For both scenarios, there are three tips that are the same .
1. Set your “AF Point Selection” to focus on the center.
a) In bug macros, you are basically bringing out a specific part of the subject you are trying to shoot. I highly recommend this setting. You can really ruin the shot if your focal point is NOT in focus.
In the first picture you can see that the focus is on the mouth where the eyes would be much more appealing
The second picture the focus is on the eyes which has color and it’s eye-catching
2. Always add a bit of contrast to post editing. It will sharpen those areas you are trying to bring out. Just don’t go overboard with it.
3. Leave your ISO to automatic. The settings I mention below are if the subject/s are in extreme shade or light. They help to keep your shutter to a reasonable setting for holding the camera and getting the shot with minimal movement.
Next are two scenarios that I have typed up some short flash notes to create that perfect look.
Scenario 1: Subject is in the shadow
1. Flash needed
2. The higher f-stop will reduce the washing out of the subject you can see a lot when using a flash at close rangeHigh ISO (400-800) 1600 ONLY if subject is in really dark area and can’t be moved. This tends to cause high noise but below is a program recommended to fix it. You want to stay away from noise as much as possible due to reducing it can take away from the detail you are trying to bring out.
3. F-stop between 9-11
a) The higher f-stop is due to some lighter subjects washing out easier than others
4. Shutter speed (1/80-1/200)
a) Any slower can result in a blurry subject due to not being able to keep your camera steady if no tripod is in use. You might not see it at first glance but when enlarged it becomes obvious.
Subject in medium shade:
f/9.0(for less DOF), 100mm fixed macro lens, ISO 400, Shutter 1/160, flash fired
Subject in light shade:
f/5.6 (for DOF), 100mm fixed macro lens, ISO 400, Shutter 1/160
A Noise reducing program will be very helpful in increasing the attraction and clarity of the shot when you use a high ISO. WWW.imagenomic.com is where I got the FREE program I use and I really enjoy it. Very user friendly and again… it’s FREE. You can purchase the ability to clean up multiple shots at one time for a very inexpensive amount as well.
Scenario 2: Subject in BRIGHT light
1. No need for a flash
2. Lower f-Stop for a nice DOF and specific area of focus (f4.5-f5.6)
a) Low ISO 100-200
b) High shutter (400-800)
3. Higher f-Stop for a larger area of focus and less DOF (f6.3-f9.0)
a) High ISO 400-800 (May require higher if in VERY bright light)
b) Slower shutter (100-250)
Subject in bright sun light: Focused on the eye. A bit of raise in f-stop allowed for more area in focus and darkened subject a bit. I also stepped back a bit to increase the area in focus and planned for a crop in post-editing.
f/6.3,ISO 400,Shutter 1/200
Medium sun light: Focused on the eyes. Raised shutter to darken image.
f/4.5,ISO 400,Shutter 1/640
I’ve noticed that a lot of dark bugs/subjects in direct sun still turn out dark so it’s a good idea to use a flash to get those details. Just follow the same rules as the Bright Light steps but an even higher f-Stop and/or faster shutter
There are a lot of different scenarios that can affect your shot. Here is a quick rundown of the tips I have.
1. Leave your ISO on automatic unless your subject is in dramatic places. (Too much light or too dark). Then adjust accordingly to the above steps. The auto is pretty accurate and gives you the ability to just focus on f-Stop and Shutter speed to get the right lighting and DOF.
2. Raise your f-Stops when using flash to reduce/eliminate washing out the subject from being so close when taking the shot
3. ALWAYS watch your focus area. Ensure you have the main area of concentration IN FOCUS
4. Set your AF point selection to CENTER
5. Don’t go below 1/80 unless utilizing a tri-pod and then you might want to get a wireless remote to eliminate shaking or use the 2second self-timer.
6. Playing with one setting may require you to change another. Example would be if you take a shot with an f-Stop of 9.0 then decide you want more DOF you take it to 4.5. Your subject will be very dark so you will need to lower your shutter and/or ISO.
Play around with the settings and find a subject that will sit and pose for you. I love dragonflies and I can tell you they are just as curious about us as we are of them. Different color ones have different personalities and in my experience the Blue Dashers are the nicest. Move up VERY slowly to them without crunching the ground and I guarantee they will stay for you
For my final result I wanted to showcase a few of my favorite macros. Hope you enjoy! :)