This post will give you a basics photography lesson and prepare you for macro photography. Let’s begin with overview of cameras in our lesson:
Camera: Cameras come in all types and sizes ranging from old film point and shoot to new digital medium format cameras. Chances are you would be using a digital SLR or digital point and shoot camera. Whatever camera you have, make sure to read the manual from start till end at least 2 times, since every camera has different controls and you would not want to carry the manual with you all the time.
The digital cameras have a CCD or CMOS sensor inside which captures the images and then the camera records it on the storage card. The size of the sensor is important as a large image can be edited and also printed out on large size. Nowadays, anything above 10 mega pixels is fine and is easily available.
Lens: If you have a point and shoot the lens would be fixed in the camera, while in the digital SLR you have the option of changing the lens as per your requirement. It is here that the digital SLR gives you great versatility over the point and shoot. The focal length of the lens shows you the angle of the lens i.e what is the coverage of the lens. The lens coverage ranges from wide angle (very wide view) to telephoto (very narrow view).
Wide Angle Zoom Lens
Lenses are made for a variety of applications ranging from macro to sports photography. The aperture and focal length of the lens is made according to the purpose it is made for.
Aperture: Aperture is the opening of the lens. Inside the lens are shutter blades which control the light passing through the lens. A smaller number like 1.0 means a bigger shutter opening as compared to a bigger number like 32.
Depth of field: The depth of field is determined by the aperture of the lens. Depth of field means how much area of the picture is in focus from the point where you focus. A small aperture will give a shallow depth of field, while a high aperture like 32 would give you a high depth of field.
Shutter Speed: The shutter speed is controlled in the camera body. It depends upon the light entering the camera through the lens. A higher shutter speed is very essential for macro shots if you are holding the camera in your hand. Generally, a shutter speed reciprocal to the focal length of the lens is enough to hand held the camera. i.e a shutter speed of 1/100sec on a 100mm lens is ok. Any shutter speed less than that would require a tripod.
Exposure: The exposure in layman terms is the amount of light falling on the sensor and it is responsible for the photograph taken. The exposure can be adjusted via mainly shutter speed and aperture. There are also other variables like ISO (sensor sensitivity) which can affect the exposure.
Tripod: For slow shutters speeds where you cannot hold the camera in your hand a tripod is essential to get sharp pictures. The heavier a tripod is the more stable it is. A tripod is an essential item in macro photography involving static objects.
Storage Media: The last lesson is about the storage media. The camera captures images on the sensor and then stores it on a storage media. Different cameras have different media slots like compact flash (CF), secure digital (SD), microdrive, smart media, memory stick, xd picture card etc. As a basic rule, estimate the number of photographs you intend to take in a single trip away from home. I would recommend at least 2 GB to hold images.
This was a basic photography lesson from my side. Hope it is enough to get you going on your macro photography.