Live Big by Shooting Small: Easy Home Macro Photography Ideas

Most of us have to stay home a lot more than before. But as creative photographers, we can use this time to learn new genres of photography. These are my first experiences with macro photography.

Keep expenses down

I wanted something simple. I have minimal equipment and wanted to experiment with found objects around the house. I already had a Lensbaby Edge 35 Optic (B&H | Amazon) lens, so I bought their (B&H | Amazon) macro converters – aka tube extenders – so I could take macro shots.

oil bubbles

I took a glass saucepan, filled it with water, then poured a teaspoon of olive oil into it. I shot from above with a Pentax K-1 (B&H | Amazon) and the Edge 35 Optic.

It was difficult to focus because the depth of field was so shallow. I had to bring the glass pan up from the surface placing books underneath. It took some trial and error. In the end, a stack of four “Abandoned Southern California” nighttime photography books did the trick, along with three more and an “Abandoned Louisiana” book by Mike Cooper on the other side. This caused the glass pan to rise so the bubbles appeared crisp. A few adjustments to the focus ring and the oil bubbles looked great.

Lights from below

I placed a ProtoMachines LED2 light painting device, a Luxli Viola LED panel and my smartphone under the glass dish. I then turned off all the lights and took pictures using a Vello intervalometer so as not to introduce camera shake when I press the shutter button.

Bonus Tip: Diffuse your lights by placing white T-shirts or paper towels over the lights.

Get out of your comfort zone

I’ve never done macro photography before and enjoyed the challenge. In many ways, I found macro photography very different from what I usually do. I would say the hardest part was getting things sharp due to its incredibly shallow depth of field.

Although these might not show up on magazine covers, I’m happy with how they came out and feel good considering it was a first attempt.

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