Photomacrography (macro photography)

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Photomacrography (macro photography)

0 Sales On Etsy since 2018


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Photomacrography (macro photography) by Emile Osborn.

I was propelled into photomacrography by a fascination with the patterns of the smaller world. The image capturing process, while somewhat tedious, can also take on an almost exploratory nature, transporting one to a place where seas of scales cover a butterfly’s wing and canyon walls are carved into minerals. I would hope that the photographs produced help to highlight the beauty of the natural designs that surround us and encourage further interest in their underlying structures, functions, and development.

Image description: The images above show the main steps in the production process. These are: 1) setting up the subject and lighting sources, changing the light quality (via modifiers and flags), and visually composing the image frame; 2) capturing a stack of images;* 3) RAW adjustments to all images in the sequence; 4) combining the stack of images into one image; 5) final image edits; and 6) printing. Typically, it takes a week or two to take an image from setup through final processing, though it really just depends on what is being photographed. For example, finding and setting up the lighting for the purple image above took longer than usual as there is a limited range of viewing angles where the wing reflects iridescent colors. For the most part, the wing is transparent (i.e., it is a “glasswing” butterfly). Two stacks (each with 48 photographs) were combined to create the final image; one stack was exposed to capture the wing detail and the other to retain the highlight detail (using a lower light level). The construction sequence for all images can be found at:

* A common issue in macro work is a limited depth of field, where a single photograph only shows a plane or “slice” of a subject in focus. Focus stacking is a technique used to counter this. A photograph is taken for each in-focus "slice" from the front of the subject to the rear. This can be accomplished by attaching the camera to an automated focusing rail (shown under the camera in the photo above). The photographs are later combined into one image that shows the entire subject in focus.

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Shop members

  • Emile Osborn


Production partners

  • Commercial photo lab

    CA, United States

    The photo lab prints the photographs.

  • Commercial photo lab

    CA, United States

    The photo lab prints the greeting cards.

  • Mat board supplier

    NM, United States

    The business supplies custom-cut mat board and other matting-related materials.

  • Frame supplier

    OR, United States

    The business supplies custom-cut mouldings, glazings, and other framing-related materials.

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Last updated on May 16, 2019
Frequently asked questions
How long will it take for my order to be ready for shipping?

Items will ship within 1-3 business days after the payment is processed and I have received the funds. My understanding is that it is possible (though generally unlikely) for there to be delays caused by Etsy's payment processing system. Please check at the time of order that your order contents are correct. If you accidentally purchased the wrong items, cancel the order within 24 hours and reorder anytime.

How long will shipping take?

Greeting cards will be mailed via USPS First-Class Package Service and arrive in an estimated 3-5 business days. You can upgrade to Priority Mail (est. 1-3 business days) for a small charge. Be aware that USPS does not guarantee their delivery times. Delays can happen due to weather, USPS processing facility problems, or other reasons that are outside of my control. If you are purchasing an item for the holidays or a specific date, please allow extra time for it to arrive. The package will only be sent to the address submitted with your order, so please check to make sure this is current and correct (or you have activated address forwarding). If you accidentally provide the wrong address, cancel the order within 24 hours and reorder anytime

Can I return my item?

I hope that you will be happy with your items, but if not you are welcome to return them. Please contact me within seven days of delivery to initiate the return process and ship the items back within 14 days of delivery. Returns are not accepted after this window. Understand you will be responsible for the full return shipping costs. Items must be returned in like-new condition and packaged in the same manner as when you received them. Any damage to the items, whether it occurs while it is in your possession or in transit back to me, is your responsibility. You will receive a refund (minus any loss in value) once I have received and checked the items.

What happens if my item is lost?

Please contact me if there is an issue. Packages will only be sent to the address provided to Etsy. Please be aware that there will be a waiting period before a missing mail search request can be submitted. If your item is confirmed lost by the carrier, I will refund the purchase price or send you a replacement at no cost to you. In the event that a package is returned to me due to an undeliverable address, refusal of the recipient, failed delivery attempts, or other reasons, a 30% fee will be deducted from the refund amount after I receive the item. If the item is returned to me (under these circumstances) and you would like to have it delivered again, you must pay the 30% fee and correct the initial error.

What happens if my item is damaged?

Please contact me if there is an issue. If your item arrives damaged, send me photographs of the damages to the item and (if any) to the shipping materials within five business days after delivery. Keep the original box(es) and other packing materials as USPS may require that they be submitted to your local post office for inspection. Once these steps have been completed, I will refund the purchase price or send you a replacement at no cost to you.

Will my prints look like the images on my screen?

The appearance (e.g., color and brightness/contrast) of the greeting cards on your screen may be somewhat different than in person. This can be caused by a number of factors, such as whether a monitor is calibrated or uncalibrated, variations between monitor manufacturers/models, the difference between monitor and print color ranges (gamuts), the color difference between daylight and artificial light, and the impact of bulbs with different color temperatures. If you receive your cards and they do not look the way you expected, you are welcome to return them.

Where do you get the insects you photograph?

The insects photographed were NOT listed in either the IUCN Red List (under near-threatened/threatened categories) or CITES Appendices (which specify protected species) when acquired. All specimens were non-living when obtained and purchased from US-based vendors. Priority is given to those sellers who import directly from farms or breeders. Effectively implemented butterfly farms, for example, encourage the preservation of native habitats needed to raise the butterflies (as opposed to cattle grazing, logging, or other industries that require clear-cutting of the forest). Farming operations can also diversify the economic opportunities in local communities and increase environmental awareness.* More information is available at