Macro Photography of Insects
Have you ever wondered, “How can I become a better photographer? What’s the best way to improve my photography shooting skills? How can I make money with my digital photography?”
Well, one great way to expand your photographic skills is to branch out into a variety of new or different genres. This requires you to learn and develop new skills while solving problems in technique, lighting, subject posing, composition, and digital image manipulation among others. Depth of field likewise can pose significant difficulties in macro shooting sessions. The digital imaging of insects, spiders and other small creatures is one genre which can convert you into a master of depth of field limitations. Here are a few photo shooting tips to help get you started.
Seven Digital Photo Shooting Tips
Recalling these macro photo shooting tips will be helpful during an insect photo shoot.
Tip 1 Colder temperatures can aid in immobilizing most insects when there are problems with your subjects moving around during the photo shoot. A blast of compressed CO2 or a few seconds in a refrigerator are both practical techniques.
Tip 2 When practical, use a covered transparent or translucent container to control the insect’s range of movement when shooting. Small plastic storage containers work well for this, are easily cleaned, lightweight and widely available.
Tip 3 Try not to handle the insect during the photo shoot since many species are venomous, have a painful bite or sting. Wear gloves for some protection and use a wooden or plastic rod or spatula for safely moving insects.
Tip 4 Use a contrasting color as background to help the subject stand out. Remember that natural colors work best but do feel free to experiment. A simple collection of colored paper or flexible plastic sheets can provide you with options for a variety of backgrounds. A colored cellophane flashlight has worked for me on many occasions too.
Tip 5 Use a tripod and have a selection of close up or macro lenses, bellows extensions and changeable filters on hand for the photo shoot. A flexible leg tripod works wonders as it can be optimally positioned for some creative shooting angles.
Tip 6 Be careful with the use of hot lighting sources since any extremes in temperature can easily kill most insect species. Most insects don’t sweat, so have no internal temperature regulating system. Very hot lights, concentrated direct sunlight or a closed area with little or no ventilation can be deadly to your photographic specimens, so be careful with the temperature.
Tip 7 If the species is a nocturnal one, then subdued lighting will permit the subject to move more naturally and freely. Under strong or harsh lighting, the insect may “hide” or “freeze up” completely. Insects may be positively or negatively phototrophic, meaning there are attracted to light, like house flies are, or repulsed by bright light like most species of roaches.
Digital Photography of Insects
With literally millions of known insect species worldwide, your macro photography of insects and spiders can be truly unique and individual. More than two and a half million insect species exist in the Amazon Rainforest region alone. No matter where you live, there are thousands of species all around you, each waiting to be photographed using your unique combination of vision and skills.
Okay, if you’re assigned to a research station in Antarctica, your selection may be a bit more limited. But I’d gamble that even in Arctic climates you’d be able to round up a few crawling, wriggling or flying pests to snap. Digital imaging of insects, spiders and other tiny creatures will provide you with an ever-expanding opportunity to develop new skills and increase your depth of photographic knowledge and technique. This always helps to create more creative and profitable options for you as a digital photographer.