From The Side

by Johan J Ingles-Le Nobel
Last updated August 31, 2017

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Side shots are about shape, for the body of the smallest creatures

Shooting a subject from the side is a great way to bring out a sharp transition between foreground and background, and does wonders for the shot with a nice bokeh.

Not Just Butterflies

Butterflies is a subject that makes for great images when they're shot from the side, because the wing shape shows up so nicely. But it's not just butterflies that a sharp side shot works well for:

Soldier Beetle from the side

All sort of stuff works well when it's shot from the side, not just butterflies. Including this pair of soldier beetles.

Shield Bug

Shield bugs look great from the side too!

Separating the Edge

Something worth thinking about when you do a side profile shot is separating the edge from the background, especially if you have something like a black subject on a black background. Using rim lighting is the way to go with this, either natural or in the studio.

Background Blur

There are two ways to get the nice blur/bokeh in the background: f/stop and focal length. It is well known that using a higher f/stop will increase your depth of field, and consequently, give you less of a nice blur in the background. But another way is to use a longer mm lens (especially important in field macro). With a longer mm lens you'll take in less of the background than you would with a shorter mm lens, and this should give you a nice smooth bokeh. So stand further back and use a longer lens!

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