Notwithstanding their reputation as pests, the countless insects, bugs, and spiders such as these ones can make for some of the most mesmerizing close-up photography themes. The world’s insects and their miniature environments provide the macro photography aficionado limitless amounts of texture, color, as well as physical environments to play around with. Insects are as diverse as humans, and they are evidently much more in numbers. They have captivating shapes, and one of the objectives of close-up nature photography is to highlight all the detail of insects and their surroundings.
Well-executed macro photography has the camera’s focus on the eyes, legs and bodies of these insects, as well as their miniscule world, which is what makes it so challenging. Aubrey Young is one such enthusiast who likes the subject of insects, and happens to be very good at it. Young offers some insight into her subject of choice and the attendant challenges.
“Show someone a good close-up picture of any insect, and you will be amazed at their level of fascination and interest. It is challenging to a photographer to properly capture an insect’s picture, and even more so to photograph the enormous variety of insect interactions. Getting a picture of a spider on its web is one thing; getting a picture of a jumping spider capturing its prey is another.”
Good macro photography is the skill to create an image that is as large (or larger) on the film plane (or digital sensor) than it is in real life, hence the term ‘life-size’. The method for getting an insect to stand out from its background is to employ a shallow depth of field. Larger apertures will produce a shallow depth of field, which concentrates the focus on your subject, while the background is blurred. Zooming and how near you are to the subject really has nothing to do with macro, and it’s almost purely in the magnification ability of the lens.
You can pick up more about macro photography and the tricks of the trade over at Aubrey Young’s portfolio.