Macro Photography without using a tripod

My garden is overgrown. I like it that way. It attracts insects and birds and other creatures. I enjoy wading through the tall grass, plucking seedpods and flies from my arms and legs as I search for an interesting creature to photograph.

This year, the bee population has increased.
Last year there were hardly any.

On Sunday I counted eight different kinds of bees and managed to photograph about four using a macro lens. Because the flora is so wild and sprawling, using a tripod for stability is out of the question. So I have to take all my pictures hand-held. Another reason I don’t use the regular kind of tripod is that I find them too awkward to use when attempting to follow the speedy wing changes of bees and other flying insects. By the time I’ve set the thing up, the flying beastie has flown. Okay most of the pictures are a little shaky, but I do get some pretty good results.

The trick to being a good human tripod is to centre yourself. By that I mean, spread your feet to hip distance and slightly bend your knees. You should be balanced and stable. Next, try not to lean forward too quickly as this aggravates camera shake.  Breathe slowly and don’t hunch your shoulders as this causes the wobbles and a stiff neck! And finally, move the camera forward to focus rather than twisting the focus ring as that definitely adds to camera shake and out of focus images. You may look a little weird, but the results you get will be worth it

For more images of macro and beyond, visit:




9 thoughts on “Macro Photography without using a tripod

  1. Great pictures, but remember that taking pictures with a lens labeled “macro” does not in and of itself make them macro pictures. Out of those you’ve posted, I would consider only center third row and center last row to be macro pictures. The top three pictures are not macro pictures at all. The rest of the pictures are approaching macro photography.

    • Yes, you are right, the top three pictures are not macro-I should have clarified that. they are just images of my garden where the bees like to go.Interesting to know how you decide what is a macro photograph and what is not? Enlighten me.

  2. Hi Nicola,
    I just took a photography class on my vacation this week. I knew a lot but the review was valuable. Your photos are awesome. I like your metaphor– a human tripod. Well put. I am always trying to improve my blog photography.
    You had another post on how to make an audio recording of your ebook. Is it lucrative? Would you recommend it?
    Thanks for your visit to my site. I am glad you liked my post on Facebook Live.

    • Hi Janice, thanks for the lovely comments about my photography, so glad you liked them. I also teach GCSE photography at my local High School. Regarding the Audio Book, I haven’t sold very many copies, but then, I haven’t actually done any promotion for the stories. I’ve have other books to market and have let Glimmer slip in favour of that. Some people do very well, so, if it doesn’t cost you to record a book because you have done it yourself, then it is a good idea as it is yet another product to offer people and another way of getting your work known. If you need any help if you do decide to record, let me know.

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