5 Tips for Stunning Insect Picture taking

5 Tips for Stunning Bug Photography

tips for beautiful photos of insects

Taking gorgeous photos of pests might seem difficult, but it is actually pretty easy – once you know a few tips and tricks.

In this article, We share my five greatest insect photography tips, including:

  • How to find insects to shoot
  • How to level up your insect compositions
  • How to pick the perfect position for stunning insect pictures

When you’re finished reading, you will be ready to head out plus capture some mind-blowing insect shots of your very own!

Let’s get started.

1 . Search with patience for good subjects

This might sound obvious…

…but if you want to consider great insect photos, you must learn to find insects to begin with. Our many-legged counterparts are all around us, but they don’t usually announce their presence with a trumpet blast. You need to spend time looking!

So when you head out with your camera, don’t get frustrated if you don’t see any bugs. Have some fun looking for critters in grass, dirt, trees, and much more. It might take a few minutes, but if you search, you will look for plenty of potential subjects.

In my experience, after a little bit of subject searching, you can find great insects on trees, bushes, rocks, benches, buildings, and pretty much everywhere else. Don’t be afraid to search in your own outdoor, either; as long as you have lawn, trees, or soil, you are bound to find a few great subjects.

Naturally , make sure you wear casual clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty – insects frequently live in the soil, in fact! I sometimes crouch upon the ground, straddle a fencing, or perch atop the ladder to get a better view of these small critters. It is tough, messy work – but it’s also a good way to get some fascinating pictures.

insect photography tips
I wanted to get a nearer look at some magnolia blossoms and noticed that they were filled with bees. I got a shot of just one of them on its way to gather some nectar.

2 . Wait for the very best shots

I’d like to let you in on the little secret:

Insects aren’t so great at following directions . Most bugs simply will not listen to perfectly acceptable requests like “Hold still! ” or “Turn another way! ”

So what does this indicate for you?

As an insect photographer, you should learn to be patient . Once you find a topic (see the previous tip), you can’t expect to get a stunning photograph right away. Wait, watch, and become ready – so that every time a good opportunity presents itself, you will nail the shot.

insect photography tips

This might mean watching a cicada  explore a shrub, keeping your eye on a beetle since it blazes a trail throughout your lawn, or awaiting dinner to fly into a spider’s web. It sounds dull, but if you open your self up to the insect world, you might actually find a lot to be fascinated by.

Pro hint: The slightest sound may disturb our tiny small friends, so take care to move about quietly. And do not intrude on the insects’ activities. If your camera has a lengthy zoom lens, you can use it to obtain close-up shots from a distance.

One more tip: If you want to photograph pests in action, you’ll need to utilize a fast shutter speed – but in low-light situations, a quick shutter speed will often produce a too-dark image. That’s when you’ll want to bump up your own ISO ; sure, a high ISO may produce noise , but it’s better to capture a noisy image than a blurry one.

insect photography tips

Sometimes you have to keep an eye on a critter for a long period, and even after many minutes associated with waiting, it may decide to scurry off or fly aside. That’s just how insect digital photography goes! When you set out to get pictures of insects, nothing is guaranteed.

That said, if you can find a balance between shooting plus waiting, you might be pleasantly surprised from the results.

three or more. Capture the eyes, not just the insect

This tip might seem a bit strange – and it’s not always easy to accomplish – but if you can capture a good insect’s eye , your photos may reach a whole new level.

As the saying goes, “The eyes are the window to the soul. ” And this does not just hold true just for humans; it also works intended for animals and even bugs!

You see, when you get a shot of an insect’s eyes, it’s almost like  the two of you are sharing a flash. Like you and the insect are watching each other and enabling one another to share space for a few seconds.

insect photography tips
Dont really know what this wasp was thinking, but judging by his expression, it was something like, “Leave me alone, and I can leave you alone. ”

I’m no entomologist, and I have no idea if insects are thinking anything at all when I take their pictures. But seeing their eye and faces lends a substantial amount of depth to what would otherwise be just another image of just another bug. It takes time and patience, in case you can capture your pest subjects’ eyes, you can pull your viewers to your pictures in new and convincing ways.

Remember that, if you want to capture insect eye, you’ll need to pay attention to your own camera angle and your point of focus. Here, manual concentrate can be a huge help, assuming your subject remains to be stationary; that way, you can ensure that the eyes remain tack-sharp.

insect photography tips

4. Shoot from down low

It’s a mistake that beginning insect professional photographers make at all times :

Position above the insect subject matter and pointing the digital camera down.

You can use this approach, and you could easily get some pictures of spiders, beetles, or giant ants, but they won’t be nearly as interesting, compelling, or engaging as they would be in case you tried a lower angle.

For instance, you may try getting down on an amount with the insect, so that your camera seems to peer directly into the particular insect’s little world. This can give you an intimate result, one which serious insect photographers love .

You can even try getting down below the insect plus shooting up; this move will make the insect loom above the viewer within a fun little reversal.

I followed this cottonwood borer for almost half an hour as it climbed all over a pine tree, all due to the fact I wanted to get a picture from a more unconventional  angle:

insect photography tips

Sure, I could have just taken a photo while it was on a department or the tree trunk, yet I knew that filming from a low angle might create a much more engrossing  image.

So don’t be afraid to get down low. And experiment with interesting angles whenever you get the chance!

5. Invest in a macro lens

Since you’re undoubtedly aware, insects tend to be pretty small – and unfortunately, most lens aren’t designed to focus on little subjects.

But macro lenses are specifically made to capture beautiful images of insects, flowers , and other little items. They’ll get you pictures that are sharp and feature tons of stunning detail, this is why I recommend you invest in a devoted macro lens as soon as possible.

Now, it is true:

Macro lenses can be quite pricey. But the results they produce are usually astounding, so if you’re serious about insect macro photography, the macro lens is generally really worth the cost.

If you’d prefer to wait around on a macro lens, or if you’re not sure you’re prepared to dive into insect digital photography, you do have other options. You can buy close-up filters , which will help magnify your subject, or you can use extension tubes , which are another great way to have sharp close-up shots (and they won’t break the bank, either).

Of course , not every insect photography needs to be performed at high magnifications, thus before you spend money on lenses or accessories, test out the equipment you already own. See if this can’t give you the results you are after! You’d be amazed what standard lenses – such as 50mm primes – are capable of.

Bug photography tips: final phrases

Now that you’ve finished this article, you know the best way to take stunning photos of insects!

So head out with your camera (and if you can, grab a macro lens! ). Practice acquiring insects. Practice photographing insects. And remember: Be patient!

Now over to you:

What kind of bugs do you plan to photograph? What gear will you use? Talk about your thoughts in the comments beneath!

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category

Simon Ringsmuth

Simon Ringsmuth

is an educational technologies specialist at Oklahoma Condition University and enjoys spreading his enthusiasm for digital photography on his website and podcast at Weekly Fifty. He and his brother host the monthly podcast called Camera Dads where they discuss photography and fatherhood, plus Simon also posts frequently to Instagram where you can stick to him as @sringsmuth.

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