Join Ben Long for an in-depth discussion in this video What you need to know for this course, part of Foundations of Photography: Macro and Close-Up.
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Photography involves a lot a gear, of course, and macro-shooting can be one of the most gear-heavy photography specialties. You think that getting up close to something, and taking a picture of it would be pretty simple, but as you will see, there are some specific macro shooting problems that can only be solved with specialized tools. Now, that said, you can get into macro shooting at a number of different levels; it doesn't have to be a very expensive pursuit. If you've already got a macro lens, that's great! If you don't, don't go buy one yet. There are some inexpensive alternatives to a macro lens, and depending on what you like to shoot, these alternatives may be all that you need.
In this course, we will be working our way up from the least expensive macro gear to the most expensive, most specialized gear. Depending on the type of close-up in macro shooting that you like, you might need a particular macro set-up, so it would be best for you to explore a little bit through this course before you buy anything. Now, you can use just about anything for a camera, but ideally you want something with some manual exposure control. Many point-and-shoot cameras have great macro capabilities, but you will get better results if you can employ some manual overrides.
You will probably need a tripod. I say probably, because if you not going to get super close, and you are shooting in bright light, then you can probably get away with working hand-held. For real macro work though, you are going to need a sturdy tripod. As you will see, there are plenty of other things you might end up needing: specialized lenses, lens attachments, flashes, light modifiers, set pieces, camera mounts, focusing aids, the list goes on and on. And, we will look at each of these as we work through this course.
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.
- 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