Tips for Photographing Insects

The thing about photographing insects is that there are a million different kinds of insects, maybe even more. And you do not have to go anywhere far to photograph them, your backyard might be the habitat of many insects. However, here comes the hard part. Although there is a huge diversity of insects, all of them are secretive things and do not like to be in the spotlight. It will be even more frustrating to photograph them if they have got wings. Here are a few tips for photographing insects that will not only help reduce your trouble but will also help in taking better macro photographs of the insects.

Get Near the Insects

As mentioned above, the hard part is getting near the insects. The very first thing that you need to keep in mind is that you have got plenty of time, therefore, you do not need to rush. What you can do, in this regard, is to observe and study the insects before you photograph them. Knowing your subject is more important than you realize. You will understand their habitats, routines, and other quirks by doing this. So, the first step of learning how to photograph insects is to study insects and their behavior and then getting near them.

Work on Focus

You are going to be using a macro lens for photographing insects. It gets a little tough to keep the insect in focus while holding the camera because the shallow depth of field only gives a few millimeters of focus. A slight change in the position of the camera can mess up the focus. For this purpose, you need a platform to steady your camera. You can either use a tripod or sit on a stool and then use your knee as a platform.
Tips for Photographing Insects - Honey bee

Photo edited in Lightroom.

Experiment with Creative Angles

This is one of the most important tips for photographing insects. As you know, there is not a lot that is going in the macro world. Therefore, to get better-composed images, you need to get creative with the angles. Getting close-ups of the insects always results in great detailed photographs but including the background can also produce striking images. You cannot only experiment with different angles but different lenses as well such as telephoto or wide-angle lenses.

Light is Key - Insect Photography

The most important thing to consider while learning how to do silhouette photography is to get the light right. Unlike other types of photography where we are trying to evenly expose the image, in silhouette, our goal is to keep the main source of light behind the subject. For example, if you are shooting outdoors, keep the sun hidden behind the subject. Our cameras have less dynamic range than our eyes, they automatically put the subject in shadow and create a silhouette. Also, another important tip for silhouette photography is to never use flash as it brightens the subject.

Pay Attention to the Lighting

Another thing that you need to keep in mind when learning how to photograph insects is that lighting plays a much larger role than you would think. First, let us talk about the basics. Harsh lighting is mostly not good for the images; therefore, you need to make sure that you use both flash and natural light to produce soft lighting. But the intensity of the flash should not be too much as to scare off the insects. Secondly, many insects such as beetles and even flies have reflective parts. It means that if the light is too much, for instance, if the sunlight is too bright, then the exposure would be all messed up. In this case, you can position yourself to cast shade on the insect so that the lighting is perfect.
How to photograph dragon flies- Tips for Photographing Insects

Use Focus Light

This is one of the tips for photographing insects that will help you in low light. When you use autofocus in low-light environments, your camera may struggle in finding the subject and keeping the focus on it. We know this issue to focus hunting. To remedy it, you can use a USB-rechargeable penlight and attach it to the lens. This way the light will be focused on the space where your lens is pointing at and help in acquiring the focus.

Capture Movement - Insect Photography

As discussed above, there are not a lot of elements in the macro world that need to be taken care of. However, the few elements that are there, need to be properly composed to produce a great image. One of the tips for photographing insects is to incorporate movement which will not only add dynamic motion to the image but will also make it more interactive.

Know Your Instruments

This is not much of a tip but it will help you in learning how to photograph insects better. First of all, if you can afford it, a macro lens is a must. However, if you cannot, then you can either use an extension tube or a close-up filter. The extension tube is placed between the lens and the camera body and helps in producing close-ups. Whereas, the filter attaches to the front of your lens. 

Conclusion - Tips for Photographing Insects

There is no reason for delaying insect photography, they are present everywhere in different shapes and forms. These tips for photographing insects will help you in producing better images but you need to be patient. It might be hard to spot them and get near them in the beginning but once you start observing them, it will get easier.

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Have a nice photoshoot! 

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