I sat down with photography instructor, Matt Brown, to plan out a photography workshop on Macro photography. As we were discussing the details and a list of equipment, the question that came to my mind was - what is the real definition of Macro photography? How does this differ from just getting close? Should we really be calling this a class on ‘Macro Photography’? After doing some research on the ‘definition’ of macro, I came to the conclusion that this was a workshop on both – macro and getting close.
The dictionary definition of macro photography - mac·ro·pho·tog·ra·phy / ˌmakrōfəˈtägrəfē/ • n. photography producing photographs of small items larger than life size.
This definition seems to imply that any close-up photograph, no matter how it was taken, is considered macro. After all, even close-up photographs seem larger than life size.
I found various ideas of what defines macro vs close-up photography. The common definition of macro photography is - photographing an object with an enlargement ratio of 1:1 or larger. It involves using equipment such as a Macro Lens, extension tubes, close up filters and teleconverters to produce a ‘true’ macro image.
Close-up photography on the other hand means just that – getting close to an object. Usually using standard equipment. Some point-n-shoots have a macro program on it, but doe that mean it is really doing macro photography, or is it just getting close to the object?
The confusion for me was that everyone was using the term macro no matter what equipment was used, or how it was done. It covered any photographic situation where the subject/object was photographed close up. The line of “true macro photography” has become blurred, and I am not really sure how important it is to really have a ‘”true definition” anymore?
To some I am sure it is very important, but for the purpose of this workshop I am going to just call it, “Getting comfortable with getting close”, no matter how you do it. Whether it is a true macro, or just a close-up photograph.