Ah… Macro Photography Technique. But why? Macro photography is easy right? Unless you are happy with mediocre results, I beg to differ… It took me quite a number of outings and experiments to master this field of nature photography (if one can ever claim to master it!).
When it comes to macro photography technique, one has to watch out for a few common bad habits. Your subject is usually not in the brightest of light. This is your main concern. By the way, in photography light is supposed to be your main concern. Painting with light remember… To complicate matters further, if your subject is in bright light it is probably the wrong time of day to take the photograph. Great hobby this, right?
Low levels of light on your subject causes a slow shutter speed. This causes camera shake issues. That is why you should never attempt macro photography without a tripod. This is the main thing you should know, and if you want to stop reading now, at least remember this point. Using a tripod is half the problem solved!
Now, to make the tripod issue even more important, but also necessary to think of separately is the issue of depth of field. You need a very small aperture (high number = small aperture) to get enough depth of field in your macro work.
The narrow depth of field often encountered in macro work is sometimes used to give a macro photograph a certain special feel, but this has to be used expertly and very selectively to work. In about ninety percent of cases, it will be better to have sufficient depth of field.
So, to get sufficient depth of field you need to stop down the lens (aperture of 16 or higher). This is bad news considering your subject most probably already has too little quality light on it. You are letting a very small portion of that through to your digital sensor. This underlines the necessity of the tripod, but it might also start your thinking towards getting that Macro Twin Light you have been thinking so much about. That will reduce the need for careful Macro Photography Technique…
The main point to remember is to set your aperture to 16 or more (I often use an aperture in the high twenties) to get sufficient depth of field.
Next please. Composition is more difficult for macro work than for other types of nature photography. Why is this. Your subject might be a flying insect, a flower being moved by the wind, or an insect sitting on a leave at a very funny angle. Add the fact that you need to approach very carefully to not disturb your subject and you have a bit of a tricky situation.
There are no golden rules to help you solve this one. Play around with composition until you get something that works. Decent composition was very difficult for me when I just started photography. Some folks suggest you use the rule of thirds, but it is way more complicated than that. I find that I learn a lot about successful composition by studying the work of professionals. I also enter my photographs for salons and other competitions. You learn a great deal here.
Well, that is it for Macro Photography Technique. My last bit of advice is to get practice, and plenty of it. That is after all the only real way to improve your Macro Photography Technique!