I am constantly discovering new and amazing macrophotographers that really put my photos to shame. So here I have compiled a short list of some photographers that I admire and am constantly referring back to for inspiration and for tips on technique and style. I’ll also add to the list as I come across more photographers.
(Click on the names to be redirected to the photographers’ respective site)
As far as I can tell he does mostly studio photography but don’t let that detract from your appreciation of his amazing photos. The lighting is exceptional and probably the best that I have seen. It has crisp details, and everything appears very sharp with no softness like a lot of very diffused shots from other photographers. He has some very interesting subjects which as far as I know he rears himself, has access to through friends, breeders or various facilities. He manages to catch them in a variety of poses. I look at his photos and can’t imagine how one would improve on it, which is really the highest compliment I can think of.
Although I knew about Piotr’s work before through Minden pictures, I was absolutely thrilled and more than blown away when I found his blog. It showcases his pictures in an important context and hugely entertaining narrative. He has a Phd in entomology and specializes in orthoptera (grasshoppers/crickets/katydids) though he doesn’t limit himself to this narrow class of insects but ventures out broadly, touching on the cultures of the myriad of locations that he has visited, as well as being very generous with his photography advice. If only all blogs were as entertaining and as regularly updated as his (ahem…).
Swedish photographer that specializes in natural light field photography and studio work. Every photo looks like a work of art. What I love about his photography is how he explains in detail the effort and steps needed to attain the photo. The dedication to create such photos truly is impressive. He is also super approchable, if you have any questions about technique, lenses, etc… he is happy to field any questions. His photos feel a little soft compared to Igors’ but that is somewhat the nature of the beast when dealing with natural light and he manages to make it work to his advantage.
Another amazing studio photographer. I find his handling of reflective subjects to be exemplary. Many shiny beetles he manages to capture with just the right amount of diffusion. He also has a number of very informative posts on his microscopy technique and lens reviews.
Singapore and Malaysia have a number of macro photographers that have really classed up Macro by having excellent light, interesting subjects and superb quality. Nicky Bay in my opinion leads the pack based on composition. He provides a diverse mix of insects and spiders mostly portraiture though also some natural history. He also uses UV light to excellent effect. His blog is an interesting read with articles outlining his setup, workshops, subjects and important topics like macro ethics.
An excellent collection of Malaysian/Singaporean insects and herpetofauna. Much like Nicky Bay with whom he often shoots and shares subjects, the lighting, framing, and overall quality is exemplary. All shots are in the field and he has some excellent natural history shots. He has also branched into backlighting and UV quite successfully.
Kurt (aka orionmystery):
Kurt leads his own photography workshop in Malaysia and it is not difficult to see why he is so esteemed. His photos are well diffused thanks to a vellum light tent. Despite this often impractical addition which usually scares insects, he has managed a variety of excellent shots of everything ranging from herptiles to insects. He has also begun to incorporate a lot of natural light and fill flash. The amazingly adapted insects of Malaysia make for a really excellent viewing experience, especially when so well captured. He is also present on a variety of photography fora and is quite active.
Brian Valentine (aka Lord V):
I consider him one of the ‘original’ macrophotographers. He has a huge database of photos all from his UK garden. He has written a number of very helpful articles with regards to his techniques on diffusion (particularly popular is his homemade pop can diffuser). He has also been published in a number of magazines and is very active in a number of online fora. If you are into Macro you will definitely run across him.
John Kimbler (aka Dalantech):
If you’re looking for bee and butterfly pictures look no further. He has probably some of the best that I have seen. He works mainly with the Canon mpe-65mm lens and so lots of closeups of tongues sucking nectar, bees covered in pollen and drinking at nectaries. His blog is very helpful for the novice and expert alike.
Linden Gledhill (aka Linden.g):
Linden has stunning insect in flight photos. Thanks to an incredibly complex rig that involves infrared beams, external shutters and multiple flashes he has managed to capture an amazing variety of insects in flight in extremely clear and crisp detail. Viewing his stream is a real treat.
These are two Ecuadorian herpetologists interested in documenting Ecuadorian herptiles. They have a lovely variety of Ecuadorian reptiles and amphibians and are extremely knowledgeable on the parks and local fauna. In fact they have started up their own company that aims to promote herpetology by guiding tourists, photographers and researchers in search of reptiles and amphibians. Their company is Tropical herping (see website). Their photos include both outdoor studio and in situ photography. Very clean shots that often show the subject in its environment, though they also have an excellent variety of portraits.
I have only recently begun admiring her work but she does excellent insect portraiture. Her lens of choice is the mpe and she manages to capture a variety of interesting poses.
Focuses mostly on closeups, he has an excellent control of light providing very clean and evenly lit subjects. His jumping spiders which constitute the majority of his subjects are especially nice.
It is particularly his studio work that I find impressive. Lovely soft backgrounds with amazing details, he has mastered the art of stacking so that there are essentially no artifacts. An excellent repertoire of incredibly detailed portraits.
Does primarily studio work with lovely backgrounds and perfect lighting.
Colin Hutton photography:
One of my new favourite macro photographers, Colin produces exceptionally clean, sharp and detailed shots with an especial attention to detail. Subjects are excellently placed in the frame so that they show dynamic poses, great lines and fascinating geometries. The colours are vibrant and the light is excellently controlled and a shining example of diffusion. Additionally subjects are labeled with scientific names and can thus serve as a field guide. Strongly recommended to view his site!
If you are into jumping spiders his photos are simply the best hands down. They are almost all portraits and so they seldom show the subject in its environment or displaying behaviour. However, he employs lovely, smooth backgrounds, perfect lighting, sharp details and a very interesting variety of spiders (mostly Salticidae) though the occasional robberfly (Holocephala) will creep in. He appears to be very busy conducting workshops, writing music and of course photography and so he may not be able to answer questions.
Anthony tancredi (aka Bandi):
Anthony is an Australian photographer again with excellent light, interesting subjects, and a newly created and fascinating blog of his experiences as a photographer. It’s fascinating to read of the trials and tribulations that the photographer faces to get their ‘perfect’ shot.
Cyrus has a very small collection on Pbase; however the ones that are displayed are first rate.
Terrance kiernan (aka Kiertner):
Terrance specializes in spiders of all types. A quick look at his photostream will show a huge diversity of spiders. He focuses on portrait work though he manages the occasional behavioural shot ie. spiders feeding/mating. Light is excellent and the catchlights are particularly pleasant in the 8 eyes.
A unique style unlike many of the other photographers which employs backlighting to give the subjects a translucence and ethereal quality. His backgrounds are usually simple but very pleasant, being light greens or beiges but with seldom any telltale lines, curves or varying colours, indicating that he probably uses some type of studio or colour cards behind the subjects. I have only ever seen him photograph insects, though he manages to capture them in a variety of amazing poses. As a strict shoot-it-as-I-see-it photographer I am less interested in his set pieces or mini-studios where he forces insects to interact in an artificial manner Eg. A spider or a praying mantis sitting on a snail.
Arthur has a photostream of some of the most unique animals and insects that I have ever seen. He doesn’t confine himself to terrestrial species but also photographs a huge number of aquatic animals, particularly molluscs and crustaceans. For the sheer wonder of the natural world his photos can elicit, he deserves a visit. As a zoologist he is also well versed in taxonomy and can readily help identify many species. He travels all over the world and as such his photostream displays a huge biodiversity. One of my favourite places to immerse myself in the biodiversity of our planet.
Peter Robinson (aka FISHNROBO):
In addition to the excellent technique, Peter creates some very interesting compositions by juxtaposing subjects. In many of his photos it’s possible to see ants or flies or other insects next to, on top of, or underneath spiders and other critters.
As Mark commented below and which sums up quite nicely the technique, “the dreamy quality and soap bubble-like bokeh of his photographs, sometimes incorporating flowers, is probably in part a result of a combination of using a Gorlitz-Meyer trioplan 100 mm f/2.0 and and some sort of post processing including selective smudging and blurring”. A wonderfully unique presentation of macro which bridges into fine art.
Another take on macro that uses a lot of soft, pastels and out of focus elements to frame the subject. Fabien unlike Fardels tends to use a darker palette, creating contrasts between light and shadow which can make for wonderful shots which one can simply enjoy for their beauty and artistry rather than detail and novelty.
You’ll notice that all these photographers have one thing in common. Their ability to have complete control over the macroenvironment. Light will essentially determine the quality of your photo after you have mastered the basics of focus and framing. Many people, myself included struggle to find a balance and to achieve appropriate lighting. Many of these photographers address this issue in their blogs.