Shooting Macro with Chris Niccolls

  By ColinTyler

With the spring and summer months here, Chris and Jordan took some time out of their busy schedules to take a look at what it really takes to start shooting macro photography, though they did something different this time. Instead of Chris’ normal style of tutorial, or a review of gear, Chris and Jordan decided to focus on the technique rather than the technical. Not worrying about MTF charts, but just getting worthwhile photos.

When it came to gear, Chris was working with the Sony A7R II and it’s mighty 90mm macro lens, but there are a lot of different options on the market. The big things to keep in mind is what working distance you want to have from your subject. Typically, having more working distance is better because it allows you to not disturb your subject.

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to cameras – different sensor sizes all have their strengths and weaknesses. Full-frame sensors offer the ability to shoot at a higher ISO with less noise, but compromise with a shallower depth-of-field to work in at wide apertures. APS-C and Micro 4/3 sensors offer tighter magnification and a wider depth-of-field than a full-frame sensor with equivalent lens, but become susceptible to lens diffraction and softer images at lower apertures.

Translucent reflectors are also an excellent way to control sunlight and soften shadows, and prevent textures from starting to look rough. Combining a reflector with a flash is also a great way to control the composition and contrast of the photo by providing a nice even light to work with. When on a tripod, the use of a macro focusing rail is recommended as this allows you to make the needed micro-adjustments to frame and focus your shot without having to reposition the tripod and camera.

It is also worth noting that Chris has previously taken a look at the Cognisys StopShot system. This handy unit can be used to time your camera’s firing, from everything from bullets to water droplets, as well as having some other cool features.