Foundations of Photography: Macro and Close-Up

with Ben Long
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Foundations of Photography: Macro and Close-Up
Video duration: 0s 4h 14m Intermediate


It's a small world, and capturing it with a photograph can be challenging. In this course, photographer, author, and teacher Ben Long takes you on a fantastic voyage into the realm of the tiny, detailing the gear and shooting techniques necessary to capture extreme close-ups of everything from products to posies.

After touring the possibilities of macro photography, the course details essential gear at several price levels, including lenses, flashes, and other accessories. Next, Ben explores the special challenges of macro photography: dealing with moving subjects, working with extremely shallow depth of field, focusing, lighting, and more.

The course also explores advanced close-up tools and post-processing techniques, such as using Adobe Photoshop to "stack" multiple shots to yield wider depth of field than a single shot can convey.

Topics include:
  • What is a macro photograph?
  • What is a macro lens?
  • Finding good subject matter
  • Evaluating macro gear like extension tubes and tilt-shift lenses
  • Composing and framing shots
  • Exploring depth of field
  • Lighting macro shots
  • Working with light tables
  • Editing macro shots


- Hi, my name is Ben Long, and welcome to Foundations of Photography: Macro and Close-Up. We spend our days interacting with the world at a particular scale, a scale we all share and understand. In our every day scale, small is something I can hold in my fingers and big is something I can crawl inside. As photographers, we usually build pictures around this sense of scale, but there's another scale that you can work at photographically, a scale that you can't actually see in every day life, a scale that might surprise you with its depth and richness.

That scale, of course, is the very small, and the very small is the realm of the macro and close-up photographer. In this course, we're going to explore all of the fundamentals of shooting the very small, as we work from shooting simple close-ups to shooting macro shots will full detail and clarity. We'll start with gear that you already have, shooting that a scale that's not too far removed from your every day experience. Shooting close-ups is a great way of getting a different take on areas and subjects that you might already be familiar with, and some of the practices and techniques that you employ in close-up photography are the same ones you use for macro photography, so it's a great way to prepare yourself for diving into more extreme magnifications.

Next, we'll ease you into macro photography by showing how you can easily modify your existing equipment to make it capable for macro work. From there, we'll beef up your arsenal of macro gear by looking into extension tubes, close-up lenses, and bellows. Of course, serious macro shooters use dedicated macro lenses so we'll look in-depth at how to choose a macro lens before diving into all the techniques you need to know to get the most out of whatever macro lens you choose to work with. Along the way, we'll cover some lighting and aesthetic tips, before we finally head into the extremes of macro photography, as we explore focus stacking to create images that simply weren't possible just a few years ago.

Macro photographs can be a fascinatingly different view of the world, and one of the best things about shooting macro is that you can start building an extensive macro portfolio without ever leaving your house. Macro expands on the photographic skills that you already have, and you may find that after working for a while with the very small, you will begin to see the full-scale world a little differently. So get a camera, and some tiny subjects, and let's get started.

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