Join Joseph "PhotoJoseph" Linaschke for an in-depth discussion in this video Gear for shooting macro and close up, part of Photography 101: Shooting Macros and Close-Ups.
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I'd like to introduce you to some of the gear that we will be using throughout this course. There's a lot of stuff on the table here, and I'm going to go through it kind of quickly, and explain briefly what each piece is for and then throughout the course you're going to see each one of these pieces in action. So let's start with the most important thing, the camera itself. I'll be working with a couple different cameras. There's a Canon 5D Mark 2 with a dedicated macro lens on here. This is the 100 millimeter F2.8 macro. This is a fantastic dedicated macro lens and if you are serious about macro photography, this is something that you're going to want to look into.
Now the other camera I'll be shooting with costs a lot less and that is the Panasonic GX7. And the lens that's on here is not a dedicated macro lens. This is in fact just a kit lens that came with another micro four thirds camera. This is an Olympus lens and it is a zoom lens that has a macro mode on it. And as you'll see in the course, this macro mode is pretty darn good. So you can start with something like this before making the investment in a dedicated macro lens. Once you get past the cameras, the next thing you might want to think about is stabilization. Here I've got a really nice tripod that allows me to do things like invert the posts so you can actually mount the camera upside down, literally millimeters off the floor.
So this can be a very handy investment if you're getting serious about macro photography. But before you get into something really big, you might just want to look into something a bit smaller, like a Gorilla Pod. This will allow you to get very close to the ground as well. And while it's not as stable as a full size tripod, it is absolutely a great start. The next thing I want to talk about is lighting. Lighting in macro photography, as with any photography, is of course very important. So let's start with the most basic. Here we have a diffusion panel. Folds up really nice and small but when it's open. As you can see, it's quite big. I can either let the sunshine through here or even put a strobe through this to give me nice big soft lighting.
And consider that you're shooting something really small when you're in macro, shooting with this is like having a massive, massive light source for your photography. So that's something you may want to consider as well. Now if you want to get into actual artificial lighting, then you're talking about strobes. Starting off with something most of you probably already have, a speed light, just a simple dedicated strobe. Now the problem with this is if it's sitting on top of the camera, it's kind of hard to do macro work because the light is too far away from the lens. So that means you're going to have to get it off of the camera. A couple of ways you can do that, you can use a dedicated cable.
This is a TTL cable that allows you to shoot in fully automatic mode or you can go wireless. Now there's a lot of different wireless products on the market. These are some inexpensive ones that are essentially dumb triggers. They just fire the flash. Which means you have to set the flash in manual mode, but you're going to save a lot of money going with these. On the other hand if you want fully automatic wireless, you can buy those too, they cost a little bit more but they certainly are convenient. Now if you're serious about lighting in your macro photography, you may want to look at a ring light. This is a Canon ring light. What happens here is this piece, the commander, slaps on top of the camera where your flash normally would sit, and then this guy here, the ring light, actually attaches to the front of the lens.
What this does is it allows you to have a very consistent, even lighting on your subject that is coming from right around the lens. So this is pretty advanced, but it is a very, very handy thing if you're serious about your macro work. Now let's just talk about some of the basic accessories. Things like these, clips. These are simple from the hardware store, not expensive at all, very, very handy. Just for doing things like clipping a diffusion panel onto a tripod leg, this gives you an extra pair of hands, so you may want to look into something like this as well. A rocket blower, not only to keep your gear clean, but also to blow dust off of things.
When you're working with macro subjects, really small things, if there's little bits of dust or, maybe particles of pollen that you don't want in place, you can't really go in there with your fingers and pull them off so, a couple blows with the rocket blower might take care of it for you. If you're going to be working with lots of delicate little flowers that you want to get into the exact right position, consider something like this. Very inexpensive, designed for hobbyists or people who are saudering, you can clip your subjects right into here and position it exactly as you want. So if you really are into the idea of positioning your flowers in exactly the right space, you might want to look at one of these.
And then here we have the cable release. Just a simple cable release that's going to allow us to take our hands off of the camera so I don't have to be pushing the button on the camera itself. This may not be necessary for macro photography, but it certainly can help. And it just helps you to get your hands away from the gear. And then finally, you'll need a subject to shoot. Well, there's lots and lots of flowers and a variety of textures and rocks and leaves and other things that you'll find around your backyard or anywhere else you go to shoot. Or somewhere around here we have our little subject, my friend Bob the beetle who came out to play with us today, he is going to be the subject to some of our shots.
And if you can find someone like Bob here to participate in your shoot, I think you'll be pretty happy. Pretty cool to be able to work with a subject like this. So, there you go some of the gear that you need or do you? Now keep in mind you don't have to have all of this gear to do macro photography. In fact, if you're thinking that you like the idea of macro but you don't know if you want to spend any money on it yet. Or at least not a lot of money. If you have an iPhone, consider something like this. This is an Olloclip. It's a simple little snap on macro lens that works amazingly well. Put this on your iPhone and you've got macro in your pocket.
So, whichever route you decide to go, from the least expensive to the most. Explore your world outside. Get down close and see what you can find in your own backyard or anywhere else in the world when you get down on your hands and knees and start looking for cool shots in macro photography.
In this course, photographer and educator Joseph Linaschke provides an introduction to the worlds of macro and close-up photography. After an overview of the gear you'll want for macro work, the course explores some subjects you may want to capture, from flowers to bugs, to pets. The course also explores tools and techniques for shooting macros and close-ups using an iPhone.
- Shooting close-up shots of flowers and pets
- Exploring textures as subjects
- Shooting indoors, in a miniature studio
- Shooting macros with the iPhone
- Using high-speed sync to get light in a macro shot