Close-up Photography is NOT Macro Photography.

There is a Difference between Macro Photography and Close-up Photography.

Seldom when people get interested into macro photography, they get confused between close-up photography and macro photography. I have been there myself. I am going to share my experiences with some simple examples here.

Back then, when I was heavily interested in macro photography, the photos that I used to see were these beautiful macro photographs of spiders or flowers posted by some famous photographers. At that point of time I had my Fuji S6500FD and decided to venture into the world of macro photography. With my limited knowledge I started taking photos of flowers and subjects that interested me. But the results were nowhere near to what I was used to see. Little did I know that what I was doing was actually closeup photography.

If we look into the theory for a minute, macro photography is when you fill your subject 1 : 1. The subject occupies the entire sensor. In other words, if the subject is filling only 25% of the frame then we say the magnification is 0.25x. When the subject fills 100% of the frame we say, we are shooting at complete 1x of the frame. Many confuse themselves when they start shooting flowers and bugs at say 0.25x and declare they have entered macro photography. Well that is called Close-up photography and not Macro Photography. Let us see by means of an example.



This is a photo of some flower buds that were present in the garden. Notice that you do not see the buds magnified. I was close the subject and the Fuji was set to its macro mode. This is a classic example of a close-up photo. Here the buds are not filling the camera sensor. Such shots are possible by virtually any camera which have a macro mode. Bridge and point and shoot cameras have a super macro mode, where you can focus at 1cm distance. Though this may sound stepping into the macro world, we are actually not. Let us look now how the buds when we go beyond 1 : 1.


This shot is taken with Raynox 150 attached to the Fuji. Now as you see we have started filling the frame with the buds. Our entire image focuses on the buds and nothing else. Now we have stepped into Macro Photography. Such magnification with the Raynox 150 is highly useful when you are doing product shots, where a slight magnification is required but you do not want to blow up the product or the subject. Such magnifications are highly useful when you want to shoot Butterflies, Moths, Lizards or other relatively big size insects where the priority is to showcase the flora or the fauna as a whole. I am going to cover a separate article as to why one should buy the Entire Raynox kit i.e. the Raynox 150 and Raynox 250 soon.

When we start to go even deeper, by using the Raynox 250, we enter a deeper macro world. Here are the same buds but now a lot closer.


In the above shot, we have completely filled the frame with the buds at almost 2.5 times the size. Here we have stepped inside proper Macro Photography.

Two more examples for easy reference.

Rose Rose up close.

To summarize, theoretically photographs 1 : 1 and beyond come into Macro Photography and lower than 1x Magnification come under Closeup Photography. Remember if you come across somebody shooting anything at say 1:2 or below and telling you it is a macro photograph, do update about the basic theory.

After going through this short article, I hope the basic difference between Close-up Photography and Macro Photography has been answered. I will begin to cover more topics regarding lenses, techniques, issues that I face when I go to do Macro Photography.

Hope you enjoyed this article. Thanks for Reading. Post your views in the comments section. Will love to hear from you.