Shooting Macro Photos on a Budget

Shooting macro photos is an entertaining and enjoyable hobby. Whether your subjects consist of jewelry, nature, toys, or other smaller subjects, macro photography can provide some astonishing results. I first got into shooting macro when I gained an interest in insects/bugs, spiders, and other beautiful things found in nature. Before getting started in my photography of these subjects, I had a quickly growing interest in the insect world, as well as nature. It can be therapeutic walking through various trails through the woods of some local parks. Along with going out on my own, exploring to see what things could be found, Washtenaw Community College offered a course of Field Biology. This was a perfect match for me, as it was completely focused on exploring nature. Each week a different subject would be covered. The subjects varied from trees, plants and flowers, reptiles, insects and so on. Each class was hands on, walking through trails and being educated on these various things. It was so enjoyable, that it became a large part of my free time.
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Normally, a lot of beautiful things can be found to shoot while walking on trails through the woods, There are also a good number of subjects in the backyard. The things found around my house vary from wildflowers, spiders, insects, and bugs. Not everyone shares a fascination of insects, bugs and spiders, but even if they aren’t a big “fan” of them, they do appreciate the photos and being educated about the various things. This is another part of the process that I enjoy. Spend the day shooting as many subjects as can be found, and then coming home and researching them. There are a variety of ways that identification can be achieved, such as books, and a few insect identification websites. There’s a definite enjoyment in people now asking, quite often, “What’s this?” followed by a photo of some insect, bug or spider that they have happened across.
For my equipment, I use both a Canon PowerShot SX130 IS and a Canon PowerShot SX160 IS. Both of these “point and shoot” cameras are fairly the same, with the only difference being the megapixels and zoom capability. Both PowerShots have a macro setting on them. Obviously, there will be a difference in how magnified your macro photos will be when comparing a $150 PowerShot between a $1000+ EOS with a $200+ macro specific lens, however these tools managed to capture some really nice shots. A new product excited me recently, and sounded very interesting; the Little BigShot macro lens.
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The Little BigShot macro lens is a macro lens made specifically for point and shoots. It is essentially a circular magnifying glass that easily attaches to the lens of your camera with 3M snap-lock fasteners; similar to Velcro. The price of the Little BigShot is reasonable as well, priced at $25 shipped in the USA and can be purchased here: http://littlebigshot.blogspot.com/.
You will want to watch the videos on the site so you will get an understanding of how it works, and if it will work with your particular camera. Since receiving my Little BigShot, it’s been a bit rainy, so there hasn’t been too many opportunities to try shooting with it as much as desired. The shots taken with this lens have turned out remarkably well. Encouragement is meant to anyone with an interest in photography to explore the world of macro photography. It will take some time and trial and error, but in the end you too will be capturing some lovely photos.
By Jason Shepard
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