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Macro Photography: Insects and Plant Life

Lesson 2 of 15

Location Scouting


Macro Photography: Insects and Plant Life

Lesson 2 of 15

Location Scouting


Lesson Info

Location Scouting

As you're scouting a location, you're looking for your subjects, really try to respect the environment. This is where your subjects live and you need to respect that and appreciate it as you're working with them. Be careful not to step on things, try not to disturb anything. Just try and capture your subjects in their natural environment. As you find a spot that you think might be promising, remember to look up and look down, change your levels. It's so easy to fall into the habit of looking at eye level, but that's not necessarily where the subjects are. So before you move on to a new location, take a minute, look around above you, squat down, get down on the ground, look around you on the ground. If you still don't find anything there, then move along. In addition to changing levels, don't forget to turn around and to move around. For instance, if you're looking on a bush or a flower or a plant, and you're on one side the whole time, before you leave and move along for your next loca...

tion, walk around that plant. Take a look, the sun might be shining from a different direction. Maybe there's spiders hiding underneath leaves, and by changing levels and changing location, you might find something that was right in front of you. I love going to new places like this state park to search for subjects. It's really easy to fall into the habit of hiking through the woods. When you're looking for subjects, you need to physically and mentally slow yourself down. As you're walking on the trails or off the trails, it's very easy to keep going. But if you slow down, stop and look closer, you're bound to find great subjects all around you. When I'm scouting a location, all I bring with me are my camera, flash, macro lens, and my diffusers. In my backpack, I probably have two or three extra batteries, memory cards, a telephoto lens for some longer range pseudo-macro work and that's it. When you find a great macro subject, get yourself into position and look for an opportunity to steady yourself. We don't have a tripod with us and we don't need it. We have image stabilization in the camera, that takes us so far. But the next step is to get a nice comfortable steady position. You can do that by getting down on the ground, resting on your elbows, or leaning against a tree or a log that's maybe near your subject just to give you additional support. In advance of shooting at a location or in advance of scouting a location, it's great to research that location. If you can find out from either a parks department website or from talking to locals or hikers in the area, park rangers are a great resource, you can find out what wildlife, what vegetation, what insects life is at that location, and that can really let you hone in on exactly where you want to shoot. When you are on location, and you're walking through the trails or you're walking from point A to point B, continuously look around you. You never know what you're gonna find, you're never know what's gonna present itself. So look for contrasts, contrasts against leaves, contrast against the ground or the stones. Look for movement, something scurries from one place to another, and that can help you zero in on exactly where you should shoot.

Class Description


  • Understand Macro Photography and how to begin shooting it
  • Know what gear to bring and how to set up your camera
  • Find and approach your subjects, even the crawling/flying ones
  • Fast post-processing techniques to keep you on the move


Take a closer look in this beginner’s guide to macro photography and insect photography. Chris McGinnis, will dive into the world of macro photography from understanding what it is to how to shoot it. He’ll explain how to search and capture a smaller world with just the use of your camera. He’ll dive into the behaviors of insects and their relationships to plant life so that you can capture amazing images from your backyard to national parks.


  • Macro Photographers
  • Beginners
  • Hikers


Adobe Lightroom CC 2019




Chris McGinnis is a graphic designer, photographer, and macro photography enthusiast based in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He obtained his degree in graphic design from Moravian College and, after a stint in the publishing world, joined the creative department at Olympus America. Chris currently works as the Senior Manager of Creative Services and oversees all phases of Olympus’ graphic design, photography, and video production. When he purchased an OM-D E-M10 in 2014, Chris vowed to shoot (and share) at least one photo each day for an entire year. After 365 days shooting, sharing, and learning, he found himself more and more interested in the details. He bought a macro lens and has never looked back. As Chris ventured deeper into the world of macro, he soon shifted his efforts toward featuring the beauty, design, and intricacy of arthropods which often go unnoticed.


Chris Baudec

Great presentation and great motivation in the post processing. I do wish that the would have been made available. After all, this is a Olympus sponsored event, and Oly settings are always welcomed.... and a tad difficult on the learning curve.


Good class! Very interesting to see Chris in the field looking for subjects.

Susan Bowman

This was a very informative class but Chris showed his settings/button settings and mentioned they would be available at the end of the class so I did not jot them down. Now the class is over but there is no option to download his settings. Presumably, if I purchase the class I'd be able to download them but I just watched it live. Why should I pay to watch it again. I just want the settings! please make the settings available free.