photography with a macro lens

by Kristy Dooley

photography with a macro lens photo

When I was a small child I had a shoebox full of cards, letters, and other sentimental keepsakes.  Every now and then I’d pull that box out and pour over cards from my great-grandmother, read funny notes from my brother, and later, reread letters my mom wrote me during my teenage years.  I still love pulling out these old and treasured keepsakes.

My love for details didn’t stop with cards and letters.  Very shortly after I got started with photography I found myself focusing on capturing details, and I knew that I had to learn the art of macro photography.

photography with a macro lens photo

photography with a macro lens photo

My love for Macro photography began after I took Monica Wilkinson’s amazing Intro to Macro workshop here at CM.   I quickly fell in love with the detail and clarity my macro lens was able to capture.  At first I focused on flowers and food, which both remain two of my favorite subjects today.

photography with a macro lens photo

photography with a macro lens photo

As much as I loved capturing these beautiful subjects I found myself wanting to use my macro lens with my girls. My girls are young and close together in age.  As any parent of young children knows, it feels like each day passes in a busy blur.  I definitely feel like I’m deep in the (wonderful) trenches of parenthood.  Things such as naptime, lunchtime, mismatched outfits, boo-boos, and messy ponytails are a daily part of my life.  As hard as it is to imagine I know someday I might forget all the little details of this short and sweet time.  As I thought more about these tiny details passing by, a new idea for a personal project began to form.  My “One Year, One Lens” project has committed me to using my most coveted lens, my 100mm f/2.8, each and every day.

photography with a macro lens photo

photography with a macro lens photo

I love the challenge of using this lens to find a small detail of my day and I know that down the road looking at these images will take me back to today.  I don’t want to ever forget how my girls look when they sleep, how their tiny feet look when they try to wear my shoes, their serious attachment to their “lovies,” and how they ate three times as many blueberries as they picked.

One thing this project quickly taught me is not being fooled into thinking this lens is meant for macro alone. It’s absolutely incredible for portraits.  So many of my favorite, slightly more traditional images, have come from this lens as well.

photography with a macro lens photo

photography with a macro lens photo

I challenge anyone who is lucky enough to have this amazing piece of glass to start using it in some less conventional ways.   Want to remember how your youngest insisted on the exact same breakfast each and every day? Want to remember the first time your daughter had her nails polished? Want to remember how your son always insisted on mismatched socks? Your Macro lens just might be the perfect way to help you remember all those special details that are passing by.

photography with a macro lens photoKristy Dooley, Vermont
CM Mentor
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Kristy Dooley lives in Vermont with her husband and two daughters. She shoots natural light photography with a passion for macro, portraits, and lifestyle images. She loves focusing on and capturing the details of her family’s daily life and has recently started accepting clients for on-location sessions.


Read all photography tutorials by Kristy Dooley.

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18 Responses to “photography with a macro lens”

  1. Lisa Harrison
    Nov 13 2013 at 3:48 pm #

    What a fun share, Kristy! You do great things with your macro lens (and your other lenses as well) <3

    • Kristy
      Nov 13 2013 at 5:13 pm #

      Thanks so much Lisa!! I had a great time putting this post together!

  2. Joyce
    Nov 13 2013 at 3:56 pm #

    Great article. I will definitely start using my macro 100 for more than just macro shots. Thanks so much for the inspiration :)

    • Kristy
      Nov 13 2013 at 5:14 pm #

      Would love to see what you come up with Joyce! :)

  3. Kristin
    Nov 13 2013 at 3:57 pm #

    Love it Kristy! I have always enjoyed your macro shares… I like the idea of using this as a “multipurpose” lens even more. Such a great idea!

    • Kristy
      Nov 13 2013 at 5:15 pm #

      Thanks Kristin! There is so much you can do with a macro!

  4. Kim L
    Nov 13 2013 at 9:42 pm #

    Beautiful images!

    • Kristy
      Nov 14 2013 at 12:26 pm #

      Thanks Kim!

  5. Kellie B.
    Nov 14 2013 at 1:05 pm #

    Beautiful pictures, Kristy, and great post. I LOVE my 100mm!

    • Kristy
      Nov 16 2013 at 7:08 am #

      Thank you Kellie! It is an amazing lens!

  6. Nov 14 2013 at 3:50 pm #

    Nicely written article and a great idea!

  7. Kathy
    Nov 14 2013 at 4:50 pm #

    Thanks so much for the share Kristy (that’s my sisters name too and she spells it the same)! It came at a perfect time. I just got my 100mm a couple weeks ago and I love it! So glad to see the versatility of this lens with your article.

    • Kristy
      Nov 16 2013 at 7:08 am #

      Enjoy your new lens Kathy!

  8. Karina
    Nov 15 2013 at 4:53 am #

    Kristy, I have been looking at this lens for the dual purpose of macro and portrait. Your pictures definately sway me. How does this compare to the non-macro 100m

    • Kristy
      Nov 16 2013 at 7:09 am #

      Hi Karina! I’ve seen incredible pictures from the non-L as well though I can’t speak personally. You really can’t go wrong!

  9. Jessica Reischel
    Nov 16 2013 at 12:07 am #

    thank you kristy! i bought this lens march 2012 and have used it maybe twice. sadly. ;-( this has inspired me to get it out. ;-)

    • Kristy
      Nov 16 2013 at 7:10 am #

      Hi Jessica! I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  10. Nov 19 2013 at 8:28 am #

    Thanks for this Kristy, I need to learn to love my macro lens!

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