Insect Photography

I normally never travel to any crazy locations as it is, save a couple state parks. But recently due to it now being summer I’ve been focusing more on insect photography usually on flowers. Here’s a couple of my attempts! Never thought when I started a few years back this would be a direction I headed into. Thanks for any who check this post out!

All of these photos are taken on my 70-300 for my Nikon D5300.

Nice collection of images Nathan. I think my favorite is the third one down so I will focus on that one for critique. Selective focus on the fly is nice and the background sets off the flowers nicely. I like the composition with the three flowers and the white/yellow is a nice contrast with the green BG. The partial white flower in bottom middle is a bit of a distraction and I could see taking that out along with the partial stem next to it. I’d also run some noise reduction on the background.

Hi Nathan, and welcome to the world of small things! I love shooting macro. You don’t have to travel, so that is a nice plus, especially for those of us at this time who aren’t able to travel. Subjects are all around us in our yards, local parks, etc. But most of all, I just love getting a close look on my computer screen of the details of some of the little creatures we don’t normally pay attention to, and definitely can’t see the details of them with our eye out in nature.

As for your images, I like the composition of the third one (with the edits that Allen mentioned already), but I like the details in the fourth one. Just wish the bee was facing you more. You captured nice sharpness in the bee and the yellow flower, with a nice soft background. I would crop it in a good bit, getting rid of some of the distractions.

You didn’t provide your settings, so not sure what is bringing in the noise, but it does seem a bit noisy in each of the photos. Were you shooting hand held or on tripod?

If you enjoy shooting macro, you might, if you already don’t have one, want to consider either an extension tube, or a macro lens to get you in a bit closer to your subjects. I think you will really enjoy this area of photography. It is my favorite.

Thank you for sharing, and I am looking forward to seeing more of your shots.

I’ll join the others in picking #3 as the most attractive and #4 as the best look at an insect. Your lens will be most useful for photographing larger insects like butterflies, dragonflies and bumblebees. As Shirley says, if you want to start getting into the smaller insects, the cheapest way is to add extension tubes to your zoom.

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Nathan: Welcome to Macro. This is another world and one I hope you will explore and enjoy more and more. I agree with the others regarding preferring #3 as the fly is more clearly the subject or at the very least a strong supporting element. In #1 the bee is almost an afterthought and one has to search for it a bit and the BG is busy and distracting. That’s the only image that is unsuccessful IMO.

#4 is close but I agree with Shirley regarding the position of the bee but also the focus is a touch off on the head and eye which is usually the prime point of focus to shoot for.

I agree with Mark on recommending you consider some extension tubes. I often find using tubes on a zoom aggravating but with a little work, patience and practice it is an economical way to get in closer. I’m including a rework of your third image to show what’s possible.

And one final thing, please resize your posts to 1500-2000 pixels on the long side of the image before posting. Full size images are hard to view in their entirety and make inviting targets for image thieves. Great to have you aboard and looking forward to more. >=))>

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Thank you very much for looking at my post and the kinds words. Noise reduction is an area I very much slack on editing in my photos. So thank you for pointing that out!

Hi Shirley,
Thank you for the warm welcome and kind words. I do not recall my exact settings, but they are all hand held shots. Normally it is at about 4.5-5.6 at about 1600 iso. I do need to invest in a macro tube extension, just as a cheaper option. Especially after a bad lens investment a few months ago that cost me a few hundred haha. As for the composition I do agree about wishing the bee would have looked at me, but I was not lucky that day. But still enjoyed the colors!

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Thank you for the advice on the resolution of the images and the compositions! I definitely plan on getting extension tubes, I’d do love to get a lens,. But not in my budget for now and I want to make sure I will stick with it. So I feel the tube would be the perfect solution for now! Thank you for taking the time to reply!

Hi Nathan/ Enjoy the worlds of grand but small landscapes!
I took some time considering the second image. The original has a lot of stuff other than the blossom with the wasp on it. I chose to emphasize that portion by

  • Cropping to put the wasp and its flower and the companion flower in the picture
  • Applying a Gaussian blur to all but the main elements, as the details of the other flowers could be distractions
  • Vignetting
  • Flipping horizontally, as I read from left to right, so I want the wasp to imply motion in that direction.

Thank you for checking out my post and the advice! Definitely plan on getting extension tubes!

Thank you very much for taking the time to touch up the composition in an appealing and completely unique way! I guess coming from a more “landscape” mindset I think of having more in my photos! But I do see that going in more and emphasizing the insect and its element it is more appealing! The gaussian blur wasn’t even something I considered on macro photos! Though I do use it time to time for woodland photography. Thank you very much for checking out my post and the advice!