5 Secrets: How I capture my award winning macro photographs

 This week the Guild released the results for image of the month. So as well as sharing with you my results I thought I would be fun to share how I achieved these award winning macro photographs.

How I photograph award winning macro photographs

Plenty of people will tell you that it is the photographer not the camera that captures the image. This is very true, without an idea or “vision” you will never capture a great photograph. However today I am going to share with you some of the tools I use to help me capture these close up images. 

The Camera

I use a Canon EOS 70d DSLR for my photography. This is a crop sensor camera which when it comes to close up photography works to my advantage  over the more expensive full frame models as the camera has already cropped in nice and tight!

The Lens

I have a Canon 100mm macro lens which I use for all my close up images. This gives me a nice working distance from my subjects (in the case of living insects) but still achieve that 1:1 ratio.

Additional lenses

Before I could afford a dedicated macro lens I bought a Raynox M-150 clip on lens. These are lovely pieces of kit that you can attach to any lens to get in a bit closer. In the case of my bee images this month I attached this to my 100mm macro lens and got even closer!


When shooting close up photos the focal point becomes very small. This can make it extremely difficult to get a nice image in focus. To help with this you will need to close up the aperture to a high f-stop therefore increasing the size of your focal point. The main downside of this is you then reduce the amount of light entering the camera and will need to adjust your shutter speed and ISO as well as increasing the light levels on your subject. 

Focus Stacking

I have talked about focus stacking in a previous blog post, but for those unaware of this technique it basically involves taking a series of photographs with different focal points. You move the camera by a very small fraction between each shot (a focus rail comes in very handy for this!). Once you have captured all your photos you then use software to stitch this images together.

Image of the month results

This month I entered a super close up bee image that I created using all the tips I mentioned above. 

close up of a bee

close up of a bee

I also entered a single magnolia flower which, due to the size of the flower head I didn’t need to get in as close. This allowed me to use only the 100mm lens to create a beautiful flower image.


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