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Studio Macro – tips, tricks, and collapsed eyeballs

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A bunch of technical macro photography information discussed in the context of my typical studio workflow. I also address a number of really excellent questions from earlier in the week.
Sorry for the delayed release of this video – I have found the problem and come up with a suitable workaround, at least until a a permanent fix can be arranged.

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This Post Has 42 Comments

  1. Owen Dell

    Have you used any of the depth of field apps that claim to make the calculations easy? Are they useful for this? Might be a good subject to cover, especially for those of us who are math challenged and generally not too bright.

  2. Adam Krauss

    Hi Allan. Thank you so much for all of your amazing videos. Your encyclopedic knowledge and your attention to detail is virtually unmatched. And coupled with your injection of humor here and there strikes a wonderful balance. I have a question for you, which could probably be posed in several of your other videos. I have a great dragonfly specimen that unfortunately met its demise in my swimming pool and is now in one of my freezers for sometime. My question is when I take it out of the freezer to photograph, is there anything special I need to do in preparation as it begins to thaw and could I just put it back in the freezer afterwards for further photography? I know my wife and children are anxious to see it and other insects removed from the freezer. 😂 Thanks again.

  3. Jacob Zaguri

    Hi Allan, tha ks for the video.. I will be up for zoom meetup to learn, please share how you do that

  4. Arvind Vallabh

    Hello Allan, Love your Youtube videos and have been following you for a while. Your formula stumped me when I tried to calculate my step distance. Please would you you be able to help me calculate my info if I provided all the details? Thanks very much

  5. Richard Allen

    Hello Allan, Just came across your videos for which I am extremely grateful.
    I've got a Nikon D4s and the Micro Nikkor 200mm F4 lens and now want to get even more in-depth with macro so have ordered the Nikon PB-6 bellows; what lens would you recommend for me to get as a first lens for the bellows?
    How do you preserve insects?
    I'm slowly watching as many of your videos as possible and will hopefully be able to put your information to good use.
    Thank you so much for your work, it's greatly appreciated.
    I'm in the UK by the way, in Wiltshire, not far from the neolithic stone circles at Avebury.

  6. spex357

    That's a good bit of kit, truly made for the job.

  7. John Sharples

    Just a guess but the length of you exploding aphid is probably very close to the wavelength of the cleaner frequency. This would cause a resonance in the critter and no more critter. Obviously I can't be more specific without more detail but that is the most likely explanation. A similar thing can happen with solid objects such as small pieces of glass jewellery.

  8. Always great tips and tricks. You give so much in your videos! I have a question, how to macro photographers make money? People photographers have many options, so too do landscape photographers, but how do macro photographers make a living from this type? Does anyone ever call and book a photoshoot for their pet beetle 🙂 ?? I'm a new photographer and macro is really what interests me.

  9. Petr Orsy

    Great videos Allan! Thanks a lot for doing them!

  10. Jean Pierre Brito

    Your work is amazing, I like the way you explain things, I see that you have a passion for macro.

    If you want you can see my channel, I also do macro, but I built my stacking raill.

  11. Sal Ahmed

    I hope to see a tutorial about a super macro lens called Canon MPE-65.

  12. Dirk

    This are 250 shot's for 1 cm. Interesting, because with my DIY rail I punsch how many shot's per cm I won't and normally I was using 220.
    Nice video and very informative. thanks a lot.

  13. A very informative video with tons of great tips and tricks. Thank you. 🙂 Btw, the 160 mm distance from sensor to shoulder(?), that's with a finite objective, right?

  14. Alan Recktenwald

    Thanks for the shout-out Allan. I also mount the Xacto on my Benro gear head and/or a ball head. A pin vise works great as well.

  15. mrqasq

    I was going to buy the manfrotto 454 rail, which you have I belive. Some of the reviews on youtube suggest that its has a flimsy base, could you make a review of it or talk longer about in your next video? I was looking for something else similarly prices, and came by a linear stage device. Now I even found some video from a guy (Macro Cosmos) who (looking at his work) knows what he's doing, that these devices are far superior to all of those dedicated macro rails.
    But what I now realised looking on manufactureres of those stages – the travel distance is extremaly low. We're talking 10-20-30mm, in 1um steps. Good news is they are widely used in industry so many of them can be bought salvaged from diffrent places, any build to last they are usually in very good working condition. Now I've found one which is even cheapier than manfrotto, but it is 25mm travel, when 454 has 120mm or more. I know that for me it won't probably make sense since I'm using Lumix G9 + Olympus 60mm macro with some extension tubes, so it's like 1:1 or maybe 1.3:1. How much travel do I need? I belive those stages are better for someone who needs the precision for 5:1 or more yes? I see you are using cheaper one, which in my country is almost 4 times cheaper than manfrotto 454. What would you suggest?

    Pardon all misteakes, ENG is not my first language.

  16. Joe Deso

    If I'm hearing you right you're actually moving the camera a tiny bit if you move the camera doesn't that change the size of the image even though it's very small amount how can you focus stack if the images are all slightly bigger. Shouldn't your focus tag by adjusting the focus not moving the camera. Just as a sidenote I am enjoying your videos.

  17. Mario Mifsud

    Hi Allan,

    Thanks for your offer for teaching free to those who can't pay,very kind of you. I wish that I live near to you so I can be near you to help you watch you working with such dedication.I admit when you start explaining formulas I get scared because I'm bit slow learner.

    Thanks for sharing you knowledge to those who wish to learn in all ages. 65 years 28th April.

    Mario Mifsud

  18. L A

    Hey Allan, great video. I have a question regarding the diffusion tube you are using. I often see narrow tubes used like yours and wonder why something with a wider diameter wouldn’t be better – for example I use a 12” lamp shade. Or why not umbrellas? Is it based on flash power? Or about diffusion? Is the light more diffused if the flash gun is closer to the subject? Wondering your thoughts. Cheers

  19. Christopher Moore

    I watched this video with great interest. I missed something though. When you are programming the Stack Shot controller does it allow for the mirror up stage and then the actual exposure?

  20. Gerardo Elizondo

    Allan, Nice video. Can you explain more about DoF formula, how did you get 40um ?

  21. Miser Maker

    Excellent video as always. I always pick up a few pointers from each one… Also, you referenced my question about the ultrasonic cleaner… For clarification, my real name is Hill Robertson. My channel name is "Miser Maker" because I make things (Maker) and I'm always trying to do things on the "cheap" (Miser). I'm thinking about adding videos about macro photography now that I'm really getting into it. I did get a cheap cleaner that runs at 42kHz. I used it the first time on a small grasshopper and it worked fine at 90 seconds. I'll have to test it on some less robust insects to really put it to the test. But so far, so good… Here are a couple of questions… I'm considering photographing spiders. Likely starting with live jumping spiders since that seems to be a popular way to start. But, I've got tons of spiders all around my house and wouldn't mind collecting some and staging them for a photoshoot. Since they are arachnids and a little different that most insects, what if anything do you do differently to collect and photograph spiders? Thanks so much!

  22. Tony Truckle

    It would be helpful if you gave links to all the clamps and holders you use

  23. Terry Waggoner

    Well done……..tho I'm beginning to wonder if you have spies in my studio?………..Note- still ,looking for an image worthy of your book……….

  24. Andrew Oxley

    Hi Alan, as a macro beginner I have been trialling Helicon Focus. My question is that it comes with Helicon Remote which is software to focus bracket automatically ( I guess you know that!). It seems to work pretty well, why would I need a rail if using this method?

  25. Gecse Catalin

    Hi Allen. I come across your channel about one week ago. Thank you for sharing tour vast knowledge with us. The quality of your videos, your calm voice and your sense of humour got yourself a new subscriber. PS. Gosh, this channel is so underrated. Need a lot more subscribers. Cheers

  26. Sekor58

    Which microscopic lens do you use most often?

  27. JDC Overland

    Allen: Re, the book. Any idea on the final cost yet? Have not shot since you helped me as I have 4 legged nocturnal " friends" to deal with. You might want to look into "Go ToMeeting"-correct spelling no space between the o and M– as a webinar. Enphase & Iron Ridge are 2 of the companies I study under that use this platform and they have attendees world wide.

  28. SomeGuyInSandy

    160mm from the camera sensor to the rear of the objective.

    Is that the back end of the Microscope objective? I'm sure that the answer is self evident, but I thought I'd ask anyway 🙂

  29. Marcelo MyRideNY

    Really need a video of you and your butterfly net at the beach, Allen…

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