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Fundamentals of Photography

Lesson 59 of 107


John Greengo

Fundamentals of Photography

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

59. Macro


  Class Trailer
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1 Class Introduction Duration:23:32
2 Photographic Characteristics Duration:06:46
3 Camera Types Duration:03:03
4 Viewing System Duration:22:09
5 Lens System Duration:24:38
6 Shutter System Duration:12:56
7 Shutter Speed Basics Duration:10:16
8 Shutter Speed Effects Duration:31:57
9 Camera & Lens Stabilization Duration:11:06
10 Quiz: Shutter Speeds Duration:07:55
11 Camera Settings Overview Duration:16:12
12 Drive Mode & Buffer Duration:04:24
13 Camera Settings - Details Duration:10:21
14 Sensor Size: Basics Duration:18:26
15 Sensor Sizes: Compared Duration:24:52
16 The Sensor - Pixels Duration:22:49
17 Sensor Size - ISO Duration:26:59
18 Focal Length Duration:11:36
19 Angle of View Duration:31:29
20 Practicing Angle of View Duration:04:59
21 Quiz: Focal Length Duration:08:15
22 Fisheye Lens Duration:12:32
23 Tilt & Shift Lens Duration:20:37
24 Subject Zone Duration:13:16
25 Lens Speed Duration:09:03
26 Aperture Duration:08:25
27 Depth of Field (DOF) Duration:21:46
28 Quiz: Apertures Duration:08:22
29 Lens Quality Duration:07:06
30 Light Meter Basics Duration:09:04
31 Histogram Duration:11:48
32 Quiz: Histogram Duration:09:07
33 Dynamic Range Duration:07:25
34 Exposure Modes Duration:35:15
35 Sunny 16 Rule Duration:04:31
36 Exposure Bracketing Duration:08:08
37 Exposure Values Duration:20:01
38 Quiz: Exposure Duration:20:44
39 Focusing Basics Duration:13:08
40 Auto Focus (AF) Duration:24:39
41 Focus Points Duration:17:18
42 Focus Tracking Duration:19:26
43 Focusing Q&A Duration:06:40
44 Manual Focus Duration:07:14
45 Digital Focus Assistance Duration:07:35
47 Quiz: Depth of Field Duration:15:54
48 DOF Preview & Focusing Screens Duration:04:55
49 Lens Sharpness Duration:11:08
50 Camera Movement Duration:11:29
51 Advanced Techniques Duration:15:15
52 Quiz: Hyperfocal Distance Duration:07:14
53 Auto Focus Calibration Duration:05:15
54 Focus Stacking Duration:07:58
55 Quiz: Focus Problems Duration:18:54
56 Camera Accessories Duration:32:41
57 Lens Accessories Duration:29:24
58 Lens Adaptors & Cleaning Duration:13:14
59 Macro Duration:13:02
60 Flash & Lighting Duration:04:47
61 Tripods Duration:14:13
62 Cases Duration:06:07
63 Being a Photographer Duration:11:29
64 Natural Light: Direct Sunlight Duration:28:37
66 Natural Light: Mixed Duration:04:20
71 Quiz: Lighting Duration:05:02
72 Light Management Duration:10:46
73 Flash Fundamentals Duration:12:06
74 Speedlights Duration:04:12
75 Built-In & Add-On Flash Duration:10:47
76 Off-Camera Flash Duration:25:48
77 Off-Camera Flash For Portraits Duration:15:36
78 Advanced Flash Techniques Duration:08:22
79 Editing Assessments & Goals Duration:08:57
80 Editing Set-Up Duration:06:59
81 Importing Images Duration:03:59
82 Organizing Your Images Duration:32:41
83 Culling Images Duration:13:57
84 Categories of Development Duration:30:59
85 Adjusting Exposure Duration:08:03
86 Remove Distractions Duration:04:02
87 Cropping Your Images Duration:09:53
88 Composition Basics Duration:26:36
89 Point of View Duration:28:56
90 Angle of View Duration:14:35
91 Subject Placement Duration:23:22
92 Framing Your Shot Duration:07:27
94 Rule of Odds Duration:05:00
95 Bad Composition Duration:07:31
96 Multi-Shot Techniques Duration:19:08
98 Human Vision vs The Camera Duration:23:32
99 Visual Perception Duration:10:43
100 Quiz: Visual Balance Duration:14:05
101 Visual Drama Duration:16:45
102 Elements of Design Duration:09:24
103 Texture & Negative Space Duration:03:57
104 Black & White & Color Duration:10:33
105 The Photographic Process Duration:09:08
106 Working the Shot Duration:25:29
107 What Makes a Great Photograph? Duration:07:01

Lesson Info


The next big section we wanna talk about is macro. So anyone who wants to focus closer, there are a number of ways of getting closer. And most of the manufacturers, like Nikon and Canon, they're gonna have some nice portrait lenses at a particular short telephoto length that are really good optical lenses. But one of the things is that these lenses are very poor at focusing close-up. And so they have designed special lenses that are either called micro or macro. It's just their names for either very small or very large, which is just different ways of thinking about the same thing. They do the same thing. They allow you to focus very, very close. And if you wanna get into a macro lens, there is one thing that you really need to know, and that is reproduction ratio and what that means and what your lens is rated at. The gold standard is 1:1 reproduction ratio on a lens. That is a good macro lens. There are different ones out there. And this means where the object size and the image size...

are exactly the same. And this was much easier to figure out in the days of film where we could actually see the image size that we were recording. Now it's a sensor in the camera. Alright, so if we're gonna photograph a quarter or a euro, which is real close to one inch in size, if we use a 1:1 macro lens, that coin is gonna be exactly the same size on that piece of film. Alright, since we're not shooting with film in most cases now, it's gonna be that size on the sensor. And so it's going to fill the frame from top to bottom in the sensor, but not quite from side to side, because it's a little bit wider in that case. If you are using a cropped frame camera with a 1:1 reproduction ratio, it means you're gonna get the same size coin, but you're kind of cropped in on it a little bit, so it does, in some ways, a better job at getting in close as far as getting in all those pixels in a closer area. And so if you have a lens that goes down to 1:1, you have a very good macro lens. It's gonna give you a lot of versatility. Now, it's gonna be able to focus up very close, but it can also focus to infinity, so you can use it for multiple purposes. Some lenses are half life-size, 1:2 macro range, and so this is gonna be half the size on the sensor, or on the film in this case. Half size on a crop frame is gonna be pretty much filling the frame. Not quite completely there. When you get a macro lens, it not only has meters and feet, but it also has the reproduction ratio. So you can turn the lens to the reproduction ratio that you want, like if you're photographing something and you know that you needed a third of life size, then you could set it at 1:3. Now, the way it says 1:3 will depend on how your camera's lenses have its data set up. Half-life size is gonna be right here. And 1:1 is gonna be right here. Now if you don't have the focusing scale on your lens... Your camera may not. This is something that's kind of unique to Nikon and Canon that has those focusing scales on it. You won't see this on many of the other mirrorless cameras out there. But when you get in here to shoot 1:1, you're very close up. This is also known as a 1x magnification, because the object in real life is gonna be the exact same size on the device that is recording it. It's the same size. Half-life size would be 0.5x magnification, which is still pretty good for a lot of things. Quarter life size would be 0.25x, and you can go down the line here. Now, let's look at some lenses. A variety of lenses. The worst lens for close-up magnification with most manufacturers is your standard portrait lens. It's gonna have a magnification of about 0.12x, which is relatively low. Some lenses, you know, this is the basic 18- is actually pretty good at close-up work at 0.31x. Remember, 1.0 is really good, so we're working our way up. Some of the tilt shift lenses. This one, a perspective control one from Nikon, is 0.5x magnification, and it's close enough that they'll put the word "micro" in the name of the lens. It's good at close-up. One of the best zoom lenses for close-up work is the Canon 24-70 F/4. It's got a special little lever that you turn to get it into its macro range, and it does 0.7x, which is near on what a full macro lens will do. But if you do wanna do full macro, those are the ones that are gonna do a 1x magnification or a reproduction ratio of 1:1. We'll look at a few of the popular setups here. Nikon has two different lenses that are designed exclusively for the DX system for macro work of different focal lengths. Then when it comes to their full frame, they'll have even more selections. And in general, as you go up in focal lengths, you go up in the seriousness of how serious you are about shooting macro work. I know when I got started I had a basic lens, and now I have one that's double the focal length. Canon has one lens designed for their crop frame sensors. They have an old 50 that really needs replacement. They have an unusual 65 that does 1x-5x magnification, so this goes much beyond what most lenses would do. It's not good for focusing on infinity, but on close-up stuff, it will do up to 5x magnification, so you can really get down very, very small with that. And then they have the 100 in 180. So the difference between the focal lengths will affect in how close you are to your subject. With a 60mm lens, you're gonna be moderately close to your subject, and so, just some measurements that I took off of some charts here. If you are working with a 100mm lens, that's gonna give you more working distance so that you're not disturbing your subject so that you can light your subject or have reflectors around it, and those who are really serious into it will have a 200 or so millimeter lens which allows you even more working distance between your subject. And so the question is how close are you to your subject? And for basic macro work, it's okay that you're right here, but you're starting to cast shadows depending on where the lights are. And so it's nice if you're able to stay back here. These are also generally the sharpest lenses that you'll be able to buy for the money. They're just really, really sharp, accurate lenses. If you were doing copy work, if you were documenting stuff for a museum, for instance, these would be really good lenses to work with. If you were doing sort of copy work for an art gallery, I would probably have a 60mm lens. Because sometimes the artwork is so big, it's hard to back up far enough if they have a big five foot painting. With a 200mm lens, you may not have a controlled environment for doing that, and so they make a variety of these. And for most photographers the 105mm is kinda the sweet spot where they can get into photography, and that's what I have right now, and it's good for general purpose, nature things that you'll find. And there's a whole world that you can get into, and that is a whole photography class unto itself is getting into the world of macro photography. 'Cause there are things that you walk by and you just don't even notice with your own eyes until you get in there and start exploring them with a macro lens. And so it's definitely one of those third or fourth bonus lenses that can be fun to bring along. It's not usually the standard lens that most people have. And so this is the sharpest way to shoot small objects. I'm gonna give you some other options, but this is the sharpest way. This is the best way of doing it. And these are also really good portrait lenses. So if you want a lens that does double duty, portrait and close-up work, there's a number of wedding photographers who will do the ring shots with this but they'll also shoot their portraits with it. Because these are often with an aperture of 2.8. Okay, it's not the fastest in the world, but it's good enough for getting reasonable, shallow depth of field. And so, they're really good items to work with. But sometimes it's a bit more than everyone needs. And so there's a way to dabble in the world of macro photography, and that is with extension tubes. And extension tubes are kind of interesting because there is no glass in them. I have a couple of them right here. And so these are devices that are mechanical devices that are designed to physically hold a lens a little bit away from the camera body. And I can use one, or I can use the other, or I can use them both together. And I could add 'em up. My friends had 'em. I could add those onto there. And there's people who've done experiments where they have a whole lens that's extended out this far. And it's a real simple way of extending the lens to focus up closer. So what you're gonna do is you're gonna mount it between the body and the lens. And one of the key factors is the width of this device. Is it 12 millimeters? Is it 25 millimeters? How much space do you get? And there's a variety of manufacturers that make them after market for different lenses as well. And you can stack 'em together, and because there's no optics in there, you're not losing anything by adding optics into the equation here. You're using the natural ability of the lens. However, you may be using the natural ability of the lens, but close-up lenses are optically adjusted for focusing up close, and so they will be sharper than this because there are some lenses, yeah, you can get it to focus up close, but it's not as good as a true macro lens. It's still really good. Now, how much of a difference does it make? So on the top left you see my 70- just at the minimum distance adding in the 12mm, the 25mm and then both tubes together. And so it can really help out. It's lightweight, it's cheap, and it can be added to all of your lenses. They typically work best on normal to telephoto lenses. They work totally fine on zoom lenses. And so if you said, you know what? I might wanna play around a little bit in the macro world, this is a great starter kit to get started into it. Now, it's still not as good as a full macro lens. Alright, so that when you do get into a macro lens, you still will be able to get in closer. And before you ask the question, yes, you can add a macro lens with extension tubes and get even closer if you want, alright? And so there's a variety of manufacturers that make these. Canon and Nikon make them for their own, but there's other companies that make 'em as well. And because there's no glass in there, all I want is just send me the electronic information, let me use auto-focus if I want it, pass the aperture information through. Just send the electronics through. But it doesn't have to be done. You could just do it all mechanically if you want. Now another warning on this is that when you do add this, because you're moving the lens away from the body, you are lessening the amount of light. That light has to travel further, so less light gets into the sensor. So it is changing your exposure. If you add this onto your lens, mount it onto your camera, your camera's meter will be able to figure it out at that point. It's just that if you have it without it, figure out what your shutter speeds and apertures are, and then just add it to the equation, that's when you need to do that sort of adjustment. And so, that is, I think, my preferred system for most people get into close-up work. Another system I'll talk about... I'm talking about it, but I'm not recommending it. Okay, is that clear? A close-up filter allows you to screw this on the front of any lens and it allows you to focus a bit closer. Traditionally these have been harder to produce optically well for a variety of lenses and they tend to be a little bit soft in the corner. And so the downside is that you need to get it fitted for each lens that you might wanna use it on, and it's limited in how close it can get, and so it's a relatively inexpensive option. But I think the extension tubes are a much better value. They may be slightly bigger, but they're still pretty cheap and easy to work with and they will retain higher quality than the close-up filters. If you get into macro photography, you may need macro rails because one of the things that you learn very quickly in the world of macro photography is that it's just a whole lot easier to manually focus. Auto-focus tends to have a lot of hunt room back and forth, and so a lot of people will just set it manually and the way that you focus then is you move the camera forward or you bring the camera back, and you just figure out where that is. And so what these will be used for is you get the camera pretty much in the right position and you'll focus by moving the camera forward and back on these rails. And then some of the fancy ones, you know, if you're a little bit off, it's hard to move... Pick up your tripod and move it three millimeters. You know, it just doesn't work out very well, so having these allows you to make those very precise movements in that area. So if you do a lot of macro work, check into some of these macro rails for very, very precise framing.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

As a photographer, you will need to master the technical basics of the camera and form an understanding of the kind of equipment you need. The Fundamentals of Digital Photography will also teach something even more important (and crucial for success) - how to bring your creative vision to fruition.

Taught by seasoned photographer John Greengo, the Fundamentals of Digital Photography places emphasis on quality visuals and experiential learning. In this course, you’ll learn:

  • How to bring together the elements of manual mode to create an evocative image: shutter speed, aperture, and image composition.
  • How to choose the right gear, and develop efficient workflow.
  • How to recognize and take advantage of beautiful natural light.

John will teach you to step back from your images and think critically about your motivations, process, and ultimate goals for your photography project. You’ll learn to analyze your vision and identify areas for growth. John will also explore the difference between the world seen by the human eye and the world seen by the camera sensor. By forming an awareness of the gap between the two, you will be able to use your equipment to its greatest potential.


a Creativelive Student

Love love all John Greengo classes! Wish to have had him decades ago with this info, but no internet then!! John is the greatest photography teacher I have seen out there, and I watch a lot of Creative Live classes and folks on YouTube too. John is so detailed and there are a ton of ah ha moments for me and I know lots of others. I think I own 4 John Greengo classes so far and want to add this one and Travel Photography!! I just drop everything to watch John on Creative Live. I wish sometime soon he would teach a Lightroom class and his knowledge on photography post editing.!!! That would probably take a LOT OF TIME but I know John would explain it soooooo good, like he does all his Photography classes!! Thank you Creative Live for having such a wonderful instructor with John Greengo!! Make more classes John, for just love them and soak it up! There is soooo much to learn and sometimes just so overwhelming. Is there anyway you might do a Motivation class!!?? Like do this button for this day, and try this technique for a week, or post this subject for this week, etc. Motivation and inspiration, and playing around with what you teach, needed so much and would be so fun.!! Just saying??? Awaiting gadgets class now, while waiting for lunch break to be over. All the filters and gadgets, oh my. Thank you thank you for all you teach John, You are truly a wonderful wonderful instructor and I would highly recommend folks listening and buying your classes.


I don't think that adjectives like beautiful, fantastic or excellent can describe the course and classes with John Greengo well enough. I've just bought my first camera and I am a total amateur but I fell in love with photography while watching the classes with John. It is fun, clear, understandable, entertaining, informative and and and. He is not only a fabulous photographer but a great teacher as well. Easy to follow, clear explanations and fantastic visuals. The only disadvantage I can list here that he is sooooo good that keeps me from going out to shoot as I am just glued to the screen. :-) Don't miss it and well worth the money invested! Thank you John!


Dear John, thanks for this outstanding classes. You are not only a great photographer and instructor, but your classes are pleasant, they are not boring, with a good sense of humor, they go straight to the point and have a good time listening to you. Please, keep teaching what you like most, and I will continue to look for your classes. And thanks for using a plain English, that it's important for people who has another language as native language. Thanks again, Juan