Fo­cus by eye

At high mag­ni­fi­ca­tions there is no mar­gin for mis-fo­cus­ing, so pin­point ac­cu­racy is re­quired for bit­ingly sharp macro shots

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The ef­fects of fo­cus­ing, or more im­por­tantly, mis-fo­cus­ing, are far more pro­nounced when you are shoot­ing sub­jects in ex­treme close-up, be­cause depth of field is limited to just a few mil­lime­tres. It’s pos­si­ble to in­crease the depth of field by shoot­ing at a very small aper­ture, for ex­am­ple f/16 or f/22, but even then the amount of your sub­ject that will be recorded in sharp fo­cus will be limited to a very nar­row band in­deed.

Also, us­ing such a small aper­ture may not al­ways be de­sir­able in macro pho­tog­ra­phy, as this can bring the sur­round­ings more into fo­cus, which may draw view­ers’ at­ten­tion away from the sub­ject. In fact, many of the most suc­cess­ful macro shots are taken at quite a wide aper­ture, to de­lib­er­ately re­strict the point of fo­cus to a very spe­cific part of the sub­ject in or­der to give it greater im­pact.

Ir­re­spec­tive of the aper­ture you de­cide is ap­pro­pri­ate for your sub­ject, pre­cise fo­cus­ing is vi­tal. This re­quires a me­thod­i­cal, dis­ci­plined ap­proach with a high level of ac­cu­racy in both fo­cus­ing and cam­era po­si­tion­ing. To achieve the best re­sults you’ll need to take your time, and to make very fine ad­just­ments, as well as make con­stant checks to en­sure you have got the best pos­si­ble fo­cus.

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