Some photographers like to take photos of large sweeping landscapes.  Others like to take beautiful portraits.  Some will sit for hours exposed to the elements to get that perfect wildlife shot.  Then there are macro photographers who will spend all their time searching out and photographing the smallest of things.  Insects, flowers, dew drops, these are all a macro photographers forte.

But what is macro photography?  Essentially, it is close up photography but photographed with a macro lens.  A macro lens is especially made to have the highest performance and sharpest focus at close up distances.  Ratios of 1:1 where the subject appears lifesize in the image are common but ratios of 2:1 and anything higher (3:1, 4:1, even up to 20:1 and higher) can also be found.

There are many techniques photographers use to achieve these magnification levels:

- A macro lens mounted regularly on the camera will produce stunning images at the ratio described on the lens, usually 1:2, 1:1, or 2:1.

- Extending the distance between the lens and the camera sensor is another popular option used by photographers.  This usually involves adding extension tubes or an adjustable bellows between the lens and the camera.

- Adding a teleconverter between the camera and the lens gives a larger image but as with extension tubes, less light reaches the sensor meaning longer exposure time will be needed.

- Reversing the lens on the camera is a cheap method used by many photographers.  This involves using a reversing ring, a special adapter that attaches to the filter thread at the front of the lens allowing it to be coupled to the camera body backwards.

- Reversing a lens of a lesser focal length on to the front of a normally mounted lens using a macro coupler designed to screw into the filter threads of both lenses.

Depth of field, when shooting macro images, is usually rather small and using some of the methods above will reduce that depth even more making some subjects extremely hard to photograph.  A common way around this is to use a method called focus stacking where several images of a subject are taken with different, but overlapping, focus points.  The images are then added together in post production software using only the parts of each photo that are in focus.

For those wishing to get into macro photography it’s very simple.  All you really need is a camera and a lens with macro abilities.  Most people start out taking photos of flowers and then move onto insects.  But the subjects are endless and only limited by the photographers imagination.

Below are 25 spectacular examples of macro photography to give you some ideas.

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