Exploring Macro Photography: Beginner Image-Making Tips & 10 Free Stock Photos to Download

Have you been looking for a quick guide to get started with macro photography? Well, you’ve come to the right place! Below, you’ll find a few beginner photographer tips and 10 stock shots to use as your macro image inspiration!

In this post:

What is macro photography?

Download this free stock macro image here.

The term macro photography refers to the practice of capturing images of tiny subjects at a magnification ratio of 1:1. Simply stated, shooting macro results in photographs with a shallow depth of field, in which the subject appears life-size or larger. 

When capturing digital images, this photography style can be achieved using a macro lens or by changing the camera settings to macro mode. 

3 Tips to Take Your Close-up Photography Skills to New Levels

Download this free stock macro image here.

Are you looking for macro photography tips? If so, you’re in the right place. Below are a few tips to help you take your macro image quality up a notch.

Tip 1: Invest In Macro Lenses

Download this free stock image here.

While you can achieve macro images with a normal lens and close-up filters, it might be worth investing in a macro lens or two – if you can afford to invest in your photography gear, of course. 

Macro lenses are specifically created for close-up photography, making them perfect for photographers who plan to do a lot of macro shooting. When shopping for a macro lens, consider the subject matters you’d like to explore and the different focal length options on the market.

  • Short Macro Lenses
    • 35mm – 60mm Focal Length
    • good for shooting subjects who are nearby
  • Medium/Intermediate Macro Lenses
    • 90mm – 105mm Focal Length
    • has a bit more working distance than short macro lenses, good for shoot macro photos of subjects who aren’t extremely close to the photographer.
  • Long Macro Lenses
    • 150mm – 20mm Focal Length
    • many photographers prefer long macro lenses or telephoto lenses when shooting subjects that are far away or trying to achieve extreme detail shots

2. Practice Shooting in Manual Mode with Manual Focus

Download this free stock macro photo here.

Aside from focusing on focal distance, one way to improve your macro photography is to experiment with manual mode. Next time you set out to capture a close-up image of a bee harvesting nectar from a flower or a ladybug resting on leaf, focus manually instead of relying on autofocus features, which may fail to find a focal point in such instances. Keep in mind that when you work in manual mode, you may have to move in closer to your subject when focusing. However, to achieve maximum magnification and capture a true macro photo, working with manual is certainly worth it! 

If possible, compare manually-focused images with previous ones taken in auto mode. You’ll likely notice a difference in the image quality – especially when it comes to depth of field. 

3. Use A Tripod for Stationary Subjects

Download this free stock image here.

Macro photography can be tricky to nail at first – which is why we encourage you to shoot as often as possible and implement the use of a tripod when necessary. A tripod is especially useful when it comes to shooting macro shots of stationary subjects but can be used to capture live, moving subjects (such as insects) as well. 

Afterall tripod works to stabilize a camera – an important thing for photographers who want to avoid camera shake and capture clear, sharp photos.

3 Subjects to Explore As A Macro Photographer

While the origin of macro photography was founded on the documentation of insects and other biological material, there can be a lot of different types of macro images. Take a moment to think about what you’d like to photograph with a macro lens. But if nothing comes to mind immediately, don’t panic! Below are a few suggestions for budding macro photographers. 

1. Nature in the Various States of Life & Decay

Download this free stock photo here.

Many nature shots focus on the beauty and vibrancy of insect and plant life. However, macro photography doesn’t have to be used in this way, exclusively. One idea to break up the stagnancy of typical nature shots is to photograph close up images of plants and/or insects at various stages of their lives. 

2. Other Human Beings

Download this free stock photo here.

Images with shallow depth of field lend themselves well to portrait photography – so it’s worth exploring people as a subject in your next macro project. If possible, grab a spouse, family member or friend for a portrait session. Use macro filters or a macro lens to capture the details of their face, hands, or other features they possess. 

3. Raw or Cooked Food

Download this free stock photo here.

One way to put a good macro lens to use is to photograph food. Whether raw or cooked is your choice. Either way, macro photography can be used to capture the textures and colors of culinary creations. 

10 Free Stock Macro Photographs 

If you’ve been searching for free stock macro images, you’re in luck. Below, we’ve curated a list of 10 stellar shots that you can download and use for free. 

1. A Fluffy White Dandelion

2. A Vibrant, Dew-Covered Red Rose

3. A HoverFly Slowly Feeding on Grass Seeds

4. A Snail & Centipede on the Forest Floor

5. A Fly Blowing A Bubble

6. Three Carpenter Ants in Motion

7. Raindrops Cascading Down the Leaves of A Plant

8. Dragonfly On A Flower Stem

9. A Black and Yellow Striped Bee Gathering Nectar

10. A Dew-Covered Green Locust