Nikon Americas USA

121ArticlesRemaining

4.2 Rating
Macro Photography Tips: Photographing Insects and Other Small Creatures

A few quick tips on macro photography

Beginner

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.6 Rating
The Challenge of Bird Photography

Moose Peterson tells why photographing birds in the field is well worth the challenge.

Advanced

NEW
Read
Viewing
0.0 Rating

Be the first to rate

For Great Nature Photos, Look Close to Home

Carol Freeman on photographing nature in your "backyard"

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.3 Rating
Macro Lenses

Reproduce objects up to life size using a Nikon Micro-NIKKOR Lens

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.4 Rating
Understanding Focal Length

Focal length, usually represented in millimeters (mm), is the basic description of a…

Beginner

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.2 Rating
Composing Photographs

Tips for making better compositions when photographing in the field

Beginner

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.7 Rating
FOCUS First: A System for Better Photos

Mark Alberhasky's 5 step system for taking better pictures

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.4 Rating
Versatile Views of the World of Wildlife:

Ron Magill field tests the AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.8 Rating
A Light in the Forest

Rod Planck on photographing critters in the field with a Speedlight

Advanced

NEW
Read
Viewing
3.0 Rating
Subject Tracking

Subject Tracking enhances your shooting experience by automatically adjusting focus as it follows the…

NEW
Read
Viewing
3.4 Rating
3D Focus Tracking

3D focus tracking automatically shifts the focus point to follow the movement of the subject. With the…

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.2 Rating
How to Shoot a Silhouette

Photographing a subject in silhouette

Beginner

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.2 Rating
Moviemaking 101 – 6 Tips On How To Make A Video

Six helpful tips when making movies your camera

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.7 Rating
Speedlight Tutorial: Artificial Sunlight Technique

David Tejada uses Speedlights to add a late afternoon look to a scene

NEW
Read
Viewing
3.3 Rating
Taking Close-up Photos

How do I take close-up photos of flowers and small objects?

Advanced

NEW
Read
Viewing
3.1 Rating
Photographing People Using Wireless Lighting Techniques

Tom Bol's images inspire new ways of taking a portrait photo.

Advanced

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.4 Rating
Online Exclusive: Slow Motion

Add variety to your videos with slow motion footage

NEW
Read
Viewing
3.9 Rating
The Importance of Quality Audio Capture

Simple tips for photographers shooting HD video with Nikon D-SLRs.

NEW
Read
Viewing
0.0 Rating

Be the first to rate

Deanne Fitzmaurice

Photojournalist and filmmaker Deanne Fitzmaurice is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about her…

NEW
Read
Viewing
3.9 Rating
Basics of Exposure and Camera Controls

Ideal class for those who want to go beyond point & shoot photography

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.6 Rating
What is a Lens MTF Chart & How Do I Read It?

MTF charts plot the performance and quality of a lens

Advanced

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.8 Rating
Ami Vitale

Photographer and multimedia journalist Ami Vitale is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about her photography.

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.7 Rating
Lindsey Byrnes on Rock & Roll Photography

Video interview of pro shooter Lindsey Byrnes on photography and getting…

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.4 Rating
How To Grow Your Garden Photography Skills

Taking great photographs of your own garden is easy with a few simple tips

NEW
Read
Viewing

Macro Photography Tips: Photographing Insects and Other Small Creatures

There are more than one million known species of insects inhabiting our world, and many of these tiny creatures are right outside your door. Incidentally, an insect is an arthropod. To be classified as an insect, it must have a segmented body, six legs, two antennae, compound eyes, and most likely, wings. Other creatures, like spiders and scorpions are arthropods, but they are not considered insects. Photographing insects and other small creatures can be a lot of fun, and you need venture only as far as your backyard to find a whole new world in close-up or macro photography.


A few quick tips on macro photography:

The first basic rule of close-up photography is to get close to the subject. Insect photography requires a macro lens that will allow you to focus very close to the subject. A Macro lens, (Nikon calls these lenses Micro-NIKKOR lenses) lets you photograph your subjects at near life size.

You're also going to want to use a tripod to steady the camera, especially when you're using a telephoto lens or long shutter speed. When shooting with your camera on a tripod, using a cable release to trip the shutter is the ideal shooting method. Some photographers will go the added step of locking up the mirror on their D-SLR prior to tripping the shutter. This further reduces the possibility of movement. If you don't have a cable release, you can use the camera's self-timer instead.

Depending on how close you can get, you will be able to fill the frame with the entire insect's body, or a portion of its body such as its head and antennae. Be cautious so you don't get stung.

Insects have fascinating bodies, and one of the goals of close-up nature photography is to bring out all the color and detail of insect life. Good macro photography puts the camera's focus on the eyes, legs and bodies of these bugs, and their tiny world. For example, taking a photograph of a spider in its web tells a more interesting story.

Background color plays an important role in composition. For example, if the subject is dark colored, as many insects are, a lighter, out-of-focus background will make the creature stand out from its surroundings and focus the viewers' attention on it.

The technique for getting an insect to stand out from the background is to use a shallow depth of field. Depth of field is defined as the area in front of, and behind the subject, that is in focus. Depth of field is determined by the aperture setting. Low f/stops, like f/2.8 will give you a shallow depth of field, which pinpoints the focus on your subject, while the background goes out of focus.

Another technique that nature photographers use is to position their camera so that a brightly lit subject is photographed against a dark background. Exposing for a well-lit subject, under full daylight for example, or with a fill-flash, will cause a dark background to underexpose and approach black. This effect creates a dark, even background, making the subject stand out.

But if the subject and background are both brightly lit, the insect may be difficult to separate from its surroundings. Placing a household item like a piece of cloth or paper behind the subject can work as a portable studio backdrop, isolating the bug against a plain background and setting it apart from its surroundings.

Insects are more mobile in warm weather, so photograph them in the early morning or evening when it is cooler, and they will be moving slower. The available light at those times of day will also be more flattering too.

As in all photography, keeping your close-up images simple can give you the most dramatic and beautiful results. Patience and persistence will pay off. Good depth of field and isolating your subject are two points to remember for great macro photography.