How To Guide: Close-up

Taking the next step

A standard zoom lens will give you an introduction to macro but there are special lenses and accessories that will let you get really close-up.

Macro lens
These lenses are dedicated to close up photography and offer 1:1 magnification (1:1 indicates your subject is represented life size on your cameras imaging sensor). They can also be used for other types of photography such as portraits. For APS-C sensors a good lens to start with is the Canon EF-S 60mm f2.8 Macro USM or for full frame sensors the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM. The EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM offers dedicated Hybrid IS which allows you to hand-hold some macro shots. All these dedicated macro lens offer high corner-to-corner sharpness, contrast and image quality.

Strawberry and chocolate, © Alejandro Ruiz, Canon EOS 7D

Close-up lens
These screw to the front of your existing lens letting you focus closer. They take up very little room so are ideal accessory when you want to travel light. There are two types of Canon close-up lenses; the 250D is more powerful than the 500D.

Extension tubes
Another option with your current lens is an extension tube. This fits between your EOS body and lens, allowing the camera to focus closer. There are two Canon extension tubes - EF12 II and EF25 II. The number relates to the length of the tube - the 25mm gives a greater magnification than the 12mm tube. Extension tubes contain no glass, so the quality of your lens is preserved but they need more light on your subject to achieve the correct exposure.

Cuprite crystal, © Matteo Chinellato, Canon EOS 5D Mark II

More advanced settings on your EOS
Now that you have invested in a lens or accessory for your macro photography it is worth exploring modes with more control over the exposure settings such as Aperture Priority (Av) or Manual (M).These let you control the Depth-of-Field. Read more about these modes.

If you are using the camera on a tripod then there are a couple of ideas to make it even more stable. Pressing the shutter button can introduce some shake to your camera. If the exact moment you take your photo is not critical then set the Self-timer to 2 seconds to give time for the movement to disappear. Alternatively you can also use a remote release switch connected to your EOS. This allows you to choose the moment of exposure without touching the camera.

Sweet candy, © Luis Pineda Garcia, Canon EOS 500D

Finishing touches
You will have spent some time getting your close-up shots just right. So it makes sense to shoot in RAW format and use Canon's Digital Photography Professional (DPP) to make your final adjustments. Using tools such as lens correction, white balance adjustment and cropping can really make your images stand out. You can read a tutorial about DPP here.

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