Are you looking for something to do this Autumn? Have you considered macro photography? Macro photography is essentially extreme close-up photography, and while you may think you need fancy cameras and specific lenses to achieve great macro images, this is not true!
In this article, we’ve put together nine macro projects for you to try this Autumn. Don’t forget – this month’s theme for our Digital Splash Photography competition is Macro, so why not try some of these projects and enter some of your images to be in with a chance of winning up to £500 in Wilkinson Cameras vouchers? We’d love to see what you create.
There are specific macro lenses that you can invest in – these allow you to focus closely on an object and also give you a greater magnification factor than a standard lens, allowing you to capture more detail. They come in different focal lengths, just like any other lens. The focal length you choose will depend on the subjects you most like to photograph. For example, a 100mm macro lens will allow you to be further away from your subject. This is great for subjects that you can’t get as close to, such as insects or things low down to the ground. But for jewellery, you may find you only need a 60mm macro lens, for instance.
However, you don’t need a specific macro lens if you’re just starting out. You can still try macro-style photography with your existing lens. You can even get macro lenses that attach to your smart phone to allow you to zoom in a little closer!
Autumn is an incredible season for macro photography opportunities. The gorgeous colours of the leaves, the abundance of insects and wildlife, and the generally dry weather conditions. Here are a couple of outdoor macro projects to try this Autumn…
Of course, we had to start with leaves, didn’t we? Given that this article is all about Autumn projects, it’s a no-brainer. Autumn leaves showcase some of the most amazing colours: bright reds, mustard yellows, burnt oranges. As an added bonus, they are much easier to get up close and personal to, being on the ground… no tree climbing required! When you get up close, you’ll be surprised at just how detailed leaves actually are – they definitely make for fascinating macro subjects.
The cooler autumn mornings mean it’s a perfect time of year for dew or outdoor water droplet photos. Get down low to the ground and capture the fine beads of water clinging on to blades of grass or resting on top of the last of the summer flowers.
Insects are quite a difficult subject to photograph in macro, as they are very quick and very small. However, with some patience and perseverance, you could get some amazing images. Dragonflies are one of the most commonly photographed insects in macro due to their bright colours and detailed wings, however you will probably struggle to spot any during Autumn. Instead, you may be able to capture furry caterpillars, tiny ladybirds, patterned moths or detailed snail shells.
A subject that can provide some unusual shapes, old rusted metal gates, padlocks, fences or cars can be great opportunities for unique macro images. Alternatively, rusted tools, for example a pair of old pliers, can also work well for an option a little closer to home. In a similar vein, dirt can also make for some interesting images. Get your hands dirty (or rope a friend in to model) and then photograph your/their hands – not only will you get dirt patterns, you’ll also capture the fine details of a hand: knuckles, indents, wrinkles, veins, fingerprints. Another option is to go out after a rainy day in search of wet, squelchy mud… there’s the possibility for indents, footprints or puddles of water, or mud splatters against all kinds of objects. Splatter some mud against a rusted object and get the best of both worlds!
Another Autumn classic, wood is the last outdoor macro project on our list for you to try this Autumn. Again, think trees. Tree trunks in particular have unique, twirling patterns that are perfect for macro photography. Take a trip to a nearby forest or woodland, where you’ll likely find an assortment of tree species that will add some variety to your shots. There’s also other wooden options, for example fence slats, benches or picnic tables. Remember to get close to look for hidden details.
Of course, there’s likely to be days where it’s dark and dull outside, or pouring with rain, and going outside doesn’t seem very appealing. So, with that in mind, here are some of the best indoor macro projects to try this Autumn!
Cutlery can make for attractive macro photographs. Experiment with different layouts, symmetrical and contrasting lines. You can also play with the lighting and work with the colours, reflections and shadows to produce some unique images.
The perfect macro project choice for a rainy day! You can get some captivating and detailed shots here, focusing on one particular droplet or encompassing a section of window with multiple water trails and droplets. If it happens to be a dry day, you can turn on the tap and get some creative shots of the water flow. Experiment between having a trickle of water and having the tap full blast. You can also use household objects, which leads us on nicely to our next project…
Close-ups of glassware can result in striking abstract images composed of curves and reflections. Use multiple glasses for additional lines and focus on the overlap. Furthermore, you can add water droplets to link in with the above project, or fill the glasses full of water, juice (try different flavours for some colour variation), or any other liquid of your choice, to produce some creative, impressive images.
Similarly, you can get some great macro shots with jewellery pieces. Anything from top end diamond earrings, pearl necklaces and ruby brooches, to bottom end braided cotton or plastic beaded bracelets. With metal based or gemstone jewellery, focus on the shine and experiment with lighting to really make the colours pop.
Fruit and veg
The final Autumn macro project on our list is fruit and vegetables. Autumn brings with it a delicious selection of fruit and veg, all of which, apart from being super tasty, are the perfect macro subjects. Blackberries can be found wild or in shops and have an intriguing pattern and texture that will make for a juicy looking abstract. Pumpkins, corn and peppers all have distinct textures both on the inside and the outside. Combine a few together to get the perfect autumnal-coloured shot.
Enter your macro images into September’s Digital Splash Awards for the chance to win £100 in Wilkinson Cameras vouchers, plus the chance to be entered into the final to win a further £500 worth of vouchers!