Some macro bugs

Jonesy83

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Here's my first attempt at macro, some bugs from a walk through a woodlands near me.

Some c&c or tips to improve would be greatly welcome! I was using my Fuji XT3, the Fuji XF 70-300 with a Raynox DCR250 attached and aa Godox Tt600 for my flash. I have a diffuser on the way for round 2, so that'll hopefully soften the light next time.
 

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Thanks for the kind words everyone. I've always really admired macro photos and it's certainly addictive. I can't wait to get out there and hunt some more bugs!

Do you know what the 2 first bugs are? Green backed fly is nice!

I'm no expert, but I think the first one is a thick legged flower beetle. He doesn't skip leg day down the gym.

The second I think is a hoverfly of some sort. No idea which type though, some of them look like bees to me when I googled it and the identification part is pretty tricky for me 😁
 
Great start. Yeah, you need diffusion. You can make your own from writing paper. Mount it on the end of the lens with an elastic and aim the flash onto it. Even better than writing paper is translucent plastic because it will probably transmit more light, and it will stand some rain. Bigger is better - try for 8 inches across or bigger.

The second bug is a hoverfly. Some of your pics could be brightened a bit on the computer.
 
Great start. Yeah, you need diffusion. You can make your own from writing paper. Mount it on the end of the lens with an elastic and aim the flash onto it. Even better than writing paper is translucent plastic because it will probably transmit more light, and it will stand some rain. Bigger is better - try for 8 inches across or bigger.

The second bug is a hoverfly. Some of your pics could be brightened a bit on the computer.

Thanks for the tips! The diffuser I have on the way is 8 inches, so should definitely help make the lighting look a lot more natural. I was kicking myself at the end of the day because I thought I had my flash set fairly low but it wasn't until I was packing my gear away that I noticed it was quite high. Still, you live you learn and hopefully I won't make the same mistake next time.

Agree about them benefitting from being brighter. Post processing isn't my strong point and I also need to get my monitors calibrated correctly. I tried playing around with brightness/exposure/shadows but think I need to up my game when it comes to masking. Just applying them across the entire image didn't look right.
 
Thanks for the tips! The diffuser I have on the way is 8 inches, so should definitely help make the lighting look a lot more natural. I was kicking myself at the end of the day because I thought I had my flash set fairly low but it wasn't until I was packing my gear away that I noticed it was quite high. Still, you live you learn and hopefully I won't make the same mistake next time.

Agree about them benefitting from being brighter. Post processing isn't my strong point and I also need to get my monitors calibrated correctly. I tried playing around with brightness/exposure/shadows but think I need to up my game when it comes to masking. Just applying them across the entire image didn't look right.
Lighting is the secret to good photos, especially with macro. A powerful flash with the power turned down helps. That way the flash duration will be short, and that helps to freeze motion. Leave lots of distance between the flash and the diffuser so the light has a chance to spread.

It won't be long and you will be turning out great bug pics.
 
Nice shots as (IMO) these look artistically captured, they are pleasing to look at in that sense as opposed to the type which is more ‘clinical’ and captures every pore and follicle that would be perfect in a biologists book.
A technical achievement to be sure but not really pleasant to view aesthetically as these are IMO.
 
A great start for sure! You definitely want to get your editing skills up in line with your camera work otherwise you are going to be constantly robbing yourself of turning in some really lovely work.
 
Very nice shots. I agree with the others who have suggested the use of a diffuser. I recently picked up an AK brand diffuser and am very happy with the results.
 
Thanks again for the kind comments everyone. Part of the issue with the shadows could well be down to the film sim I was using too. I went with Velvia, which is fairly vibrant, but also heavy on the blacks. I might have a go at the RAW files later and reprocess (I know, I know, I should have just played with the RAW files in the first place 😂).

I'm also stuck a bit when it comes to post. I used to be ok with the Adobe suite, but I've had a bit of a break from photography for pleasure and mostly have been content with taking family snaps (which I try not to tinker too much with). As a result I haven't used Adobe in ages and haven't got a license either. This means I'm using gimp and darkroom (until I see PS/LR on sale) and am trying to learn new software too. I'll get there though!
 

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