Using a Macro Lens
Macro photography refers to a special case where the subjects have a size of around 1/10 to their original size in the final photo. A macro lens allows the subjects to have this size in the picture and therefore, is used for close-up photography. Macro photography is available these days in almost all the cameras, but compact cameras cannot match the details that are captured with a DSLR camera.
Macro lenses are available from all major manufacturers and range from 50mm to 105mm in their focal lengths. Most people buy a lens of around 50-55mm for performing macro photography. You should never compromise on such a lens if you want to become an expert photographer.
These lenses with lower focal lengths are limited in use. You have to go very close to the subjects, in order to properly shoot them with a 1:1 magnification. A 100mm lens is ideal for shooting macro photos. This lens can be combined with good exposures taken with an increased ISO sensitivity but a faster shutter speed. You will be able to maintain a foot of distance between you and the object. This will allow you to better illuminate your target without using a close-in flash.
There are also special opportunities for macro shooting. They are perfect for shooting food items and can also be used to take the photos of small insects and flowers.
Amazing food photos is all about setting up the shot in the most ideal manner. An expert photographer is the one, who is properly arranging the light to illuminate the subject in an even tone. The best way to take photos of food items is to only use a single source of light. This needs to be a diffused source, such as natural light coming from a window or an overhead electric light for maximum diffusion.
It is ideal to use a softbox which is set at quarter power, for creating a natural and a diffused source of light. With a macro lens of 100-105mm, you will be able to take an ideal picture by using a tripod stand and taking the picture from the top. You can use f/2.8 or f/1.8 for creating softer and diffusing backgrounds.
It is ideal to control the depth of field as well. Small items need to be shot with narrow depth of field while a plate full of muffins needs a wider depth in order to fully present the subject.
One of the items that is difficult to shoot is an ice-cream, because it melts so quickly. This can be avoided by putting the ice-cream with some concealed dry ice that will stop it from melting. You can then compose a better shot by using exposure bracketing and taking a variety of shots.
However, it is better to compose a manual shot with medium exposure. The location should be perfect and the photographer should always avoid the use of software to remove mistakes. Instead, it is better to experiment and learn to shoot clean photos the first time around.
Insects and flowers present an ideal subject for shooting macro photos. They show great detail with the right shot, and are certainly a niche which requires great understanding of photography. The best way to take the shot would be to use f/8 aperture at ISO 200 sensitivity.
The photo should ideally be shot in the aperture priority mode for the best results. The shutter speed should be moderate around 1/100 to 1/250 sec. These settings are ideal for a lens of around 100mm focal length. You will need to change the exposure around the match the same quality of results with a different lens. A smaller lens will require increases ISO sensitivity. You can use a faster shutter speed with a low focal length lens to compensate for the increased ISO setting.