Friday, June 13, 2014

Small Considerations, Creative Photography Tips, and More Wheelbug Photos

Creative Photography Tips

Surprise surprise, I'm back again! This week I'll be talking a bit more about achieving creative insect photographs.
So if you don't like bugs, look away. Because I do. (If you missed it, this article also talks about improving the artistic elements of your photography.)
Wheelbug nymph, late instar

1. See Eye to Eye
Like I've talked about previously in my article, "How to take Great Pet Photographs with a Smart Phone," perspective is important in photography. Particularly when photographing subjects that are shorter than you, it's important to bend down and shoot at eye level. The last time I checked, most insects are shorter than even me, so getting your knees dirty is important here. 
The subject's eye, in clear focus, in a photograph allows the viewer to make "eye contact," and thus feel more connected to or invested in the photograph. If you don't believe me, try it. Do a google search for animal photography. Are you more attracted to photos in which you can clearly see the animal's eyes, or not?

Wheel Bug, late instar nymph
2. Know your diagonals

This is a trick I often see portrait photographers use. To make a static shot more dynamic, tilt your camera and shoot at an angle. The strong diagonal line of the wooden railing in this shot adds drama and movement to a photo that is, quite frankly, otherwise quite boring. The new angle forces the viewer's brain to reevaluate the subject and examine it more closely, resulting in a viewer who is much more engaged with your work.
Also notice here the eye contact the insect is making with the viewer.

Yup, more wheel bugs

3. Patience is a virtue

Particularly in nature photography, some of the most striking images come from simply waiting until something fantastic happens. I followed several of these nymphs along wooden railings through a forested area of a local park. Finally, this scene happened. If you've ever watched a wheel bug, you know that they have quite interesting behaviors. When threatened, they rear up on their hind legs and splay their front two legs out. These two guys (girls?) ran into one another and got startled.
I used the flash in this photo because I realized that I needed a fast shutter speed to freeze the action of the two insects in the setting of the dim woods. As a downside, you can see the "flattening" effect the flash has on subjects - which is why I don't normally use it.

So, what do you think? Will you try any of these tips?

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Thanks for reading!

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