With macro photography, we can discover entirely new worlds and see tiny creatures in a completely new light. In this video, Micael Widell gives you five tips that will help you find the ideal subjects and then nail focus and exposure for some amazing macro shots.
1. Start early
When you start early in the morning, just like you – the insects have just woken up and they’re still being lazy and rubbing their little eyes. Okay, maybe not literally. But early in the morning, the insects are slower and easier to find. Another plus is that, early in the morning, there will be fewer people outside, which makes it easier for you to find insects and focus on photographing them.
2. Slow down
Once you’re outside looking for insects, don’t rush. Spend some time looking, searching for movement or listening to sounds. Get out of your normal tempo when you just walk past the trees, shrubs, and flowers. Take it easy, take it slow, and pay attention to the movement in the plants. There is a whole tiny world for you to discover.
3. Camera fixed, move the branch
Once you’ve found an insect you want to photograph, it’s time to shoot. At a large magnification and with insects that constantly move, it’s not easy to get the focus right. Micaell suggests that you keep the camera fixed and move the branch with the insect towards or away from the lens, as it can be much easier to focus this way.
4. Only spend time with willing models
Most insects will be afraid of your camera so they’ll fly or crawl away as you approach them. Don’t spend too much time trying to catch them. Instead, search for insects that will be more “cooperative” and be willing to pose for you. And sometimes, you’ll need to sacrifice to get the shot, too.
5. Try a slower shutter speed
If you’re using a flash for macro photography (which Micaell certainly recommends), you can get away with slower shutter speeds. The flash will “freeze” the insect in the frame, and a slower shutter speed will help you get the background properly exposed.
If this video and write-up inspired you to go out there and start photographing all those amazing little creatures, you’ll need the right gear. The good news is that you can make your own 2.5x super macro rig for around $230, and make sure to check out Micaell’s article where he shows you what you need to make it.
[5 Tips for Freehand Insect Macro Photography | Micael Widell]