EOS M5 Shooting Techniques: Macro Photography

Photographing water droplets in macro requires lots of patience. It's so hard to get an image of a water droplet turn out the way you want it to, but the EOS M5 offers plenty of useful functions to help you do so. Let’s take a look at some secrets to capturing the reflection of a flower within a water droplet, as well as a technique for creating a starburst effect around it. (Reported by: Miki Asai)

EOS M5/ EF-M28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM/ FL: 28mm (45mm equivalent)/ Aperture-priority AE (f/3.5, 1/25 sec, EV±0)/ ISO 640/ WB: Daylight

I took this shot while holding the remote control and external lighting in my right hand. If the shutter speed wasn't fast enough, the background wouldn't have been captured properly so I set my camera on a high ISO speed, mounted it onto a tripod and used a slow shutter speed of 1/25 sec to depict the movement of the waves. During the shoot, it was raining quite heavily so I made use of a shower cap to prevent the camera from getting wet.


Scene 1: Capturing a flower reflected in water droplets clearly

Technique 1: Narrow the aperture to f/9

The closer you get to your subject, the shallower the depth of field, which makes it easy for your image to have more blur. However, if you focus on the flower reflected inside and then shoot at maximum aperture, the depth of field becomes extremely shallow. Therefore, although the flower shows up clearly, the outline of the water droplets will appear blurred. Hence, I narrowed the aperture to f/9 using Aperture-priority AE mode in order to get a deeper depth of field, and adjusted the camera until the edges of the water droplets were captured sharply. In macro photography, even if you narrow the aperture slightly, the background will still remain defocused, and the water droplets will still stand out from it.

EOS M5/ EF-M28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM/ FL: 28mm (45mm equivalent)/ Aperture-priority AE (f/9, 1/40 sec, EV-0.7)/ ISO 500/ WB: Daylight

In order to focus on two water droplets, you need to position the lens at exactly the same distance from both droplets. I tried holding my breath when taking the picture as the water droplets would fall immediately if the flower petals were to be moved by even a millimetre.


Tip 1: If the f-number is small, the water droplet will not stand out

EOS M5/ EF-M28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM/ FL: 28mm (45mm equivalent)/ Aperture-priority AE (f/3.5, 1/200 sec, EV±0)/ ISO 320/ WB: Manual

EOS M5/ EF-M28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM/ FL: 28mm (45mm equivalent)/ Aperture-priority AE (f/11, 1/25 sec, EV±0)/ ISO 320/ WB: Manual

Although you get a beautiful background bokeh with a soft focus look on a maximum aperture setting, the main subject, the water droplet, also becomes blurred. If that happens, try using a narrower aperture.


Shooting procedure

1. Set the Mode Dial to Aperture-priority AE.


2. Turn the Main Dial to set the f-number to f/9.


Technique 2: Use the Touch Shutter

In macro photography, focusing is often done manually, which is where the EOS M5’s Touch Shutter function comes in handy. On the Live View screen, it allows a picture to be captured when the camera is focused instantaneously on the position you touch. Furthermore, when focusing on a small subject such as a reflection in a water drop, the key is to set the [AF Frame Size] to [Small]. By doing so, you can specify it to focus only on the flower reflected in the water droplet.

EOS M5/ EF-M28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM/ FL: 28mm (45mm equivalent)/ Aperture-priority AE (f/7.1, 1/6 sec, EV±0)/ ISO 400/ WB: Daylight

The flower was not in good condition, so it took some effort to compose the image. Because it wasn’t possible to change the angle of the petals, I set my camera on a tilt after mounting it onto a tripod. A focal length of 28mm created some space in the background, therefore, I decided to place two flowers there.


Tip 2: If you focus on the water droplet, the petals will not appear sharp

EOS M5/ EF-M28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM/ FL: 28mm (45mm equivalent)/ Aperture-priority AE (f/7.1, 1/6 sec, EV±0)/ ISO 400/ WB: Daylight

If the [AF Frame Size] is set to [Normal], the frame will be too large and you will not be able to focus only on the reflection of the flower. As a result, the camera focuses on the edges of the water droplet and the reflection of the flower appears blurred in the image. However, you can address this by setting the [AF Frame Size] to [Small].


Shooting procedure

1. Press the MENU button.
2. Set [Touch Shutter] to [Enable].
3. Set [AF Frame Size] to [Small].

When shooting, set the camera to its closest focusing distance. Take care when doing so, because if the lens comes into contact with the flower or water droplet, you will need to redo all of the settings.


4. Magnify the image in Live View and touch the screen to take the picture.


Scene 2: Capturing brilliant starbursts on multiple water droplets

Technique: Use MF Peaking

Use manual focus when you want to capture multiple water droplets clearly. When using manual focus on extremely small subjects, the MF Peaking function is handy for adding colour to the edges of the subject you have focused on.

What you need to keep in mind when focusing, is to not focus on a point, but to focus onto a surface. Because you can only focus on objects that are equidistant from the camera, if you want to focus on multiple water droplets, you will need to line all of them up in a straight line. Once the water droplets are in focus, place a light source diagonally behind them and set the camera to a wide aperture such as f/11. In this way, as the camera captures light rays reflected off from the water droplets, starbursts will appear on the outlines.

EOS M5/ EF-M28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM/ FL: 28mm (45mm equivalent)/ Aperture-priority AE (f/11, 1/25 sec, EV+0.3)/ ISO 400/ WB: Daylight

For this shot, I narrowed the aperture to f/11 and placed a light source diagonally behind the water droplets in order to capture starbursts. Although you end up with backlight, note that the slightest variation in the direction or angle of the light results in the colours of the flower turning out beautifully. To apply the light evenly onto your subject, try using white paper as a substitute for a reflector board.


Tip: Starbursts will only be produced if you use external lighting for your shoot

EOS M5/ EF-M28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM/ FL: 28mm (45mm equivalent)/ Aperture-priority AE (f/11, 1/15 sec, EV+0.3)/ ISO 400/ WB: Daylight

Picture with evenly distributed light taken using only a reflector board. Without a strong light source, starbursts will not be produced and your photos will appear flat.


Shooting procedure

1. Set the focus mode to MF.
2. Press the MENU button.
3. In the [4] tab of the shooting menu, select [MF Peaking Settings], and then set [Peaking] to [On].


Focus from a position where the lens is parallel with all of the water droplets. Finely adjust the focus on MF Peaking until colours appear on the edges of the water droplets.


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EOS M5 (Body)


EF-M28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM


Digital Camera Magazine

A monthly magazine that believes that enjoyment of photography will increase the more one learns about camera functions. It delivers news on the latest cameras and features and regularly introduces various photography techniques.
Published by Impress Corporation

Miki Asai

Born in Obihiro, Hokkaido. While working as a company employee, she would get her hands on a camera to shoot small objects after finishing work and on her days off. In 2013, she bought the DSLR that she had been longing for and started shooting. One day, she was moved by the morning dew that she saw on a leaf through a macro lens the sight of which was “more beautiful than any gem”. It struck her then that she wanted to photograph the small and beautiful world which exists everywhere but is easily missed and hard to see with the naked eye. Since then, she has continued with her style of photography in pursuit of her goal.


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