Close-Up Photographs of Small Creatures and Insects - dummies

Close-Up Photographs of Small Creatures and Insects

By Thomas Clark

By photographing small living creatures close up, you can create images that reveal fine details, which are generally overlooked or not visible with the naked eye. This kind of detail helps to provide insight to viewers and to draw their interest, as they notice things they haven’t noticed before.

Small creatures and insects are also great macro photography subjects to work with because they provide a challenge. Depending on the individual subject, you may have to work quickly, use specific techniques, or come up with a strategy to get the shot. These practices tend to build your skills as a macro and close-up photographer. Some things to consider are:

  • The speed at which your subject moves. A still or slower-moving subject lends itself more easily to being a photographic subject. Subjects that move more quickly require more skill and technique to get the shot. You face challenges in positioning your point of focus exactly where you want it, capturing the image without motion blur, and composing the image how you want it.

    • Placing your point of focus and getting the shot becomes difficult because a moving subject may move away from your focal point between the time you position it and take the shot. Therefore, you should work quickly, wasting no time between focusing and releasing the shutter.

    • Freezing motion is important for producing sharp images that can be seen clearly. A moving subject can become blurry if your exposure time is too lengthy. Use a fast shutter speed (such as 1/250 of a second or faster) when working with moving subjects.

    • Composing the shot can also be a challenge when you’re close-up to a subject and it continuously moves. The closer you are to the subject, the greater the effect of its movements on your composition. Find your camera angle, compose the shot, and capture the image quickly before the subject moves and changes everything.

  • How close the subject will allow you to get to it. If your subject has the ability to move, then it has the ability to be scared off. Some creatures are more comfortable with having a camera shoved in their face than others. If you come across a subject that’s uneasy with your close presence, try using a macro or close-up lens with a longer focal length. Doing so enables you to keep a greater distance while achieving the same level of magnification.