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Insect macros QUICK TIP Th is ma ke s a grea t rain y da y projec t. S tore some su i ta ble su bjec ts in ja rs so you don’t have to hun t for bugs wh en you wan t to sh oot macros

STEP BY STEP It’s a small world…

Get amazing results using this simple macro photography set up

01 The set up

02 Let there be light!

03 Get your camera ready

04 Focus and shoot

Lay down a piece of card (this will enable you to reposition the setup later, and provides background colour) and set a small stand on top – we used a small tripod. Peg your bug to the stand, and then mount your D-SLR onto a tripod. Position your camera roughly next to the main setup.

Put your camera into aperture-priority mode and set the aperture to f/16. Switch on Live View and frame the image up so you’re shooting your subject from a side angle. Set the ISO to 100 for maximum quality. You don’t need to worry about the shutter speed as the bug is not moving.

Natural VS LED

You can shoot using natural light only, but watch out for shadows if you do. To light our setup we used a LED ring light that fits over the end of our lens, and gently fills in the shadows. If you don’t have one of these you can use a couple of torches, but again watch out for shadows.

Switch your lens to its manual setting and turn the focus ring to the minimum focusing distance. Move the bug into place by positioning the mat. When you think the eye is sharp, zoom in using Live View, and tweak for accuracy. Finally, take the shot using a remote shutter release.

top tips Getting closer

05 LED Lights

LED lights are easier to control than flash and give a soft, continuous light. Most produce a cool tone, so check the white balance.

The kits that helps you capture every detail of tiny subjects

01 Macro lens

03 Close up filters

A macro lens is defined as being able to capture a subject at a 1:1 ratio. Many ‘zoom’ macro lenses only capture a at 1:2 ratio.

Using a close up filter is essentially like placing a magnifying glass over your lens. You may see fringing and edge softness.

02 Extension tubes

Extension tubes turn a standard lens into a macro lens. You can also attach them to a macro lens to increase the magnification.

■ You can alter the final effect by changing the background colour and lighting setup. If you’re using just natural light, turn the exposure compensation to +1EV to lighten the background. The yellow background in this example is simply a food chopping board, and the moth has been lit using the LED ring light.

04 Shutter release

Macro photography is a delicate operation, so using a remote shutter release eliminates the chance of camera shake. If you don’t have one of these, use the self timer.

To watch the video use this web link…

August 2014