Two Ways To Take Total Control Of Your Macro Photos Using A Canon Rebel

Macro photos are something I am passionate about. Macro is one of my favorite photography applications.

Canon Rebel T3i
Canon Rebel T3i (or T4i) with Live View is excellent for Macro Photos

It is one of those things where, since I do it all the time, I tend to forget that not everyone does. So I leave out some of the elementary (to me) details.

Well, not too long ago, I wrote an article about how to use my Canon Rebel T3i to take macro photos. The article is on another web site:

I also made a video to demonstrate the process. The video has received a fair amount of attention on YouTube, and I am including it here for your viewing pleasure.

Anyway, the other day, there was a question about which Mode Selection I used when shooting macro. It came from someone who watched the video. I had not mentioned in the video that I was using Aperture Priority. My bad. (But in my own defense, I had mentioned it in the article, and a link to the article was under the video.)

Aperture Priority For Macro Photos

Aperture priority is what I use for all of my macro shots. And there is a good reason for that. Using Aperture Priority (Av on the mode dial) I can control the amount of focus or depth of field.

Macro photos with Canon Rebel T4i
Skipper butterfly with a very shallow depth of field due to the wide aperture of the lens.

Briefly, depth of field is how much of the picture will be in focus in terms of depth. If a wide open aperture is chosen, the depth of field will be very shallow, meaning that the background and foreground will be blurry or out of focus. This is desirable when you want only part of your picture in focus as in the picture of the little Skipper butterfly on the right. Right in front of the butterfly and right behind are out of focus. This is a very shallow depth of field. If the butterfly was not parallel to the camera lens, only part of it would have been in focus. The aperture value of this shot was f/5.0.

macro photos - magnolia flower
You can increase the depth of field in macro photos by choosing a smaller aperture.

If you want to show more of the subject in focus, you choose a smaller aperture. This will increase the depth of focus. This is important if you are photographing something that is not just a flat surface like the center of a flower. When I shot this magnolia I wanted to show more detail in the beautiful petals, so I increased the aperture to f/9.0.
With the aperture, you have plenty of control over exactly how much of the picture is in focus. It’s a wonderful thing.

Live View For Macro Photos

Another beautiful thing about using a Rebel T3i or T4i is that you can turn off the auto focus of you lens and use manual focus in Live View. There is a digital zoom feature that will give you a magnification of 5x or 10x so you can fine tune and pin point your focus on the exact part of the picture you want.

To be honest, this one feature is what has given me the most excitement with these two cameras. I LOVE Live View using Manual Focus when shooting macro.

What feature on the Rebel is the most exciting to you?