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Between focusing on the lighting, camera shake, subject movement, and focus, composition often takes a back seat in macro photography. But it's not any less important than in any other field of photography. Many photographers often get lost in the incredible amount of detail that can be seen in their subject. This distracts them from the fact that they've forgotten to properly frame the subject in an appealing way. So the next time you get up close and personal with your subject, don't think about how close you can get and how much detail you can see. Think about how the subject is composed. Are you using the rule of thirds? Would taking a few steps back add some interesting elements to the scene such as a flower or dew drops?
Lack of Light
Beginners often mistake how much light is actually needed in macro photography. The problem is not always so much that you're not getting as much light into the lens through using it in a macro setting (although, with certain macro techniques, such as extension tubes, there is a little loss of light) but that you will often be using a much smaller aperture to increase your depth-of-field. This requires more light regardless of your situation. What you may need is a flash unit to properly expose your scene. In fact, may flash units are made specifically for macro use. Dual flashes and ring flashes are popular among macro photographers although you can always rig up something yourself if you don't have the money for such equipment. Also, don't be afraid to crank up your ISO a little bit for these conditions.
Critical focus is a particularly challenging skill in macro photography. Even the pros will have tons of out of focus shots. The reason for this is that the closer you get to your subject, the shallower your depth-of-field becomes. When you get down to a 1:1 magnification ratio, your focal plane becomes razor thin. This forces macro photographers to stop down to much smaller apertures (and therefore lose a significant amount of light). So once you think you have your subject in focus, fire off multiple shots while moving slightly closer or further away. This will help make sure that at least one of your photos has your subject in complete focus.
Just like shooting a child or a dog, you want to get down on your subject's level. Shooting from eye level while standing up typically provides a very unflattering image. It's the view that everybody sees from everyday. Moving down (or up) to your subject's eye level will almost always make your photo more dynamic. For macro photography, this can be a little difficult as bugs and flowers like to stay close to the ground. But if you want a great shot, you're going to have to get down there with them. Whether this means squatting, sitting, or laying down in the grass, you might have to get a little dirty to get the best photo.
Written by Spencer Seastrom