How to approach macro photography
This fly taught me a lot about how to approach macro photography and I feel it’s my responsibility to pass it on. Here’s some tips on how to approach macro photography with respect to the subject without compramising your shot:
Try to avoid altering the environment
To get as close as you need to be to shoot a macro photograph you need to get into some uncomfortable positions and environments that are not designed for humans. These environments are designed for the subjects you’re shooting. Take care when moving about their environment because those ‘sticks’ you thought had simply washed up onto the shore might be a crabs home and only protection from predators. Don’t destroy their world just for your photograph. The macro photographers I admire most are those that leave the environment the same or better condition as when they first entered.
Follow the pattern
Most animals have a very complex pattern, but insects follow a very rigid one. Flies such as my subject, let’s call him ‘Willis’ (after Bruce Willis, of course), move back and forth in almost the same flight path much like ants do. Willis didn’t tell me why, but as I approached he rushed away from the jellyfish he was sitting on and came back very soon after. As soon as I moved, he left and returned following the same curve in flight each time. Willis didn’t care when I was there and staying relatively still, it was just when I moved. He used the almost identical flight path at least five times as I edged close enough to be ready to shoot. Thanks to Willis’ pattern, I knew where to set up for the shot.
Once I identified Willis’ pattern, I moved in slowly. By slowly, I mean in slow motion in half speed. Slower than you think you can move. It took around 5 to 10 minutes to get close enough to have Willis feel comfortable with my lens being that close. Shifting things around in the environment will break the pattern I mentioned before – take deep breaths in between shots and stick it out as long as it takes to get the shot you need. The best shots are the ones you remember took you the longest. Challenge is good!
Hope Willis’ teachings on how to approach macro photography helps you out as much as it did to me! Introducing, Willis: