Spiderwebs are beautiful, interesting and absolutely unique. Each one is a study in natural beauty and makes an excellent topic for close up photography. Unfortunately, their light and elastic nature, and the spider’s movement across the web can also make them challenging to photograph well. Photographing a spiderweb well is a combination of timing, position and patience.
Select your day carefully
Some days are better for picturing spiderwebs than others. Any wind will blur the image, and complicate your image’s focus. Select a day that is very still to take your picture. The early morning hours are typically the stillest. Also, taking a photo just after a rain or when there is dew on the web will make each strand thicker, leaving the web more visible, and creating interesting reflective prisms inside the web.
Consider what is in the background of the shot
Consider what is behind the spiderweb, and select your photographic angle based on that, and not on the web itself. Spider web photographs which are taken with a dark background turn out best, because the spider web stands out in contrast. Also look for a background that is plain, anything distinct will detract from the spiderweb, pulling the viewer’s attention away from the web and toward the background.
Select a focal point
Examine the spider web and select an area that you want to serve as the focal point of the image. Perhaps your focal point is the spider itself on the web, or perhaps it is an area of the web with a particularly interesting pattern. Whatever the case, arrange the photo to frame, or focus on, this area.
Spider web by Morninghasbroken
Set your camera
Set your camera to a macro setting, or switch to a macro lens. These are best suited to capturing a spiderweb’s details. Switch the camera to manual focusing and adjust the image depth and focus points by hand. This is essential because the string in the web is so fine, and being even a little out of focus will detract from the picture’s attention to detail. Set the camera on a tripod for greater stability and consistency.
Capture the image
Capture the image, respecting the conventions of good picture taking. Take the picture straight on, and fill the frame with the web. Make sure that the focal point you have selected is slightly off center, positioning the main object according to the law of thirds. Consider color, composition and balance.
Edit and adjust
View the picture snapped with a critical eye, decide what is missing and adjust. Repeat the process, taking pictures and making minor adjustments in placement, focus and framing until the perfect shot is captured.
If your photo is missing one or more of the elements that you most want to capture, and you have a good still day, consider making the magic moment happen. Spray the web with a fine mist of water from a squirt bottle to imitate dew. Feed the spider with store bought crickets to capture the feeding ritual. Shake the web to force the spider to change positions, to get it where you really want it.