Finding Macro Models

Hello everyone!

This is my first attempt at the blog forum. My apologies in advance for any blunders, omissions or technical difficulties.

Recently I was thrilled to have 4 of my photos accepted into the close-up assignment. So, I thought I'd share my (newbie) methods of finding suitable models -- bugs, bees and butterflies -- for macro shoots.

Bee on flower

First off, starting with my own very small yard -- about 5’X5’ square -- I keep bee and butterfly attracting plants in pots. Lavenders, sage, orange butterfly bush, and salvias, all colorful and all attractive to these helpful insects. In addition the salvias are great for attracting hummingbirds.

Often I visit the local nursery armed with my camera on a tripod -- a great resource for both plants and bugs. But, do check with the management first and request permission to photograph. The staff at our local garden center have become so friendly and helpful that often while I’m shooting they come running up to share the location of a spider or bug they just found.

Also, check with your local botanical gardens and zoos. I’ve found that most invite photographers. Just please follow their guidelines regarding photography so that you’ll always be welcome back.

White butterfly

After locating good macro models the next step is good lighting. We all know good lighting is essential. Presently I must rely on natural lighting as I invested all my dollars into my lenses -- a good flash system will have to come later. Mornings and afternoons provide the best natural lighting for my area. And, fortunately that’s the best time for bug activity!

The next essential is a good tripod and a cable release -- you’d be surprised how the slightest of movements can ruin a macro shot.

And, finally, patience. Sometimes I sit in the garden, bushes, weeds, dirt for hours I'm sure anyone driving down the street must think I'm completely mental and out on a day pass. However, the longer and quieter you sit the more you will see.

Spider sitting on flower

In closing, I’ve learned so much reading the blogs and posts offered by others here on DT. As a new comer to stock photography (and macro) I look forward to continuing to learn from others and hope to be able to offer ideas that may in turn be helpful to others. It would be great to hear comments from others facinated with the insect world on where they find their best models.



Photo credits: Marilyn Gould.
Marilyn Gould
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  • Marilyngould
  • Gig Harbor, United States

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February 28, 2009

Hi Marilyn. I know you posted that blog seven months ago but I have only been here since Oct. 08 and is the first time I seen it. Great photos, I really like them and also good blog for your first. I also have a 100mm 2.8 macro lense and cant wait for the weather to break so I can get some great shots like yours. Thanks again and good luck.


February 27, 2009

You have some lovely shots here Marilyn. I also enjoyed your little spider on the yellow flower. I must get my macro lens out soon!


February 18, 2009

Hi Marilyn. Great shots. Yes it is amazing what you can find in your own backyard. Up till now I have not had much luck with my macro photography, but as you say, the time and the patience means a lot.


July 24, 2008

looks like you're having so much fun ~ ! :)))

ps. that's a lovely butterfly, looks beautiful with the purple flowers ~