Today I’m going to share my favorite tips on macro beauty photography, including lens choice, angles and depth of field.
One of my specialties (and favorite things) is to shooting beauty photography.
I’m often asked to shoot macro beauty images to be able to capture the close up details of the subject and make up.
This may sound easy but there are several things you might come across that could make it challenging.
Here are some of my favor tips and tricks to help you achieve great macro beauty photos:
👉 Be aware of narrow depth of field
With macro photography you’re working an extremely narrow depth of field, I’m talking millimeters sometimes and it’s going to be very difficult to shoot at a wide aperture. I recommend starting somewhere around F/11 to give yourself a little more flexibility. If you need everything in focus, try getting everything in the same plane — meaning the same distance from camera.
Also be aware that the tighter your shot is, the narrowing your depth of field will be. For example, if you’re very close to your subject with a 180mm macro lens attempting to zero in on the eye, you likely won’t get the subject’s pupil and eye lashes in focus, the depth of field is that narrow.
Two things can help with this. Try shooting at F/16 or F/22 to see if that helps. Next, try backing up from the subject, even a tiny bit, for a slightly wider composition, then try cropping in post.
👉 Focus carefully
Focusing a macro lens can be a challenge, especially while being hand held. Even your breath can change the focus. Considering using a tripod or a monopod in this instance. Be very careful with your focus, whether using autofocus or manual. I personally use a single focus point and constantly move it around based on the composition. Take your time and be precise.
👉 Select the right focal length & lens
While there are multiple tools to shoot macro beauty photography you’ll typically want a lens designed for macro, not just one that has “close focusing capabilities”. Most lens manufactures have several different focal lengths to choose from and selecting the right one can make a big difference in your compression and working distance.
As you probably know, if you take a 35mm lens and you try to shoot a tight portrait, it’s going to distort the face. Typically, you end up selecting a portrait lens more with something like 85mm longer focal length and this is gives you more pleasing compression. So now imagine you take that 35 mm as a macro lens, you get insanely close to your subject and you take a portrait. The distortion is going to be even more exaggerated. So when selecting a focal length for a macro lens, the same ideas of compression apply a longer focal length will have more compression than a short one. Personally, I recommend selecting something maybe 100mm or longer to achieve more pleasing results when you’re that close up.
👉 Angles Matter
Angles make a big difference in macro photography. Even the slightest change in the camera’s position or the subject’s pose will make dramatically different results. With macro photography, think of it like this: Everything is exaggerated and it’s going to take practice to get used to this. So be aware that whatever is closest to the camera will appear larger and whatever’s further will appear smaller.
So for example, if you want to emphasize the subject lips, maybe you need a lower camera angle. If you want to emphasize the eyes, maybe a higher camera angle or tilt the subject’s head back towards camera.
👉 Concept & team
My last tip is not technical or gear related. Instead, it’s conceptual. So far I haven’t mentioned the creative team and this is one of the most important parts of the entire shoot. Spend time testing with makeup artists, find people who are talented to flatter your subject and help you execute your concept. When you get up close, bad makeup is going to be extremely noticeable with nowhere to hide, your creative team will become indispensable!
📸Macro lenses I recommend:
✅ Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro – https://adorama.rfvk.net/Ba6Pq
✅ Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro – https://adorama.rfvk.net/j4Bk0
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