Find and Photograph Animals in Nature - dummies

By Thomas Clark

Nature provides many elements that are suitable for macro and close-up photography, such as insects and other small creatures, spider webs, and much more. Some of these elements may be readily available in your area, while others are more difficult to find. A certain level of knowledge or discipline could be required to capture great macro and close-up shots of some elements.


The best way to know what frogs are available to you is to research the local frogs in your area. Some frogs are found down by the water, and can be seen in the daytime, while others are found in trees and mostly at night.

You can usually find frogs after a good rain. They work as excellent macro and close-up subjects as long as you don’t make any sudden movements to scare them off.

When photographing frogs at night, bring a tripod, a flash (or a ring light) and a flashlight. You can use the flashlight to spot the frogs, and to achieve focus on them. Then use the flash to light them. This photograph was captured at night, with light from a flashlight and flash.


100mm, 1/60, f/2.8, 800


When photographing lizards, you most likely want to keep some space between you and them. They scare off easily, so consider using a longer macro lens combined with a tele-converter. Doing so enables you to get in close without having to actually get in close.

Move slowly when approaching lizards, capturing shots from farther out and making your way in for the close-ups. If you move slowly you should be able to get fairly close, but be careful: A lizard that sees its own reflection in your lens might launch an attack.

You can find these creatures sunning themselves in pretty much any area that has a thriving insect population. They are most likely to hang out above ground in months that are warmer, and on sunny days.


Snails are an ideal macro and close-up photographic subject because they’re one of the slowest moving creatures on Earth. This gives you some room to work with slower shutter speeds, and it’s easy to place your point of focus and set up your composition.

Snails are most often found at nighttime or in heavily shaded areas. When photographing snails, be prepared with a flash (or a ring light) and a tripod. The tripod mainly helps to free up your hands so you can hold a flashlight while achieving focus, or hold the flash in the position you want it during the capture.


Spiders make for very interesting subjects, both in and out of their webs. You should have a fairly easy time getting close to a spider in its web, but on the ground they may be a bit less approachable. By using a longer macro lens with a tele-converter you can keep a safe distance, and a flash (or ring light) helps to freeze the motion of a spider on the move.

When photographing a spider in its web, be cautious of the wind, as it will blow your subject in and out of your plane of focus. This can become very frustrating after a few attempts to lock focus on your subject.

The best way to photograph spiders in webs is to do so when there is no wind. But if you see something you really want to shoot, and it happens to be windy, you can attempt to block the wind with a piece of cardboard or foam core attached to a light stand.

Because the spider’s web tends to be delicate and difficult to see in some scenarios, be aware of your background when composing a shot of a spider. Dark backgrounds help to make the web more visible.