MEET OLYMPUS PHOTOGRAPHER CHRIS MCGINNIS
WHO ARE YOU?
My name is Chris McGinnis and I am a macro photographer. I reside in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania with my wife, our twin daughters, and our Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy. In 2016, I fell in love with macro photography. Ever since, I’ve been making close-up images of common (and not-so-common) critters to showcase how interesting and beautiful the little things can be.
WHEN DID YOU REALIZE YOU WERE A PHOTOGRAPHER?
It took me a really long time to consider myself a photographer. For years, I thought of myself as a graphic designer who liked to take photos. I conceded in 2018 when I realized how much care I was putting into the photos I was creating. It was also around that same time when I noticed aspiring macro photographers asking for my advice about macro.
How did you get started with the Olympus system?
I got started with the Olympus system in 2007. I had just been hired by Olympus as a graphic designer and I was headed to Columbus, Ohio for a long weekend. Since I knew my 3.1 MP point-and-shoot wasn’t going to manage the type of shots I wanted, I asked to borrow a DSLR. I got my hands on an EVOLT E-500 and I was on my way.
Over the next few years, I had opportunities to test various Olympus DSLRs (E3, E5, E-620, E-30) and really came to appreciate the advantages of interchangeable lens cameras with great glass. My attention was truly piqued when the OM-D system debuted in 2012. I loved the small size, advanced features, and retro styling. After using an E-M5 on my honeymoon, I knew it was time to quit borrowing and get an OM-D of my own. In February of 2014, I finally took the plunge and purchased the brand-new OM-D E-M10.
What’s your go-to Olympus setup?
My go-to Olympus setup for field macro is the OM-D E-M1 Mark II paired with the M.Zuiko 60mm F2.8 Macro. When I’m targeting more skittish subjects, I’ll use the M.Zuiko 40-150mm F2.8 PRO with the MC-14 Teleconverter.
How does Olympus help you do your job?
I find the Olympus system to be a perfect partner in the field. The combination of lightweight design, great ergonomics, and awesome image stabilization let me handhold my camera at awkward angles and sneak into tight areas where my subjects like to hide. The freedom to customize my function buttons makes it feel like the camera was made just for my style of shooting. Incredible weathersealing keeps my attention on my subjects instead of the weather.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART ABOUT BEING A MEMBER OF THE OLYMPUS FAMILY?
I feel a real sense of community among Olympus shooters. Thanks to social media, I’ve connected with countless Olympus owners from around the world. I’ve reached out to some and others have reached out to me. It’s a global network of photographers who always seem excited to share their knowledge and passion.
TIPS FOR OTHER BUDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS
When I think back to my beginnings with macro, there are a few tips that would have given my photography a jumpstart. Most importantly, be patient. Like, really patient. By mentally and physically relaxing, you’ll find more subjects, hold your camera steadier, and produce better images. Next, I recommend trying a flash. Using a flash allows you to shoot at much slower shutter speeds and helps to illuminate attention-grabbing details. Finally, PRACTICE. By practicing with inanimate objects in your home or yard, you’ll enjoy stress-free shooting, learn what works best for you, and gain transferable experience that will carry over to working with live subjects.
TIPS FOR OTHER PRO PHOTOGRAPHERS
Photographers coming into macro from other genres may find initial frustration. Macro is unforgiving and requires flawless focus. But don’t lose faith! Non-macro experience can be immensely helpful. The basics do apply, so keep things simple. If you’re used to portraiture, think of insects as tiny models. If you’re used to traditional wildlife photography, approach insects like you would any other wild animal. Try to pull from what you already know and use it to your advantage.