This tutorial will cover Micro Photography, and Photomicroscopy. Before we get started, there are a few things you need to know.
  • Macro photography is the same thing as Micro photography. Same thing, different name. See why here if you must know. I will refer to it as Macro from here on out for the sake of consistency.
  • Macro filters can be used to achieve a macro effect, but true macro photography uses true macro lenses.
  • A true macro lens has a reproduction ratio of at least 1:1. Traditionally, this means that the size of the object on the (35mm) negative, is the same size or greater than the object is in real life.
  • Photomicroscopy refers to photography that achieves reproduction ratios much greater than 1:1. This is often produced with a microscope; however, this tutorial will discuss an alternate method.
  • A lens that is not classified as a macro lens can still be used for macro photography with the use of macro filters or other mechanisms such as extension tubes, bellows, or even a second lens mounted backward to the first (which I will discuss later).
Note: There are a lot of different techniques for macro photography. Entire books can be written on each method. This is just a basic tutorial that explains the method I often use.
With that being said, there are several techniques that will not be covered in this tutorial. If you feel that I'm missing something important, feel free to post any additional techniques in the comments section, but be aware that I know this is by no-means an exhaustive tutorial.

Step 1: What to Use

As I mentioned before, there are several methods used for macro photography and photomicroscopy. I will be demonstrating my method, but I will offer some basic advice later on for simple macro photography. The following is a list of items which I used to take the photos you see in this tutorial.

What To Use: (see photo for exact item names)
  • SLR Camera (preferably digital)
  • Bellows and/or extension tubes
  • Macro lens
  • Ringlight Flash
  • Shutter Release Remote
  • Tripod
  • Flashlight (not shown)
  • Color Gels (not shown)
Don't forget free software, like Combine-Z, which can bring a stack of images into focus.
Thanks for the advice, Bob. I haven't used that before. I'm gonna have to check that out.
nice job. i tried something like it before. but my problems is when using 28mm lens, i cant extend it like 50mm lens, and the focusing distance gets very tiny, but how did u combine bellows and extension and still getting focus??
<p>excellent work! Canon users can use focus stacking provided by Magic Lantern.</p>
Thank You tylercard, <br> <br>This is a very complete overview of macro photography and I appreciate that you kept it at a good level for novices. I've been interested in macro photography for some time and this is one of the best overviews for a person new to the field. <br> <br>Keep up the good work.
I rarely say that, but I really love your photos : You just make everyday-life more beautiful !
That is a CRAZY setup you've got there...I like it!
Dayum bellows and tubes! S*** just got real :)
I dont know about all the rest of you guys, but I just used the lenses out of disposable cameras and taped them to my ipod.... I get pretty good macro photos too :)
I have every thing but the belows. Do you really use them together with the tubes? I would have thought it would be difficult to focus with both. I will have to invest in some belows I think.
this is amazimg, i wish i had the equipment to do this
Start out by getting some macro filters or an extension tube. You'd be surprised what you can accomplish with just these cheap accessories.
Moss is amazing...
Amazing photos! I'll never get sick of seeing close up snowflakes, but it was a first seeing close up bubbles. I love seeing things as close as possible.

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