This article will detail five camera settings that are essential and which all macro photographers should know. It was inspired by Will Nichols’ excellent tips Five Camera Settings Every New Photographer Needs to Know. You will notice two main themes in this article – ensuring a perfect point of focus and ensuring maximum sharpness. Both of which are critical in macro photography.
Included in the list of settings are Manual Focus, Manual Mode, Live View, the self-timer, and burst mode. By familiarizing yourself with these settings, your macro photography will grow by leaps and bounds.
1. Manual Focus
Manual focus is one of the most important tools in a macro photographer’s toolkit. When working at high magnifications, you cannot rely on a lens’s autofocus capabilities for a couple of reasons.
First, Manual Focus is necessary for creative macro photography. In macro photography, particularly in more abstract macro photography, you have to make your point of focus count. Only by using Manual Focus, can you do so with the required pinpoint accuracy.
Secondly, macro lenses tend to have relatively bad autofocus capabilities, especially at high magnifications. It becomes frustrating to sit and wait while the lens pans back and forth (this is an even bigger problem in low light).
By using Manual Focus, I was able to render the tip of the flower sharp.
The solution? Learn to use Manual Focus. With a bit of practice, you’ll find that you can focus quickly and efficiently, and your keeper rate will immediately increase.