close. On the contrary, if I decrease my shutter speed or increase my flash intensity, the light will also fall on the background and I may get a blurry background. Now, what do I do? Do I try getting a black or blurry bg? You can do anything guys. It’s up to your style and creativity. But mostly if your subject is black or dark colored try making the background visible and if the subject has a light color, you may go for a plain dark background for better contrast.
It’s not just about finding a macro subject and snapping its images. You need to compose your shots properly. Try to have enough space around your subject. The Rule of Thirds works best. Divide your frame in a 3×3 grid and place your subject along these lines or at the intersecting points of these lines.
Learning how to focus properly with the Raynox takes time and a lot of patience. You may have to practice a lot to get proper focus and sharp images. The shallow depth of field of the Raynox can be difficult to master. But be persistent and patient.
Since you get a very shallow depth of field, it may get difficult sometimes to bring your entire subject in focus. So let’s do some stacking. For this, you will need a tripod or monopod. First I focus on one part of the subject and click. Then I will focus on another part and click. I will keep clicking similar images, till I have focused on all the parts of the subject. Later I can stack all these images in Photoshop.
So I hope you found these tips to be useful for doing some macro photography with your Raynox macro lens. If you did, do check out my YouTube channel and Instagram for daily photography-related content. Thank you!
Also Read – Macro Photography in Amboli
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