Much has been written on the topic of Macro photography for those photographers fortunate enough to own a DSLR with macro lenses – but what about if you own a compact point and shoot camera? Can you get great macro shots too?
While the results achievable with a point and shoot camera in macro mode probably won’t compare with a DSLR with a purpose built macro lens I’ve still seen some remarkably good shots with compact cameras (all three shots in this post were taken with compact cameras). Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of yours:
Select Macro Mode – this is a fairly obvious first step but I’m always surprised by how many digital camera owners haven’t explored the shooting modes that their camera has. Macro mode is generally symbolized with a little flower and when selected it will tell your camera that you want to focus on a subject closer to your lens than normal (the minimum distance allowed will vary from camera to camera – consult your instruction manual to find yours). Macro mode will also usually tell your camera to choose a large aperture so that your subject is in focus but the background is not.
Use a Tripod – in macro photography a tripod can be particularly useful, even if you’re just shooting with a compact camera. Keeping your camera still not only improves your shots (getting rid of camera shake) but it allows you to play around with different settings without losing your composition.
Aperture – once in macro mode some cameras will not allow you to make many other adjustments but if you are able to play with your aperture settings it can be well worthwhile to do so. As we’ve covered in our Aperture tutorials, the main thing that aperture impacts is the depth of field of your shots.