Tips & Tutorials

Macro Photography in Low Light: Preventing Camera Shake

Macro photography enables us to produce amazing shots of natural scenery that might otherwise seem very ordinary. However, when you are taking macro shots at a dimly-lit location, you probably would want to ensure that camera shake is minimized. In the following, let us look at how professional photographers manage it.  (Reported by: GOTO AKI)

A shot taken by the EF24-70mm f/4L IS USMin macro mode

EOS 5D Mark IV/ EF24-70mm f/4L IS USM/ FL: 70mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/4, 1/40 sec, EV-0.3)/ ISO 12800/ WB: Daylight

I was looking for opportunities where I could capture fascinating views of natural landscapes among ordinary scenery such as mountains and waterfalls. While I was observing the sparkling water droplets as they seeped out, I realised that there was an interesting, rhythmical pattern to the way they arranged, so I turned on the macro mode switch on the EF24-70mm f/4L IS USM and moved close to the subject.


Tip: For clear handheld macro shots, use a high ISO speed

I set the macro switch lever on the EF24-70mm f/4L IS USM to “Macro” and ensured that the IS feature was turned on before taking the shot. I raised the ISO speed gradually to ISO 3200, 6400 and finally 12800 while checking the shutter speed. This shot was taken from a distance of 20cm, which is the closest focusing distance of the lens.

The EF24-70mm f/4L IS USM macro mode shooting scene
The EF24-70mm f/4L IS USM macro mode shooting scene

Close up on this area

As can be seen from the photo above, the location of the shoot was dimly lit and therefore susceptible to camera shake, but the ground was not stable enough to set up a tripod. Under such circumstances, you can try raising the ISO speed as much as you can to obtain a clear handheld shot.


For more ideas on how to turn the most trivial-looking things in nature into abstract works, check out the following:
Abstract Photography: Turning to Nature for Props

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EOS 5D Mark IV (Body)


EF24-70mm f/4L IS USM



Born in 1972 in Kanagawa Prefecture and graduated from Sophia University and Tokyo College of Photography. Goto published a photo collection work titled "LAND ESCAPES" and is also actively engaged in works such as “water silence” an installation that merges photographs with videos.

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