Amateur Macro Photographer Questions and Tips

richard22

Arachnosquire
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Messages
91
I am recently getting into macro photography with my purchasing of a Canon 7D and Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM. I am taking photos of my bred isopods and springtails, along with other small invertebrates I find from the wild. My typical images are taken at 1/250, f/2.8-f/4.0, 640 ISO, -1 2/3 Flash Exposure Comp., and Manual Mode and Manual Focus with Image Stabilizer and it seems to work well paired with camera flash and an overhead snake lamp. Any tips of how I could improve my setup to get the maximum magnification of the subject?

I also have a few 67mm diopters but they aren't that useful, so I am wondering what I could do to improve or magnify the images I take of invertebrates. I wish to take decent images of springtails and mites if possible with my current lens, maybe an extension tube kit?

Here are a few 'good' images of progressively smaller arthropods (all images are unedited to show how they came out):
_MG_0368.JPG
Probably Bark Beetle

_MG_0018.JPG
Porcellio Scaber

_MG_1270.JPG
Small Springtail

_MG_1230.JPG
Probably Hypoaspis Miles mite
 

Attachments

Greasylake

Arachnoprince
Joined
Jul 23, 2017
Messages
1,320
An easy, somewhat effective way to get extra magnification is to take as sharp of a photo as you possibly can, with a tripod, rail, burst mode, etc. And then just crop it in a bit in editing. Other than that I'm not too sure what to tell you without getting more hardware.
 

basin79

Arachnoemperor
Active Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2013
Messages
4,413
I just crop in when dealing with small subjects or wanting to show say the detail on a spider or tarantula. So this aphid on a sundew. The original pic you could hardly make out the little rascal.

9E628A4B-976A-4157-82D7-49592C0E92D7.jpeg

1A35C2A6-AC6A-4B75-AF0C-BAB263006407.jpeg
F56973ED-23EF-4AAA-A4D3-6579DA5FC8F0.jpeg
 

Albireo Wulfbooper

Arachnosquire
Active Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2019
Messages
141
I'm no expert but one thing I've noticed is that most really stellar macro photography either uses image stacking to increase the depth of field, or makes clever use of composition to make the best of that narrow depth of field.
 

basin79

Arachnoemperor
Active Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2013
Messages
4,413
I'm no expert but one thing I've noticed is that most really stellar macro photography either uses image stacking to increase the depth of field, or makes clever use of composition to make the best of that narrow depth of field.
The absolutely ridiculous images you see are stacks as there's no other way to get them. When I first found out I felt cheated but once you start taking pics you realise it's just necessary. Although I'm not stating you can't get absolutely unreal images in a single shot. I still see loads and it blows me away.
 

Greasylake

Arachnoprince
Joined
Jul 23, 2017
Messages
1,320
Yep the best macro shots are always stacks, but they can be a little tricky to do and you'll need some practice and a software capable of it. I've tried stacking once and it came out alright.
 

basin79

Arachnoemperor
Active Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2013
Messages
4,413
Yep the best macro shots are always stacks, but they can be a little tricky to do and you'll need some practice and a software capable of it. I've tried stacking once and it came out alright.
It's not something I've tired yet as I'm still learning to get the basics right but at some point I'll definitely give them a go.
 

viper69

ArachnoGod
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 8, 2006
Messages
9,458
Any tips of how I could improve my setup to get the maximum magnification of the subject?
If you really want to increase your mag, you are going to have to get a microscope objective eventually.

There's an excellent photography forum which deals in only macro work. These guys are hardcore, the quality of images is IMPRESSIVE, as is the diversity of images.

stellar macro photography either uses image stacking to increase the depth of field
This is true. Focus stacking is the only way but equally as important is having the right type of lighting! And if your subject moves...oh crap.

Is there a good "budget" setup for someone just getting into the hobby
Budget is a relative term that means nothing as you know. Your best bet is to mention your total price you are willing to spend on gear, and see what people tell you. Otherwise we are wasting your time by providing you links to items that are not in your budget. It's the logical approach.

For example, you could start with a small 40 mm Macro lens, but maybe a larger lens is "budget" to you. Who knows.

Whatever you get, make sure the ratio is a true 1:1.
 

Greasylake

Arachnoprince
Joined
Jul 23, 2017
Messages
1,320
For example, you could start with a small 40 mm Macro lens, but maybe a larger lens is "budget" to you. Who knows.

Whatever you get, make sure the ratio is a true 1:1.
I started with my dads oldish Nikon and a somewhat budget 100mm lens. My setup isn't anything special by any means and OPs doesnt have to be either to have some fun with photography.
 

laservet

Arachnosquire
Joined
Apr 19, 2018
Messages
50
The 100 mm lens gives you 1x, the Canon MP-E65 lens gives you 1x to 5x mag so up to five times larger. However, no focusing, no image stabilization, and depth of focus is even more shallow.
 

basin79

Arachnoemperor
Active Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2013
Messages
4,413
Also experiment with shots YOU like. Doesn't matter if you prefer to concentrate more on the carapace to fill your shot rather than the whole tarantula. There is no "right" pose. With that typed though don't be afraid to pull back to get more of the surroundings in too.

E5B31BC7-4C0D-46DE-86D8-80D41E2DAB2C.jpeg E8F7B883-BFA7-4494-9A04-56AC5C9CE1BA.jpeg EC784492-75BD-4F3E-B2A6-CF0551466FA6.jpeg FBDAAA19-AC77-4EAF-ACDD-AA16C42C9CF6.jpeg C6E5555D-E639-4EB5-B616-7939A858961B.jpeg
 
Top