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Macro Photography of Insect Wings

Updated on February 8, 2014
LuisEGonzalez profile image

I enjoy photography and have been doing so professionally and independently for over 30 years. Hope you enjoy my hubs!


There are many life forms that use wings to move from place to place, to attract mates, to defend themselves, for camouflage and for other purposes. Photographing these is not difficult and can be accomplished with little effort and some modest equipment

Among these you need a tripod, a ring light, a macro lens or macro filter, a dark or black surface that will serve as the backdrop and an electronic shutter release. Why use a macro lens? Because if using a regular lens or even a zoom your photographs will be more about the owner of the wings than about the wings themselves.

Start with insect wings and get really close to about life size magnification. This technique allows you to see details and textures that would otherwise be almost impossible in the wild so this project should be done in a controlled environment like a studio.

The easiest thing to do is to go to a scientific supply store and get some samples of various insect wings. These specimens can come mounted on a microscopic slide or loose. For the project use loose samples.

Although you can use wild caught subjects, this would mean killing them. We often don't think twice about killing an insect, but I prefer not to if at all possible. Besides, buying some samples from a scientific supplier means that I can reuse them at a later time.

Once you have sufficient stock, make a holding sport from a piece of wire and attach a small alligator clip to the wing's base. Soldering or using Crazy Glue will do the trick.The other end of the wire support can be held in place by sticking it into a mound made from modeling clay. Make sure to bend the wire so that it looks like an L.

Place your subject against the black backdrop so that all of its details, shape and texture contrast with the dark. Using you lens mounted ring flash get as close as your lens allows you to an take the shot.

For a presentation format, try to enlarge your images to about 11X14, 8x10 can work but this size is not the best to make an effective presentation. You can either mount several different images on a single picture frame, several images of the same subject, or different sizes. The object is to create an effective presentation platform that will catch your viewers's attention.

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license. | Source
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0 | Source

© 2013 Luis E Gonzalez


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    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida

      livingsta: Thank you

    • livingsta profile image

      livingsta 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Wow, this is really pretty. These can also be used as textures ! Thank you for sharing.

      Voted up and sharing!

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida

      teaches12345: Thank you

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      When I saw wings I was expecting airplanes and so glad that I found this beautiful display of butterfly wings. Good information and very nicely done.