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Mantis Metamorphosis

Yesterday, on my facebook page, I posted an image of a little praying mantis that I found in my backyard and I thought you might like to see how I created it.













I shot the image on a wooden table using only natural light.  Because he was fairly small (about 1.5 inches) I used a Nikon 105mm 2.8 VR lens to get in close and create very shallow depth of field so you wouldn’t be able to see any background detail.  Once I had the base image the real fun could be begin: post-processing!

I love taking photographs and turning them into something more than what they are.  I use Photoshop CS5 and Color Efex Pro 3.0 and Sharpener Pro 3.0 by Nik Software on every image.  The original image was ok but it was very bland and I wanted to create an image with more drama to it.

Using Color Efex Pro I started out with the Bleach Bypass filter to add more contrast and bring out more detail.  I then used the Glamour Glow filter to soften the edges and add a warm glow overall.  I used the Darken/Lighten Center filter to add more light to his head and darken the edges slightly.  I sharpened everything using Sharpener Pro but that added more grain to my background than I was happy with so I used Photoshop’s Gaussian Blur filter to correct it.  Finally, I burned in the shadows and dodged the highlights slightly to add more contrast and drama and added a border with the Vignette filter.

I put together a little slideshow to show you the transformation.  Each step is subtle but makes a huge difference in the final image.


I was happy to see that he was still on the table when my kids got home from school.  My daughter was more than happy to help demonstrate just how small he is.












Bye Bye little Mantis, hope to see you again soon!!


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  1. Those buggers seem to intelligent to be bugs…creepy…yet lovely and such a wonder to behold. Thank you for sharing how you processed the image…it is truly spectacular!

    • Thanks Lisa, I’m glad you liked it! :D