What Is Macro?
We think of the term “macro photography” as filling the frame with small subjects.
Shooting within a close distance to the subject.
There are three styles that fall into the “macro photography” category.
We simplify it by lumping all three under the one term “macro photography”
If I’m shooting multiple subjects or larger subjects along with it’s surrounding area, we are really shooting “close-up” photography. The majority of what I shoot would fall into this category.
You see in this image, I’m framing multiple subjects that covers a large area. You can shoot this with your traditional macro lens, or in many cases your standard lenses, depending on the minimum focusing distances of the lens. The minimum focusing distance of my Tamron 18-270 lens, or my Tamron 16-300 lens, would allow me to shoot this subject. So I don’t necessarily need a macro lens for this shot.
If I wanted to shoot this same subject, but move in for a closer shot of just the rain drops, I pull out my macro lens, which is designed to focus in closer, and get us into that 1:1 “macro” range. Once we hit that 1:1 minimum focusing distance of our macro lens, we are now working in the next style, “macro”.
This is also “close-up” photography. I’m shooting a large subject with a surrounding area, and this was easily done with my standard Tamron 16-300 lens.
If we can shoot close-up photography with our standard lens, then why do we need a macro lens? You don’t need a macro lens, if you are only going to shoot “close-ups”, but if you need to get in closer then the “close-up” range, then you will need a macro lens, unless you want to add on extension tubes to your regular lens, which will allow the regular lens to focus in closer and into the macro world.
Even though a regular lens will focus into “macro” ranges with extension tubes, the tubes are a big inconvenience, as each tube only works in a certain range, and you will have to add and subtract tubes as you change distances from the subject, causing you to have to take off the lens each time you change tubes, and also exposing the camera’s sensor to dust when you change tubes. A big hassle, so much better just having a macro lens.
If we are shooting a combination of close-up and macro styles then it’s best to carry a macro lens because it will cover both styles, “close-up” and “macro”.
Here is a section of a small feather shot in the “macro” 1:1 range.
How do you know when you are in the 1:1 range of your macro lens?
It will be when you are shooting in the minimum focusing distance of the macro lens.
These Stamens of a flower are in the “macro” 1:1 range.