Cute And Cuddly Spiders Macro Photos by Thomas Shahan.
When you hear the word “cute,” “spider” is probably not the first word that pops into your head. But photographer Thomas Shahan is out to change all that with his incredible macro photographs of doe-eyed jumping spiders.
How do you get bugs to sit still for your photographs?
I don’t “get” the bugs to do anything. The vast majority of arthropods I try to photograph vanish before I can even get a single shot! The two keys to successful macro photography are in understanding the behavior of different arthropods and taking an incredibly large amount of shots (with a considerable emphasis on the latter).
You’re just too good (and handsome)! There must be some sort of trickery going on… did you freeze or gas these bugs?
No! I obviously love working with arthropods quite a bit and would never intentionally harm a subject just to get a good photo. Very early on in my experiments with macro photography I did pop a few bugs in the fridge in an attempt to get them to slow down, but after I had one or two die on me, the guilt got to me and I haven’t “chilled” any subjects since. I can assure you, all the subjects in my photos are quite alive and in good health unless I state otherwise!
Isn’t it impossible to successfully focus-stack images of a live animal?! These bugs are dead, aren’t they? You’re a monster!
Once again, no! I do not immobilize or physically restrict the movement of my subjects in any way. If it’s an option I always try to photograph subjects in their natural environment (or at least outside), but occasionally I will bring an arthropod indoors to photograph (usually Salticids as they can disappear if not watched).
As for the focus-stacking, sometimes I just get lucky and the bug/spider will sit still enough for me to fire off a couple shots from the same angle. I do all my focus stacking manually in Photoshop with great care to not alter or misrepresent the form of the subject. I have started warming up to Zerene Stacker in certain cases recently.
Cute And Cuddly Spiders Macro Photos by Thomas Shahan: