We are honoured to share with an interview with ColinHuttonPhoto
who has a breath-taking Macro Photography gallery here on deviantART. Colin is based in the United States and has only been on deviantART for just over a year. He has made a name for himself already having received one daily deviation and reached an extensive audience with his macro works. Read on to find out what inspires Colin and the equipment he uses…
1) Firstly, tells us a bit about yourself and how you find yourself undertaking Photography. Is it a job? A hobby or a pleasant mixture of both?
My educational and professional background are in ecology and conservation. I don't have any formal training in photography or entomology, but I love both fields. I've always enjoyed chasing after insects, reptiles, and amphibians, but I didn't actually start photographing them until I got a point and shoot in college. Several years later I bought a DSLR and a macro lens and became hooked on photography. I just recently finished graduate school and now I'm trying to turn my photography obsession into a career.
2) Could you tell us a bit about your style as a Photographer and what led you to undertaking Macro Photography in particular?
I like to get up close with my subjects. I do a lot of portraits and usually try to have the insect fill the frame. One of the main reasons I'm drawn to insects is that they often look very different up close so I aim for very sharp, clear images that capture the true appearance of these creatures. Soft, even lighting and blurry, non-distracting backgrounds also help achieve this effect.
3) What equipment do you use in particular to capture Macro Photography and what would you recommend to somebody starting out?
Camera body - I use a Canon 7D, but the body isn't really that important. If it feels good in your hands then it should be fine. If you shoot a lot with live view then you may want one with an articulating screen. I If you plan to shoot at magnifications higher than 1:1, I would recommend going with a Canon body. This suggestion has nothing to do with any opinions on quality, just that you will be able to use the Canon MP-E lens.
Lens - Something in the 100 - 200mm range (I use a Sigma 150mm) and the Canon MP-E. A wide angle lens with a high native magnification is also good if you want to do wide angle macro shots.
Tripod - Go for one that doesn't weigh too much and can go level to the ground because a lot of macro shots will be taken from a very low angle. I use have a Manfrotto 190cx
Flash - Twin lights are great, but you can also get good light from speedlites for a lot less money. Either way, the lights will need to be diffused. Proper diffusion is the key to soft lighting. I have several speedlites and the Canon twin light.
Camera bag - I like Clik Elite bag, but I've never used anything else so I don't know how it compares to other bags.
”I think insects are amazing and beautiful, but most people don't realize this unless they get the chance to see what these creatures really look like up close.”
4) What are the challenges of undertaking Macro Photography?
It depends on how long you've been shooting. At first, just focusing can be tricky because the depth of field is so shallow. Getting sharp images is more difficult with macro as well. You have to learn about insect behavior and master your approach so that you don't startle them. Currently, my biggest challenge is finding new species of insects to photograph.
5) Do you find there are some subjects trickier than others to capture? For example how on earth do you manage to capture such crisp images of live creatures?
Subjects that fly are usually more difficult to photograph. I find that wasps in particular are very skittish, even in the early morning when other insects are very calm. Smaller insects are usually more challenging as well because they require higher magnifications which makes focusing and tracking that much more difficult.
6) Would you recommend any groups on deviantART that help promote Macro Photography?
Yes, quite a few. Tiny-Worlds-Photo, Raw-Nature, BugZoo, MarvelousMacro, MacroPhotographers are a few, but there are many groups that focus on nature and macro photos. Others, such as devPREMIUM showcase a variety of photography genres, but they have a special macro spotlight feature each week.
7) If you could work alongside another artist, dead or alive, Photographer or otherwise - who would it be?
I honestly have no idea. I think I would much rather work alongside an entomologist so that I could learn more about the creatures that I'm photographing.
8) Is there a piece of advice that you know now, which you didn't know when you started photography?
Yes, that would include pretty much everything that I know now because I didn't really know much at all when I was starting out. There's enough information to write a book, but I'll just pick one thing: don't stress too much about picking the perfect gear. Beginners, myself included, worry a lot about buying the 'best' camera body and lens for macro, but pretty much every macro lens is sharp and will produce great results, and as long as you can attach a lens to it, the camera body should be fine as well.
9) Who are your influences, Photographic or otherwise?
When I was starting out my biggest influences were Igor Siwanowicz, John Kimbler, and Thomas Shahan. Now that I've been at it for a few years and been exposed to numerous other talented artists, there are just too many to name.