Driftless Prairies: Native Habitat Restoration

Nature inspires awe!

Insect photography

The camera equipment and settings

I struggled for weeks before I discovered the best settings insect photography. In the process, I talked with a number of folks and learned that there’s about 50 ways to right on this!! One does not need this particular equipment in order to take great shots. I tried various pieces of equipment, especially flash equipment, and this set up is what I enjoy working with. (yes, I know, I ended the sentence with a preposition!!)

Canon EOS T5i with 18 megapixels
Canon Twin Light MT-24EX with diffusers
Tamron 90mm 1:2.8 VC macro 1:1 lens

When shooting insects, I pretty much keep the setting on 1/125, f/11, ISO200 and I use the Auto White Balance with the spot metering most of the time. Depending on where I have my photo shoot, I may have to alter the white balance and have come to use a white balance filter. It really helps when the insect is on a shiny surface.

Using auto focus or manual focus will vary. When shooting with the black light, I use the spot metering because there isn’t enough light for me to manually focus and come up with anything in focus!!

The flash settings vary a great deal and if you have this flash, you’ll just need to play around with it to see what works where you are shooting. I usually have it set on ETTL but vary the intensity, which can be done in 1/3 increments. It works great for when I’m in the woods where the amount of shade or sun is so variable and where the insect is in relation to this sun or shade! It’s also ideal for when I’m shooting bugs on the window or a mirror. This flash is the best thing I ever did for my photography!!

Lastly, I learned to use Adobe Lightroom. I don’t fuss with my photos as I prefer for the photo to speak for itself and the colors of the bug to be “real.” But, I love Lightroom for 2 main tweaking purposes: straightening the bug and vignetting the photo. It’s also proven to be a very powerful photo management software that allows me to resize and organize my photos easier. My workflow is much more efficient with this software!