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Macro Photography


Getting up close and personal can add drama, interest, and detail to any diminutive photo subject. Macro shots allow you to capture all the special little things in your life that sometimes get lost in the big picture. The macro setting on your camera (look for a flower icon on most models) helps you get picture-perfect results every time.

Larger than life

By definition, macro photographs are ones in which the subject is life-size or larger. Shooting with a standard lens results in a 1:10 ratio or an image in which the subject on film or in your digital file is 1/10 the actual size. With macro photography, you get a 1:1 ratio or an actual-size reproduction. That means you'll get more detail and better quality enlargements if you try to make the image even larger than life. And you can't beat a macro shot for drama. Look how in-your-face this normally dainty flower gets.

It's All in the Details

You may be tempted to fake a close-up shot by taking a regular image and cropping it. In some situations, that will work. But while you'll get a large subject with that effort, you'll lose some detail. Look at these images, right. Tracy Kyle shot the tiny skateboards both with and without the macro setting on her camera. She was able to get fairly close without the macro setting, but with it she was able to move in even tighter, capturing more details. Tracy will be able to print the macro image quite large without losing quality.

Often having a recognizable item in the shot with your tiny object gives it a sense of scale, such as the fingers in this photo. This becomes especially helpful when capturing items that have large look-a-likes, such as tiny love notes, mini doll furniture, or holiday ornaments.

Stay Focused

Because the depth of field -- the area of a photo in sharp focus -- is shallow in close-up photography, much of your image will be out of focus. Use the focus lock feature on your camera to zero in on the area you care most about, and then compose your shot so the soft areas are where you want them (to the side, below, etc.). If you want a larger focus area, you'll need to either find more light or use a higher film speed or digital ISO setting. Jen Lessinger used a macro lens to get this super-size photo of her and her husband's wedding rings, putting the focus on an object that means much more than its small size would suggest.

SOURCES Patterned paper: Chatterbox (green), Autumn Leaves (cream). Font: Amerika Sans off the Internet. Rub-ons: Autumn Leaves. Chipboard accents: Heidi Swapp (hearts), Making Memories (letters). Brads: American Crafts. Digital photo border: Two Peas in a Bucket. Design: Jen Lessinger.

Rainy Days

Written by Heather Melzer

As scrapbookers, our cameras are very important assets, and most of us are reluctant to take them outdoors during stormy weather. But don't let rain keep you from capturing interesting spring images. Follow these tips to prepare your camera -- and yourself -- for a downpour of photographic creativity.