Macro Maven: An Interview with Ithalu Dominguez

Whenever we scroll up on an Instagram from @itha_mar, we *marvel* at her amazing knack for snapping super close-up macros, of Mother Nature’s handy work.

She’s no professional with a fancy bunch of gear, and specially trained bugs that stay extra still.

Ithalu shoots mostly with her phone. A phone! Just like that one you’ve got right there.

So, we caught up with her to find out all her secrets (in hopes of mastering bug-ography ourselves).

Who is Ithalu Dominguez?

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Always a big fan of nature, Itha grew up in the beautiful pine forests of Oaxaca, Mexico.

These days she snaps photos, draws and is generally great in Montebello, CA, where we found her and asked every question we could think of, to find out just how she she snaps such great pics.

Origin Story

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Q: Tell us a bit about your history with photography. When did you start taking photos?

A: Photography is something that I’ve always been interested in, but I never pursued it until I got my first iPod 5 three years ago.

Why All the Tiny Stuff

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Q: What led you to focus shooting macro photos for Instagram?

A: I love to capture all the little things that catch my eye, and that’s just what a macro lens lets you do.

I decided to share my photos with everyone on Instagram to help them appreciate the details that we sometimes don’t remember to pay attention to.

All the Gear

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Q: What gear do you use to shoot your great macros?

A: For Instagram I mostly use my iPhone 6s camera or iPod 6 camera. When I’m not taking macros, I sometimes use my Canon DSLR too.

With my phone I’ve been using the Photojojo Iris Lenses, which I love because I can take pictures at different distances from my tiny subjects, without losing the focus and sharpness of the picture. Which is awesome.

I don’t use any other gear when I take macros. When I take long exposures, I do use a tripod.

When and Where

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Q: Where do you find all those lovely bugs to photograph?

A: Anywhere there are flowers or trees I’m sure I’ll find bugs.

If I see a flower in a pot I look closely because I know I’ll find bugs there. Mostly I find them in parks or when I take walks.

I like to go in the morning and afternoon. In the mornings bugs are move slowly because it is cold, so I can take clear and sharp pictures without scaring them. And when the sun is lower in the sky, the light is better for macros.

Staying Sharp

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Q: How do you achieve such precise focus, right on your subject?

A: Well, that depends on the distance between the nearest and farthest object in your shot, and which macro lens you’re using.

The Photojojo Iris lens has a very good depth of field. It’s a bit deeper than other macro lenses for phones and lets me focus at different distances. I can usually focus on the entire subject depending on its size.

With other macro lens I can only focus on part of my subject.

Befriending Bugs

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Q: How do you get so close to the little critters? Any tricks for making them look extra cute?

A: I get close little by little so I don’t disturb them; very slowly until I’m close enough to get the shot. I’ve noticed that when some bugs fly away, they’ll return to the same place.

I try to find their best angle. I take lots of pictures, then I choose the best one to post on Instagram.

Special Secrets

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Q: Do you have any more tips for aspiring macro photographers?

A: I think the key is practice and patience.

If you practice, you can capture a sharp macro. Be patient and wait for the right moment to take the shot.

Never go out without your macro lens, you’ll find bugs, flowers, mushrooms, water drops, dandelion seeds, etc., anywhere you walk, and you don’t want to miss a picture opportunity.

Not Just Bugs

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Q: After bugs, what other subjects do you like?

A: I like to take macros of flowers, water drops, moss and dandelions seeds. I think they’re magical and I like to immerse myself in their little tiny world to see all their details.

Follow Ithalu

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Q: Where can people follow your photography, to make sure they never miss a stunning snap?

A: We can be friends on IG: @itha_mar
Steller: @itha
and Facebook: My macro page

Taking it Further

  • Take a crack at it! If you have an iPhone 6, grab Iris Lenses. Save $20 with the coupon IRIS20.
  • If you shoot with any other phone, check out our Magnetic Macro Lens.
  • If you like your cute animals a bit bigger. Read our Interview with full-sized animal photog, Sharon Montrose.

All photos in this post by Ithalu Dominguez. Thanks, Itha!