For photographer David Josephall it takes to take beautiful macro shots of insects and plants is his smartphone and a mobile macro lens.
Macro photography opens up a new invisible world
Joseph, based in Nigeria, first started with inanimate object photography and following online tutorials. Over time, he moved on to flowers, which quickly became his favorite subject to capture. He noted how they are rarely alone in the larger ecosystem and attract insects, giving them food or shelter.
“I would see butterflies, dragonflies, grasshoppers, and because I had never seen these things before, it was so fun and liberating to experience moments that made me feel like an innocent child again,” Joseph says. PetaPixel.
“These subjects seemed bigger than life and in a form I’d never seen before. I think I fell in love with something I didn’t even know was a kind of photography at the time.”
Seeing his beautiful subjects in magnified form and immersing themselves in their world are some of the things Joseph loves about macro photography. By learning about this unique part of the natural world, Joseph was able to pass that knowledge on to others, teaching them “the importance of things they would normally ignore or destroy.”
Phone powerful enough to capture great details
Joseph’s recording setup is simple. He uses the Infinix Zero X Pro smartphone that comes with a 120-degree ultra-wide macro lens camera, a 108-megapixel main camera and a 60x hybrid zoom periscope camera. He also adds an external Apexel 12x Phone Macro Lensbut says he doesn’t use it for every shot.
While Joseph says it’s not hard to find macro subjects, some places are more likely to attract insects, such as gardens, fields, or densely vegetated areas. The main driver for success is patience and “keep still, look down, observe”.
“A good knowledge of the basics of photography can help any beginner in macro photography, so every novice should try to know those,” Joseph says. “It’s also important to explore and practice. Recognize the fact that as a photographer you are primary and your choices will greatly influence your photos.”
He advises photographers to learn the strengths and limitations of their equipment and get the most out of the equipment by going beyond its limits. For mobile macro photographers, he recommends composing a shot well before hitting the shutter button, as cropping later often reduces the impact and quality of the photo.
It’s also essential to have respect for the subjects, he says. The principle is the same as with portrait photography.
“We don’t see great portrait photographers treating their models unkindly,” explains Joseph. “They make sure they feel safe and comfortable. For me it is very important to treat every macro model I work with in a favorable way, so that they are safe and comfortable.”
“I treat them as I would a human model,” he continues. “Often even better than I would treat a human model and this is because these beautiful models of mine are very delicate.”
Teach one macro shot at a time
Joseph hopes to continue to educate his audience about the natural world as his primary goal. He explains that macro photography is relatively new in Nigeria, and he never saw anyone do it when he started doing it. This is also one of the reasons Joseph is eager to teach others macro photography.
“It wasn’t a smooth ride, but the way people see it here now is better, and this has made things easier for me,” he explains. “I really hope to provide broader and effective public education about the importance and need for showing a little love for nature.”
Joseph says he’s grateful to live in a time when phone cameras are good enough to capture the tiny creatures of nature that support the world’s ecosystem.
“If it doesn’t sound so strange, I’ve felt deeper emotions with these little angels,” he says. “It has been a form of therapy for me for a long time. I love the peace, the positive difference, the freedom and the happiness that these beautiful animals and their world have to offer.”
More work by Joseph can be found at his Instagram†
Image Credits: Photos by David Joseph.