What does ‘macro’ mean?

Macro is Latin for ‘large’. In photographic terms, such as ‘photomacrography’, ‘macrography’ or ‘macro photography‘ we are referring to making images in which the small is made larger than life-size. While ‘macro’ is used as a general term for close-up photography, it is generally understood be applied to those photographs which are taken greater than life-size, as compared to the size on the image sensor. Macro spans a range of about 1x to 10x magnification, after which it is usually more convenient to use the techniques of photomicrography.

What is close-up and macro photography really good for?

  • getting closer to nature…real close! Macro photography is a great way to explore insects, fungi, mosses, lichens in their habitat.
  • contributing to science through citizen science projects such as eButterfly and the Lost Ladybug Project.
  • documenting the biological sciences: lichenologists, entomologists, mycologists, bryologists etc.
  • knowledge and learning–there is so much to learn about techniques, identification, natural history…macro strengthens the brain!
  • exercise–walking, kneeling, crouching, bending, crawling and even some running are all part of the macro photographer’s workout.
  • enhancing dexterity–handling equipment, changing lenses, manipulating subjects, DIY projects…all can help maintain dexterity.
  • an infinite amount of subjects–there is really no limitations for the macro photographer.
  • a winter pastime… macro can be practiced indoors and out, no matter where you are.
  • expanding your hobbies! Macro is a great way to share images of your collections, crafts and art online.
  • unlimited avenues of artistic expression. From realism to abstract–unlimited.
  • exploring a single subject: discover the universe in a flower (or a marble, or an insect…)
  • staying close to home…you don’t have to travel to do macro photography.
  • meeting fascinating people–there are many communities out there that share your passion. Check out your local nature club and specialist societies.
  • rediscovering awe and wonder: macro photography has the power to awaken the child in all of us.

There are many paths to achieving macro with a camera, and limitless opportunities to practice it. If you want to learn more, explore the web, visit the library for books and/or take a workshop! There is no end to the engagement you can find once you begin to enter small worlds with macro photography!