Macro-photography has become increasingly popular in recent years. The ability to go beyond the eye’s natural viewpoint leads to photos that display minute proportions on an epic scale. We were drawn to Fotolia Contributor Tomas Rak’s image of a wasp which perfectly highlights the extreme detail this type of photography can capture. We got a chance to speak to him to find out the processes which are undertaken to achieve such a crisp, clean and intricate:

“I got this insect from friend of mine, he is an entomologist. He wanted me to do some photos of an insect he had sent me, and this little wasp was one of them. It was probably 3-4mm in body size. I have been doing macro photography for many years and I also do microscope photography, not with a microscope but with a digital camera with microscopic objectives in front of it. I have used microscope objective in this case as the wasp was very small.

I didn’t even see that wasp is metallic until I took the first photo. That’s what I really love about this microphotography. You don’t sometimes know what you are going to discover when you photograph and when you take the first picture you can find really amazing colors which you can’t see with naked eye.

I have used a stacking technique here, that means this particular photo is stacked from maybe 120 images into one sharp photo. Microscope objective has very small depth of field and that’s why just one photo is useless. It is sharp of course, but sharpness is so narrow that I need to take at least between 60 to 200 images of the same insect with sharpness on different places to make one sharp picture. For this occasion I am using macro rail with a screw. I am moving the screw for around 1/100 millimetre and I take a picture on each movement. Then I always move the insect against the camera (1/100 millimetre movement) and take another picture. When I do all photos required for one sharp shot I put all photos into special stacking software in my computer and that software will combine only sharp parts from each photo. At the end it will make one sharp photo which I have to post-process in Photoshop to make it looks nice and contrasty (clean up the dirt and mess).

The photo like this usually takes at least 5 or 7 hours to make. It is very time-consuming but the results are great.”

A big thank you to Tomas for taking the time to speak with us. For more of his work you can discover it on his Fotolia portfolio as well as his Facebook page.


Photographer Tomas