November 13, 2011

Get in super close with your camera's "macro mode."

Macro mode "on" (look at the flower).

There was a time (not so long ago) that I knew nothing about cameras.

On the day I unboxed my first digital SLR (eight years ago this week), I thought it’d be a great idea for my first photo to be one of a gift I was going to give to a friend.

I put the gift on a nearby windowsill, got up really, really close (so it’d look nice and big in the frame) and tried to snap the photo. But the autofocus wouldn’t work. I was new to all of this and figured something was wrong with the camera. So I tried switching to manual focus. All I got was a bunch of blurry photos.

The reason? Nobody told me that you need a special “macro” lens to get really close with a camera.

A macro lens is perfect for shooting flowers, bugs and holiday gifts for friends – and the best news is that your point-and-shoot has one (sorta) built in.

How I turn on macro mode.
If you look on the back of most point-and-shoots, you’ll see a symbol that looks a whole lot like a tulip. Your camera defaults to something called “landscape mode,” which is designed to let you take nice portraits and landscape shots. Macro mode simply switches things so you can get in super close – like 3-4 inches or less – and take photos that fill the frame.

Traditional mode engaged - the "!" shows me that I can't focus.

Enabling macro mode on most cameras is super-duper easy too. On my Canon G11, I just press the macro button (the flower) and I’m ready to go. It’s really that easy – and that handy. 

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