Macro nature photography: tips for taking pin-sharp close-ups of flowers and insects

Macro nature photography: tips for taking pin-sharp close-ups of flowers, lichen and butterflies

Our professional photographer’s recommended gear

Our professional photographer's recommended gear: Wamberley Plamp

Wimberley Plamp
Ross says… This 22-inch articulated arm has a clamp at the end for holding the stems of specimens still so they do not move the in the wind. It is important to place the stem in the special circular recess so that you do no damage to the plant.

The other end attaches to a second tripod, if you have one – but a stick is a neat, low-cost alternative. The Plamp (£33/$37) is also useful to give you an ‘extra hand’ to hold a reflector in just the right spot.

 

Our professional photographer's recommended gear: Manfrotto heads

Manfrotto 405 & 410 geared heads
Ross says… Geared heads give you fingertip control, so you can line up shots with pinpoint precision. You simply turn the three geared control knobs to give you 360° of pan, 120° of lateral tilt, and 120° of frontal tilt. My Manfrotto 405 (£349/$500) is much bigger than my 410 Junior (£135/$260), takes more weight and offers smoother movements.

However, my 410 is easier to take travelling, and lets me get closer to the ground. Both heads, thankfully, use the same quick release plate.

 

Our professional photographer's recommended gear: Heliopan SH-PMC Polariser

Heliopan SH-PMC Polariser
Ross says… I find a polarising filter particularly useful for close-ups of flowers shot in overcast light. You rotate the front part until you get the richest colours.

It is not much use on windy days, though, as it significantly cuts the amount of light reaching the sensor so shutter speeds end up being dangerously long. This 105mm circular polariser is made by Heliopan, but fits my Lee Filter slot-in system. It costs £212/$320 (www.teamworkphoto.com).

PAGE 1: Meet our professional photographer and apprentice
PAGE 2: Macro nature photography tips for planning your shoot
PAGE 3: Final macro nature photography advice from our professional photographer
PAGE 4: Our professional photographer’s recommended gear
PAGE 5: Shot of the Day

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