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Choose the Right Macro Lens for Your Subject

A key component to consider when looking for the macro lens that best fits your close-up photography style is what subjects you will be photographing with the lens. If you generally shoot inanimate subjects, you can position your lens extremely close to them. Other subjects may require that you keep a safe distance, meaning that you need a longer macro lens that enables you to shoot from farther away.

You’re better off keeping your distance when you shoot subjects like the following:

  • Living subjects: Any creature that can easily be startled may not trust you enough to get in super close to them. Examples include small lizards, snakes, flying insects, or any living thing that humans tend to swat at. You can’t always predict a creature’s reaction. Certain species of frogs jump away if you get too close, while others don’t budge regardless of how much you invade their space.

  • Subjects in hard-to-reach places: Spiders in a web make very cooperative macro subjects, but if the web is in an awkward area that keeps you from setting up a tripod or is just too far-off to reach, a long macro lens can help a great deal.

  • People: Human subjects most likely appreciate you keeping your distance when shooting close-up details of their faces or bodies. Some subjects may agree to let you move in extra close, but hanging back usually makes your subjects more comfortable and lets them provide more natural poses.

  • Reflective surfaces: Placing your camera too close to a reflective surface may spoil the shot. The farther you are from the reflective surface, the smaller your own reflection becomes. Some examples of reflective surfaces include water, eyes, glass, some metallic materials, and any mirrored or glossy surface.

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