I began my macro journey (obsession) last summer.

I always felt like I was getting generic, uninteresting photographs so I developed these tips.

Now, I often find myself going on “Macro Hunts” throughout the week seeing what I can discover.

green macro leaves by Courtney Rust of Rusty Lens Photography

Garden greens

1. Look around

Often we go for the low hanging fruit – the flowers, the grass, ladybugs – but when you get down on their level, new bugs and special gems begin to appear. I moved a flower tub and found a large frog underneath. I moved a pot of mint and found a snake (I cannot say I really recommend that experience).

macro flower photos by Courtney Rust of Rusty Lens Photography

Garden flowers

2. Be ready

I keep my macro lens nearby on the mantle. I can’t tell you how many times I have run back inside in a hurry after spotting something. Sometimes I come back to find it gone, sometimes it is still there and I score a shot!

Related: 12 macro photography tips you need to know

yard bugs and pets by Courtney Rust of Rusty Lens Photography

Frequent yard visitors

3. Be patient

Sometimes the best shots don’t always reveal themselves at first. You can look high and low and not find anything. But sometimes, you need to wait it out. Often times the best finds appear right as I am putting my lens cap on to come inside.

bug macro photos by Courtney Rust of Rusty Lens Photography

My favorite “last minute” finds

4. Check often

Check back often so you don’t miss out on any visitors. Not only do some subjects show more activity during different times of day, but the lighting changes too.

spider macro by Courtney Rust of Rusty Lens Photography

A garden spider during three different times of the day

5. Grow it

Why not plant some pretty flowers or plants in your yard; find out what grows well in your area. Some of my favorites are African Daisies and Echinacea as they are beautiful and low maintenance. You can grow beautiful sunflowers for just a few cents a seed, or plan a trip to the nursery. You can also plant host plants for local butterflies and caterpillars. While my husband doesn’t love the garden pests, I don’t mind sharing some dill in exchange for the colorful subjects to shoot. I have milkweed, dill, and grapes in the garden and the caterpillars I encounter are spectacular.

Related: Macro photography without a macro lens

echinacea photos by Courtney Rust of Rusty Lens Photography

Echinacea–often called coneflower–photographs beautifully and attracts friends

caterpillar pictures by Courtney Rust of Rusty Lens Photography

Eight spotted forester Caterpillar; Blue Swallow Caterpillar; Monarch Butterfly; Cabbage Looper