Chris Niccolls is the talented photographer and videographer host behind the YouTube channel The Camera Store. The channels does everything from camera hands-on tests to live Q&As. They even do tutorials, like this one where Niccolls goes over his process for shooting macro shots. To Niccolls however, it’s not just a tutorial, it’s also about having fun and taking photographs.
“I think it’s easy to lose sight of why we do all this stuff in the first place,” Niccolls says. “It’s not really about technology. It’s not about lens sharpness and MTF charts. It’s really about getting nice photos that you’re going to enjoy and appreciate.”
Take a look at Niccolls’ tutorial / fun outing for macro photography:
Niccolls goes into the gear that you are going to need when shooting macro, and as you might have guessed, at the heart of the gear is the lens that you are going to be using. In the video, Niccolls uses a Sony a7R
and a 90mm Macro. He recommends getting a dedicated macro lens because it will get you the closest frame possible. “They’re always going to be a fixed focal length lens. No zoom,” Niccolls says. If you were to use a zoom lens, you wouldn’t be getting in as close, which means that you’d have to crop afterwards for a more tight picture. Chris also says that he likes to manually focus his macro lenses. This is because he easily loses focus on moving subjects, like a bee for instance.
For lighting, Niccolls says that he likes to get softer light because it gives texture and contrast to what he his shooting. To get softer light, he defuses the light with a translucent reflector. He also says that he likes to use a tripod as opposed to shooting handheld for the stability that a tripod provides. With the tripod, he recommends getting a macro focussing rail, that lets you adjust the position of your camera without having to move the tripod itself.
Finally, in darker situations, where your subject is in the shadows, Niccolls says that you’re going to want to use a flash in a macro situation; as long you are in focus and have the right depth of field, says says the flash will take care of everything else.
Niccolls’ tips for shooting macro photography are good tips to learn from, but Niccolls also teaches us that you should always remember to have fun with the work that you do.