Tips for macro photography of insects

With macro lenses, you can reveal a whole new world of life in new and creative ways, especially for tiny creatures like insects.

Insects are usually timid, secretive creatures, hiding in vegetation or resting in places that are difficult to photograph clean, and they are also most active during the day when the light is usually harsh. Working at high magnification results in any motion being exaggerated and the depth of the field is very thin. This article will give you some tips on how to photograph insects in macro.

1. Tips for macro photography of insects

(1) Equipment recommendation

Macro lens: Essential for shooting, Apexel has a good macro lens at an affordable price.

Circular flash: This flash allows you to get a full-color macro image without shadow. Many flash rings have left and right tubes. You can also try using just one of the flash tubes or adjust the light ratio to create a more three-dimensional effect.

macro photography of insects

(2) Try to shoot with a wide aperture

The depth of the field gets shallower the closer you are to your subject, so in macro photography, even if you use the smallest light recognition, the depth will still be measured in millimeters. This doesn’t mean that you’ll need small recognition; sometimes we’ll use big recognition to reduce the depth of the field, but we’ll create more captivating images.

(3) Use manual focus

Focusing is a key part of macro photography, even the slightest shake of the camera and the subject can degrade the sharpness of the image. Don’t rely on autofocus, which can make close objects out of focus. So use manual focus mode and track your subject until you get what you think is a sharp enough picture.

macro photography of insects

(4) Use ring flash

Using a flash allows you to take pictures with high shutter speeds, low ISO sensitivity, and low light uptake. A ring flash lamp is ideal for macro shots because it gives you no shadow while using a reflector or light source on the back of the subject also creates an interesting three-dimensional look.

(5) Use your imagination

Don’t just focus on capturing the “whole body” of your subject. Get as close to them as you can and fill in the frame with details to capture their details clearly and accurately, such as photographing a butterfly’s wing, for stunning, vivid, and abstract results. Similarly, you can also try to increase the focal length to present more pictures of the subject’s living environment.

(6) Seize the moment

Most insects, especially skink and butterflies, stop and pose only when it’s slightly cooler. In the middle of summer, that means you can only be out at dawn and dusk, and not much else.

macro photography of insects

(7) Ensure clarity

If you can, try to point the front of the lens parallel to the insect you are photographing to ensure maximum resolution.

(8) Stabilize the camera

When shooting in mild light at dusk or dawn, you should choose to use a low shutter speed so that you can get the best image with the lowest sensitivity. A sturdy tripod and remote shutter release are also a must.

2. How to take a clear picture of insects?

The quality of the close-up lens is similar to that of macro lens photography. We can reduce the maximum recognition of the main lens by 2-3 stops when we take macro insect photography with the close-up lens. In this way, we can obtain clear, sharp, and basically no color difference images. A telephoto lens with a close-up lens has less depth than a macro lens. In shooting, reducing the zoom lens focal length rather than increasing the shooting distance can improve the range of depth of the field, reducing the light also can significantly increase the depth of the field.

macro photography of insects

The best time to take macro photos of the insect world is around 4 to 6 am. During this period of time, the dew is heavy, and the water drops are all pressed on the body, resulting in the low flexibility of the insect. Even if it is pressed close to the top, it can be easily photographed. Dewy insects are a lot more visual.

3. Focus leisurely at the best shooting distance

In general, do not track and focus when insects are crawling or peristalsis. The addition of a close-up lens does not affect the auto-focus function of the main lens. Before shooting insects, we should estimate the focusing distance roughly according to the model of our close-up lens. The focus can be the eyes of insects, and the camera can be moved back and forth in the furthest focusing range. When a relatively clear insect image appears in the viewfinder, we should half-press the shutter to focus. It takes only a few seconds to snap an insect.

4. Lighting is important

Overhead flash and ring flash are commonly used for insect photography. The simple operation of the light antenna can also get normal exposure so that the capture of insects is more convenient. The two tubes of the light antenna can distribute light freely. When taking a macro shot of insects, the flashlight may be difficult to fill light at close range because of the short focusing distance. However, the light antenna can be extended to the front of the lens to fill light in coordination with the close-in lens, making the shooting more convenient.

macro photography of insects


Can you shoot normally with a macro lens?

Yes. Lens manufacturers mostly optimize macro photography lenses for close-ups, but many macro lenses suit general use as well. Macro lenses can get more detail in ultra-sharp focus, which is why they also act as portrait lenses for most pro photographers.

What is the disadvantage of using a macro filter?

They can degrade the quality of the image.

What is a macro lens?

A macro lens is one that allows you to take sharp, detailed, close-up photos of small subjects such as flowers, plants, insects, and products. A macro lens is a camera lens designed for photographing small subjects at very close distances.

Can I use a macro lens for portraits?

Not only can macro lenses be used for portraiture, but some photographers also prefer macro lenses specifically because they enable them to get closer to their subjects compared to the more limited close-focusing abilities of conventional lenses.

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