Need some direct feedback

SashaT

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Ok, I have now attempted to get some bee shots over the past couple of days. I really need some direct feedback as to what I am doing wrong as the shots just dont seem to be quite right (to me) Thanks. Oh yea, all of the shots were taken with me holding the camera and not on a tripod.



#1 was taken with a 60mm 2.8 micro lens ISO 100, 1/320, f/8

#2 was taken with the same lens ISO 100, 1/400, f/8

Both shots were taken in full sunlight at 3PM.





$D71_0084.JPG$D71_0111.JPG
 

MiFleur

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On your first shot, the bee in in the shade you would have needed a flash or a ring flash which is helpful to avoid shadows. Your focus is good but more depth of field may have been better.
On the second shot, I love to see the pollen on the bee, it is a little bit too far away but it is a good shot, my favorite among the two!
 

Whiskeyjack

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I agree completely with what MiFleur said. Even just a reflector to get some light onto that bee in the first should would have helped it immensely.
 

Judobreaker

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Macro is rather hard so it's a decent start.

There's several things to note in these shots.
One is the lighting, which several people have pointed out now so I won't go into that a lot besides saying a flash is handy, even in daylight situations I use flash a lot. Reflectors work too in good bright daylight situations.

The second thing to note is your focus. Both shots don't have the eye(s) in focus, which is a really important thing. Insects are like any other live subject, whether it be birds, goats or humans. Usually you want the eyes in focus (unless there's a very distinct reason not to focus on the eyes, but that usually isn't the case). Focus is hard with macro as the depth of field is small. You're working at f/8 which is workable however higher isn't bad with macro lenses. These lenses are designed to work with smaller apertures so don't worry about going to f/11-f/16, it makes focus easier which is a good thing when you start out with macro.

The last thing is your composition. This is tricky with insects. They're small and just go about their business, so sometimes it just doesn't work out the way you want it.
However, it is good to know that it is usually more interesting to get the insect form the side or front. In both shots you're looking at the insect from above and it is facing away from you, basically you're looking at its backside. Try to get it eye-level, as if you're standing right next to it, and have the bug looking into the camera or to one of the sides (or anything in between the two of course).
Sometimes this simply takes a lot of times. I've had an occasion where I chased a bug for 2 hours just to get one good shot (which turned out to be one of my most awesome shots so far) and I'm sure some people have had worse. Patience is the key, and a bit of luck and trickery helps.
In this case you could try and wait for the bee to crawl back out of the flower so it is coming towards you.

I never use a tripod with insect macro shots by the way, I find it much easier to be able to move around fast.

Don't worry about it too much, you're off to a nice start. Just keep practicing, you'll get the hang of it soon enough.
 
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SashaT

SashaT

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Thank you all for the feedback, one goal of mine this year is to improve my macro skillset as I really enjoy the shots as well as following them around to try to get them. I will take the suggestions and keep on practicing :)
 

AlexanderB

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There is a guy with nickname "orionmistery" on this forum with excellent tutorials on macro on his blog. Just search him.
 

sm4him

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Macro is rather hard so it's a decent start.

There's several things to note in these shots.
One is the lighting, which several people have pointed out now so I won't go into that a lot besides saying a flash is handy, even in daylight situations I use flash a lot. Reflectors work too in good bright daylight situations.

The second thing to note is your focus. Both shots don't have the eye(s) in focus, which is a really important thing. Insects are like any other live subject, whether it be birds, goats or humans. Usually you want the eyes in focus (unless there's a very distinct reason not to focus on the eyes, but that usually isn't the case). Focus is hard with macro as the depth of field is small. You're working at f/8 which is workable however higher isn't bad with macro lenses. These lenses are designed to work with smaller apertures so don't worry about going to f/11-f/16, it makes focus easier which is a good thing when you start out with macro.

The last thing is your composition. This is tricky with insects. They're small and just go about their business, so sometimes it just doesn't work out the way you want it.
However, it is good to know that it is usually more interesting to get the insect form the side or front. In both shots you're looking at the insect from above and it is facing away from you, basically you're looking at its backside. Try to get it eye-level, as if you're standing right next to it, and have the bug looking into the camera or to one of the sides (or anything in between the two of course).
Sometimes this simply takes a lot of times. I've had an occasion where I chased a bug for 2 hours just to get one good shot (which turned out to be one of my most awesome shots so far) and I'm sure some people have had worse. Patience is the key, and a bit of luck and trickery helps.
In this case you could try and wait for the bee to crawl back out of the flower so it is coming towards you.

I never use a tripod with insect macro shots by the way, I find it much easier to be able to move around fast.

Don't worry about it too much, you're off to a nice start. Just keep practicing, you'll get the hang of it soon enough.

^Good suggestions here.
f/8 is a good "average" aperture to use for regular photography, perhaps, but for macro it's usually just not going to give you enough DOF. I use anywhere from f/16 and up on my macro photography.
Bump up that ISO and stop down that aperture.
If you have an off-camera flash, it can take your macro to a whole new level. If you don't have one, I sometimes use the camera flash, diffused with a piece of tissue.

As already mentioned, your composition also could use some work. Try to get something besides a straight-on side shot. The more we can see of its head and eyes, the better (generally speaking).

I almost always hand hold the camera when doing insect macros (or any other macros, for that matter). At the shutter speeds you had, that shouldn't be a big problem--however, you might try bumping that up a bit for bees and other fast-moving insects; since they are constantly moving, it can be easy to get a little motion blur at slower shutter speeds.

One other suggestion: Try shooting some insects in the early morning, as soon as you have enough light (this is where flash is especially useful). Generally, they are a little more sluggish when things are still wet with dew. Plus, sometimes you get lucky and get a nice big dewdrop on one of them. :D

Keep shooting; these aren't bad for early efforts.
 

EDL

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Learn ways to brace the camera as you are chasing bugs. Holding still enough and getting the focus where you want it quickly is probably one of the toughest things to do. If you have any rifle shooting experience use the same breathing techniques as you "fire off" the shot.
 

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