's photos all are striking, have remarkable colours, amazing light and beautiful bokeh. The subjects, sometimes insects, more often flowers, are always perfectly well framed and result in dazzling composition. Fabien didn't hesitate to share with us some of his secrets to create this wonderful world.
You have chosen the macro or the proxy-photography. Can you tell us what attracts you to this type of photo?
The way I went into macro photography has been clearly influenced by a close relationship with nature and my strong wish to spend a lot of time outside. I grow up on the countryside and have been in love with nature since ever. I still enjoy spending some time in the meadows.
So when I started with photography in 2008, I‘ve been quickly attracted by close-up photography . I bought a macro lens in 2009 and started to experiment and learned a lot by myself.
There is an invisible world around us, for people who open their eyes .This invisible world appears as a world of wonders through a macro lens. My interest in close-up photography has grown over the time, walking in the footsteps of a brilliant photographer I met on a photographic website: El Justino. His work was a true artistic achievement to me. At that time my goal was to do the same kind of pictures he was doing. In 12 years of close up photography, I still enjoy spending time behind the viewfinder looking for new compositions with a strong mood.
How do you choose your subjects, and how do you compose them?
What are your favourite moments to make your photos?
It depends on the motif and it’s not exactly the same process according to the subject. But for all of them, the main criteria in the composition is the light.
I’m in love with insects and particularly butterflies and mantis. In my early photographic years, I only focused on these 2 topics. There are so aesthetical and true pieces of art in nature.
So I go to the meadows and spend hours looking for some subjects. You need a lot of luck but first, you have to know a lot about these insects: their habits, the biotope where you may find them, the season, etc.
Once I see an interesting subject, I just turn around taking care of the light and also of the subject's position. Sometimes it’s fine and you get a successful result, but sometimes you have to quid if the necessary conditions are missing.
Right now, my favourite subjects are flowers. I love flowers, especially anemones, cosmos, and poppies. For these motifs, the approach is different as I’ve all these flowers in my garden. So, at the time of the blossom, I just make a step outside and set my gear. In terms of composition, and from an artistical point of view, I try to frame the subject in its surrounding environment. When composing, my goal is to get the best light, the best bokeh, and the best management of the negative space.
From a technical point of view, the focus and sharpness of the subject are essential. I try to give my images a particular atmosphere, a strong mood, an intense feeling, like in a dream. The main part of the work is done in camera terms of framing. I strive to have everything right before pushing the shutter button, to avoid as much as possible cropping the final picture or having to remove some disturbing elements.
I never modify the structure of the bokeh by adding artificial blur or whatever. That's why I compose in the viewfinder playing with the foreground and the background to create a natural bokeh. Every picture is made from a single shot (no stacking, no composite). I always shoot in raw format and all settings are manual to get the maximum opportunities for high-quality results in post-production.
What are your favourite moments to make your photos?
I'm really keen on natural light, that’s why I prefer the early morning on a sunny day or at sunset. Besides, insects are easier to photograph in the early morning or in the late evening, having a lower activity. During the day, sunlight is generally too strong and harsh. But if you use some appropriate accessories, such as reflectors, additional lights or flash units, you can make some nice pictures.
Your photos have a very special light and colours. How do you get them?Do you use lights? What settings, etc. to achieve this result.
For a while, I like to use artificial lighting as complementary accessories or main lighting. To do so, I use either reflector but also remote-triggered flash units. Flash Units are triggered remotely by radio controllers. All settings are done manually. Thanks to these flashes, I’m able to control and model the light the way I want to create specific “dark” mood pictures but keeping the harmony in colours.
Regarding colours specifically, I use in post-production Lightroom colour sliders and some colour filters such as Nik Software, in order to mute colours and bring a particular atmosphere, as you would do to create a B&W picture for example. This is my personal signature somehow for more than 10 years.
You’re very creative about titles. What inspires you to do so?
Ah ah. That always is a brain teaser ;-). Sometimes it takes more time to choose a title than post-producing the picture. At the very beginning, music or songs were my favourite sources. For now, Actuality, Science, Poetry, Spirituality inspire me more but generally, these choices are widely influenced by my state of mind.
You are faithful to your equipment (canon 7D). What drives you to keep it?
That’s right, I’m not the kind of person looking for all the latest trends and gear. Frugality would characterize me 10 years ago when I bought a Canon 7D and a Sigma 180mm macro lens and I still use them on a daily basis. Quality is already exceptional and enough to print 150cmx100cm pictures, so no need for me to have something “better”.With my earnings on 1x, I just afforded 2 years ago the purchase of a 100-400 telelens to go into wildlife photography.
To end this most interesting interview, can you tell us what place photography occupies in your life, Fabien?
At the very beginning and during 5 or 6 years, my passion for photography was a real obsession. I spent all my time on this activity, wishing secretly to make this passion a full-time job. Besides, to be well-known and to become “popular”, most of the time requires to be full time on social media. In the beginning, it was fun spending 2 or 3 hours (or more) per day to critic, comment, share pictures from others. On social media, that’s the way it works. You have to be there or you disappear. But it was too time consuming, neglecting all the other things in my life. Since then I realized this non-sense, and photography is for now just a hobby on which I spend less and less time these days. All this free time is now dedicated to my spiritual evolution and study of some specific disciplines such as Yoga and martial arts.
Thank you very much, Fabien, for sharing so many details about the man behind his pictures.
I like your work a lot and it is very inspiring. Thank you for sharing!
Very interesting article about macro photography, excellent and very inspiring. Thank you Fabien for sharing your experiences and tools and also your way of thinking about photography and life.
Thanks a lot Francisco
Sebastien Blomme PRO
Super intéressant Fabien ! Tu arrives parfaitement à partager ta passion. Ça a été un plaisir de partager une session photo avec toi. À une prochaine !
Hey. Merci Seb. Un plaisir partagé à renouveller :)
Vito Guarino PRO
Very beautiful image. Thank you so much Fabien, Michel and Yvette for this excellent article.
Thank you very much Vito
My heartful thanks to Yvette & Michel for this article. Thanks a lot dear 1x team
Yvette Depaepe CREW
Our pleasure, Fabien ;-)
I love Fabien Bravin: Harikalarla dolu bir dünya Bu makaleyi paylaşın Editör Michel Romaggi 11 Nisan 2021'de Yayınlandı 'Perdenin arkasındaki bu ışık' Fabien Fabien Bravin: Harikalarla dolu bir dünya Bu makaleyi paylaşın Editör Michel Romaggi 11 Nisan 2021'de Yayınlandı 'Perdenin arkasındaki bu ışık' I watch Fabien's photos very fondly. Thank you for this beautiful reportage and stunning photos.
Fabien'in fotoğraflarını çok severek izliyorum. Bu güzel reportage ve fotoğraflar için teşekkür ederim ...
Thank you very much Emine
excelente trabajo. Un artista a seguir de cerca
Muchas gracias Ruben
Adam Neuba PRO
I am fascinated. You now my opinion Fabien ;-) Thank you very much Yvette.
Thanks a lot Adam
Roberto Marini PRO
an author of unique style, I admire his shots and with this article I was pleased to know him a little more. congratulations.
Thank you very much Roberto for your kind words and support
Lydia Jacobs CREW
Great article, wonderful images. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you very much Lydia