Insect Photography Art & Techniques


John Bebbington FRPS

Pages:              160

Binding           Paperback

Size:                246 x 189mm

Publisher       The Crowwood Press

Price                £16.99


One of my earlier photography books “CLOSE-UP ON INSECTS A Photographer’s Guide” has been out of print for a few years now. However, I still get many emails from photographers wanting to know where they can obtain a copy, or can I recommend another insect photography book? My answer was always the same, “there isn’t one”, that is up until now?

There have been several recent publications on macro photography; most are a regurgitation of the same style and approach with a superficial overview of insects and other popular subjects.

I was sent a copy of John Bebbington’s book several weeks ago, and it was a pleasure to read. This is a book that has been written by someone who clearly understands insects, their behaviour and ecology, and has the photographic skill and talent to combine both into a nicely produced publication.

The book is divided into sections with an introduction outlining “Your reasons for photographing Insects”. Other chapters include, advice on buying and using equipment for compact and DSLR cameras. There is a lot of information and sound advice on these aspects, which are often diluted in other macro publications!

Chapter three deals with “Knowing your subject” and the author discusses in detail the life cycles of insects, illustrating some nice photographic examples of life cycle photography and a wide diversity of insect groups. He also includes a simplified explanation of insect classification, which a lot of photographer’s may find useful.

“Fieldcraft”, is discussed in detail, in chapter four. Here the author includes information on “where to find insects”, approaching your subject”, and the best time to photograph. Another important aspect of macro photography, which is often overlooked is habitat damage and being a responsible photographer and mindful of your disturbance and minimising damage in pursuit of your quarry.

“Perception, Composition and Depth of Field” are the topics discussed in chapter five. Here, the author gives sound advice on composition structure, placement of the subject in the frame and creative use of depth of field; all illustrated with some excellent photography.

Chapter six concentrates on “Exposure and Lighting”, and again some nice photographic examples of various metering methods, which are explained along with photographing in available light, dealing with sunlight and working with flash.

“Capturing the Moment” is the title of chapter seven and there is a lot of useful information here on methodology and approach to you subject. The author offers advice on Scientific and Artistic approaches to your photography.

In chapter eight, the publication moves up a gear and the author discusses advanced techniques, including insect flight photography with some wonderful photographic examples from various insect groups. Aquatic photography is also debated here as well describing techniques and tank construction and working at magnifications beyond life-size. Photomicrography is also briefly mentioned with photographic examples taken down a simple stereomicroscope setup.

Chapter nine and ten deal with image processing, naming, cataloging and storing your work, which is an important part of digital management.

In the final chapter, the author discuses Expanding Your Horizions”, project planning and personal development and striving towards achieving a photographic qualification.

In conclusion, I can thoroughly recommend this publication. It is a fascinating read, packed with a lot of sound, practical advice, from someone who clearly knows his subject!

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