Thursday, 15 July 2010

Photographing Insects

INSECTS: Love them or hate them they are great to photograph, constantly on the move they are a great subject to hone those photographic skills. It's a real challenge to get pin sharp images of these creatures, but when you do WOW the feeling is empowering and you want more..

What equipment do you need? well like everything in this world you can spend a fortune on macro lenses, extension tubes, bellows and reversing rings etc etc...
Most modern compact camera's usually have a macro setting some have digital zoom, this can get you started so get out there and snap away.
Depth of field:
 Now the tech stuff. The most important relationship in photography is Aperture and Shutter speed. Together, when correct, they produce wonderful images with correct exposure and with a little help from their best friend Light, vivid colour.

As you can see with the above images the Ringlet on the left is pretty much in focus from one wing tip to another, while the Skipper right is in focus at it's head and blurs toward the end of the abdomen.
For the image in the left I used a Shutter speed of 1/125 sec and an Aperture of f11.
The image on the right Shutter speed 1/250 Aperture f5.6.
Light also plays a factor the more light there is the higher Aperture number can be used and still have a fast enough shutter speed to stop blurring.

It is the Aperture that relates to how much of the image is in focus. The bigger the number the more of the image will be sharp. However if dialling in a large aperture causes a shutter speed to drop to around 1/60 sec or below then you will be in danger of camera blur especially if you are not using a tripod.
For a more detailed explanation of Depth of Field follow this link:

I hope you now have a rough idea what depth of field is all about :
Basic Pointers are-

1. The bigger the aperture number the slower the shutter speed will become. So use aperture of around f8 to f11 in bright conditions to keep a shutter speed ABOVE 1/60 sec.
2 Use aperture of f5.6 if you want to blur part of the image, you should get a faster shutter speed as a matter of course.

There are other factors that can help such as ISO settings which can be boosted to get the shutter speed and aperture you require in poor light conditions. Check out this link for explanation:

I hope I have convinced you to try insect photography, it is amazing how diverse our natural surroundings are especially the insect world. Take the pictures then find out what they are you will soon get hooked. If you want to know more let me know


Bordershot said...

Wow! Your pictures are very great!!
Thank you for your comment., im not a breeder. Do you have a boder collie, yet?

Picturit said...

I had a Border Collie bitch for seventeen years she was a great dog and I miss her. I cant have a dog now as I live in a top floor flat, but if I could it would be another Border Collie I love them.

Stephen Baird said...

wow! great shots!
nikonsniper steve

Picturit said...

Cheers Steve that means a lot coming from you. Your pics are fab Kev

Anonymous said...

Great pictures!! It's a good idea to share our passion for photography! I've been once in London and I did appreciate it. I took some pictures with my old Nikon with a 50mm 1,8, classic.
Nice to see U

thedinnerlady said...

Wow, these are fantastic. The few I've tried have always been so tiny in the pic and not sharp enough to crop!

JRandSue said...

Hi Kev,great macro images.
You asked what equipment we use,I use a Samsung i6 and Sue uses a OlympusE400 with a 300mm lens and a Macro Lens.
Hope that's helpful.

Montanagirl said...

Wonderful images! It was fun visiting your blog. I use a Canon EOS 40D with sev.diff. lenses. I have a Canon 100mm f2.8 Macro lens, a Canon 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM; a Canon EF-S 17-85 IS USM; I also have a Sigma 150-500mm IS Lens. I also have a Panasonic DMC FZ50 (with a Leica Lens) which is fun for Macro shooting as well. I have a Canon 100-400mm IS lens (which I dropped), had repaired, but has never been right in its head since. I have my eye on a Canon 28-300mm 3.5-5.6L IS USM lens - maybe's rather pricey.

Picturit said...

Thanks for all your comments I used a Sigma 70-300mm on macro with a set of extension tubes for all these images. It's a pretty good lens and affordable.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Hello I found your blog through a posted comment on Montanagirl. I have been following Mona's posts for awhile now and always enjoy her amazing photos. Like you both, I am also a photographer, first 35mm SLRs and now digital. I agree with your comments about how much "fun" insect photography can be. Please feel free to drop into our blog and see some of my recent Garden Visitors photo posts...

Sandra said...

your insect photos are incredible. i am thinking you have a macro lens. i do mine with my regular lens and i want a macro, but can't afford it on retirement pay. your photos are so sharp and clear, and beautiful.

Sandra said...

thanks again, i found the lens for canon, my question is I have telephoto 75-300 canon ef 1:4-5.6 III, it takes great photos and on the lens it say flower 1.5m/4.9 feet but I am unable to get it to focus unless i am 7 feet or more away. is the lens you mentioned better than this one

Sandra said...

thanks scott, you have given me a lot of info and much to think about.