Its Technical! Macro in Natural Light

Its Technical: Macro, in natural light. Its Technical! are posts sharing with you the technical aspects that we encounter within our works. We hope you enjoy! Macro in Natural Light, we have a general introduction to Macro as a genre and some tips from ManButur Suantara.

Macro, Close-up Photography

What is Macro Photography?

The dictionary definition of Macro Photography is simply taking a picture extremely close up, bigger than life-size.

Macro photography is all about showcasing a subject larger than it is in real life — an extreme close-up of something small. A full-frame insect in a five-by-seven-inch photo and a four-inch product shot of a cornflake go well above life-size: both are examples of macro photography. – ‘Macro Photography a Beginners’ Guide

Macro in Natural Light with ManButur

Technically, they say that you can use for macro photography a lens aperture of 2.8 or wider.

” However, we almost never uses this aperture. As this is a pretty shallow depth of field and very difficult to work with. The range that I like to use is between 7.1 – 12 f-stops. With a shutter speed range of 1/100 up to 1/1000. For this reason, it gives more flexibility better working range with your very very small subjects.”

Macro Gallery Sawidji Studio

In many quality macro images, you may notice that the subject is made to standout through the effect of an evenly blurred background. To get the blurry background, you should know well the range of your subjects focal distance. As it is not only about depth of field but also the distance between your subject and its surroundings.

To get this really lovely effect of a very nice and even, blurry background, which is quite soft, giving the subject additional focus. Like it is been staged. Without getting into too much numbers and measurements etc.. we can say that the important thing here is you have first an aperture set to a depth of field that is not too shallow (7.1 or higher).

Then if you can find a subject that is far away from any background, this blur effect will come nicely. Even if you have a shallow depth of field but your subject is too close to something in the background, it won’t have the same softness in the blurry background.

Another is you’ll find most technical tips about macro photography will say that in most cases natural light is insufficient. There are many suggestions about how you can compensate for this lack of natural light. ManButurs’ macro photography featured in this article are all taken in natural light. Not the easiest thing to do. But, we like to think it does have a beautiful result. When you can meet the challenge of a fast moving, small object in low light or in harsh sunlight. The outcome is pretty rewarding.

What to consider when you want to take good macro photography in natural light.


Make sure it’s safe enough. If you are not in your own backyard, you should get familiar and understand your surroundings. When you are out in nature, there may be other creatures poisonous or not, that may be sharing that space with you. And you are in their territory. Make sure you have some knowledge about the general wildlife in your chosen location.

When you have this information, don’t forget to take the appropriate actions to prevent any undue mishap. Protect yourself.

Explore Fauna
This is a fantastic example of gorgeous macro photography in natural lighting. Though darker than most images it does not sacrifice on detail, mood and clarity.


What kind of available light is there in your location? If you are exploring natural lighting, expect to not be in control. Expect to move around in order to compensate for the changes in light. Also, even though it is possible to take excellent macro photography in natural light, there are obviously some environments that simply will not allow enough light for a satisfactory image.

Things to keep in mind,.. when sunlight is too harsh it will wash out the details of the subject.

Sawidji Studio Photography Gallery Bali

“I find the best time for natural light macro photography is before nine in the morning or after 3pm.. When it is cloudy is also very nice time to take photographs. This of course is in our tropical climate. Another important thing you should avoid is too much wind. The smallest movement in macro is pretty big movements in the frame.”


Some insects are more active in the morning because that’s when they are out and about searching for food. In the hot midday times, they are often resting. back again getting hungry after 3 o’clock. They also have different breeding cycles. So if you have a particular interest in some creatures in the garden or in nature, you may look into their biological patterns and social behaviours before you set your camp outside.

Don’t forget to bring all your other survival knick knacks. Your camera bag, essentials like water, food and sunblock.

Macro Gallery Sawidji Studio
Bees are busy in the morning collecting nectar, pollen .. so you can easily find bees in blooming flowers at certain times of day.

Other common questions would be…

Do I need a tripod?

Yes sometimes you may. Certain moments you may need a tripod that can reduce the shutter speed so you can lower the iso and get a better quality image. However, this may work better for subjects that are not moving. for example flowers and other small plants and organisms (likecaccoons and spiders and their webs) that are not going to fly away. Again, this would be another reason why low wind conditions are ideal.

Do I need a CPL Filter?

A CPL filter is a circular polariser filter and very useful and minimising reflections from surfaces like water and glass. Making images sometimes more crisp enhancing the focus on your subject and bringing up its contrast. But the answer is this personal choice. Be mindful that this filter will reduce your shutter speed by a fraction because your image will be a little bit darker.

This is an example of an image taken with a CPL filter. The filter helps to make clear the drops of dew. Otherwise the reflections would be much more obvious and can distract from the main subject of the spider.

All creatures are there and are part of the ecosystem. They play a role whether it is obvious or not and are each important. Macro photography is a wonderful way that we get an insight into their world. Its a BIG little world and its very beautiful.

~ ManButur Suantara

If you have any questions or have a topic that you wish for us to post about, feel welcome to drop us a line in our Social media or via email to give your suggestion.

You may also be interested in..

  • In the Studio with Ellen Lane
    Portrait photography in the studio of artist Ellen Lane, and a closer look at environmental portrait photography as a genre.
  • It’s Technical! Zero Exposure
    It’s Technical! Zero Exposure. Revisiting the fundamentals of light parameters in photography. With ManButur Suantara.
  • Its Technical! Macro in Natural Light
    Its Technical! Macro in Natural Light with ManButur Suantara. A conversation with some helpful tips for macro photography in natural light.

    View post to subscribe to site newsletter.

  • Its Technical! Acting Out!
    Its Technical! Acting out! A little bit of drama in your photography, just for fun.
  • Its Technical! Backlight Photography
    Its Technical! Backlight Photography. Insight into building narratives through backlighting techniques.

Sawidji Studio Newsletter
Join our Community Newsletter. Great articles on Art and Photography in your inbox every month for FREE

Don't miss out on great tips!

We don’t spam! Read our Privacy Policy for more info.

One Comment Add yours

what did you find most interesting?