How a year of macro photography changed my portrait work

A year of Macro Photography | Charlotte Family and Wedding photographer Jamie Lucido

Many photographers enjoy 365 projects, myself included.  I was excited to embark upon a year of macro photography with a nature and color-wheel focus.  I’m even more excited to share some lessons learned and beautiful results.

Each year, I pick a specific aspect of photography, or technique, to focus on in my personal pursuits.  Taking a purposeful few minutes each day to create images with the topic in mind. A single facet of photography to really dwell in, research, and enjoy. One year it was geometry, another year it was movement, another year it was black and whites.. everything I shot for myself those years had something to do with the aspect I had decided on at the beginning of that year. And each of those years left an indelible thumbprint on how I approached photography, moving forward. But at the end of each cycle, I feel that I’ve only scratched the surface, even after hundreds of hours of practice and thousands of images, because there is always so much more to discover. This year, it was nature-based macro, with the color wheel in mind.

Why would a portrait photographer focus in on nature macros? Well, aside from the peace it brings my somewhat introvert personality which craves the calm and quiet of non-human subjects, it has been a surprisingly refreshing way to reframe my approach to portraits with people. Macro photography- getting really close to your subject- gets you in the habit of looking for details. I find myself honing in on the smallest things that I may have missed, before this whole detail-obsession began. I chose to use nature, my own garden mostly, simply because of variety throughout the year and easy access (no excuses, I really do shoot EVERY DAY, rain or shine). But it doesn’t just stop when I’m out of the garden, I notice more with people too: the micro expressions, the way their hair blows, how they position themselves during a session, the bigger picture, what I would zoom in on, if my macro lens were in hand, not being afraid to get as close as possible, and the subtle ways we interact and communicate with each other.

The thing about macro is that it has changed how I see the bigger picture. Being macro minded also forces you to be more purposeful with composition and the tones and colors in the background. Macros make me slow down, look closer, and think more like my lens. I can more effectively predict how things are going to look at specific settings- the dark and light and the hue of whatever the background might be for my subject.

Which leads me to the second aspect of this year- the color wheel. At first, I was in the habit of striking opposites (red/green, purple/yellow, blue/orange, black/white), but after a few months, I became enamored with complementary shadows (the blue/green that appears in the shaded part of a red apple), I began color picking and isolating, in photoshop, selecting one tiny pixel of color, to test how my eyes would trick me — because our brains certainly do play tricks when it comes to color and shadow (remember that White and Gold or Blue and Black dress awhile back?!) Color perception is a very interesting thing to dissect, when it comes to color and the natural world. Whether you’re seeing flowers, or newborn skin tones, becoming so focused on the truth of details and tones really changed my approach to shooting and editing. It also began to refine my preferences- I’m more aware of the colors and shadows that I’m drawn to, and can find them almost anywhere. Its not luck anymore, stumbling across those tones I adore, and that is giving a more reliable consistency in my portrait work.

If you enjoy photo365’s (creating an image each day of the year), or personal projects that hone in on a specific aspect of photography or other visual arts, I encourage you to consider a lengthy bit of time dwelling in the exquisite world of macro. Crawl around on the ground, climb up in trees, get lost in the incredible natural details the seasons have to offer, and I guarantee those lessons will also change the way you see this big beautiful world. I leave you with a few garden favorites. Although my year is coming to an end, and I have a new topic in mind for the next cycle, (Freelensing!) macros will continue to be a regular part of my personal and professional work. Those tiny details make me stop in my tracks and savor the moment. Its a good thing. <3

macro photography wildflower macro photography rosebud macro photography calla lilly macro photography bug on flower macro photography japanese beetle and rose macro photography purple flower macro photography spiderweb and water droplets macro photography calla lilly macro photography daisy macro photography mimosa leaf macro photography purple flower macro photography spider web macro photography daisy macro photography daisy macro photography wasp on flower macro photography plumeria macro photography flower macro photography water on leaf macro photography wildflower macro detail of plant macro detail of grass macro succulent white macro detail of a succulent macro photography flower

A year of macro photography with Charlotte Family and Wedding Photographer Jamie Lucido

Jamie Lucido Photography is a family and wedding photographer based in Charlotte, NC.  Serving the Charlotte, Belmont, and Lake Norman areas including: South Park, Myers Park, Midwood, Berewick, Madison Park, Stonehaven, Dilworth, Starmount, Kingsbridge, Cameron Wood, NoDa, Commonwealth, Barclay Downs, Ballantyne, Highland Creek, Eastover, Foxcroft, Montibello, Wendover-Sedgewood, Hembstead, Park Crossing, Mountainbrook, Freedom Park, Providence Crossing, Denver, Davidson, Matthews, Ft. Mill, Waxhaw, Tega Kay, and vacation destinations worldwide.

Jamie Lucido Photography offers family, wedding and engagement, and documentary storytelling photography.  Jamie’s style is to focus on beautiful light and meaningful connections, for artistic and natural images.

Jamie Lucido Photography, LLC |

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Charlotte, NC 28214