Skip to main content

Innovative Techniques for Outdoor Photography

Lesson 6 of 21

Macro Photography Techniques


Innovative Techniques for Outdoor Photography

Lesson 6 of 21

Macro Photography Techniques


Lesson Info

Macro Photography Techniques

We're going to continue with some macro techniques in some of the ways of getting closer getting a bigger subject on your on your sensor or on your film and uh different lenses macro lenses will do different things for you we have the one eighty macro lens which gives you the working distance and butterflies come to mind immediately is one of the places that I use this lends a lot another one is the fifty millimeter macro and I want to use this moment with this type of this particular image the the camera lens is right down there on the leaf here's actually seeing the surface of the leaf and this is a little nip grasshopper and we're showing it in a different way than you would normally see it most of you haven't seen a grasshopper from this angle in this u get down on your knees and look through the bushes but if we can show images in a different way than which we see them on a day to day basis there's a reason for people to look at our pictures if we just take a rose for instance and...

you take a picture right down on the rose and then you show it to your friends and they say yeah that's a rose and they move on but if you could get it with different color with with with raindrops on it are so close that it's just design elements in colors then there's a reason for people to look at your pictures so try to capture your your pictures in a way that shows them to who's going to look at your pictures in a different way than they would normally see them and this a little rest offer would be one of those examples so we're gonna look at cannes macro lenses but other manufacturers have essentially the same thing sigma has more types of lenses is those tamron nikon of course sony a pentax all these other companies but the one hundred eighty millimeter lens the one that you see here is to give you a distance working this is to your subject if you don't want to be really close to your subject, this would be the lens now there are other subjects like a I've photographed rattlesnakes before, but I used five hundred millimeter lens for those, so this will give you some working distance now one hundred millimeter macro is maybe half the distance to your subject is the other, but if you only had one macro lens to work with the hundred macro is probably the good over all overall macro lens out there the fifty millimeter we don't use very much the sixty millimeter is a special macro lens made for the psc sensors the smaller sensors and you multiply that one point six times and then you find out that you're actually a longer it's almost one hundred millimeter macro lens by the time you're done now this mp sixty five millimeter was the lens that I was showing you here before it goes from one extra five exit does not focus to infinity it's an incredible lands you clip that little macro flash to the front of it and it's a point and shoot I mean you just said it for whatever magnification you want you move in and out until it comes into focus and and it's almost perfect the strobes will give you the right exposure you have to find subjects and the stroke goes off very fast. The flash duration is essentially years shutter speed so you can actually hand hold that linds but we're also going to use that lends for very high magnification when you start getting to five x and like I said with two x we go to ten x things get really pretty exciting extension tube's I always carry a twelve and a twenty five millimeter extension tube in my bank and the reason is not to get me that much more macro it's the focus closer certain lenses will not focus as close as I would like them to and that's mainly the five hundred millimeter lens or the one hundred to four hundred of the older one would not focus close is I wanted to go so I put a twenty five millimeter extension tube behind it and it would focus close much closer than it had before. Now the twelve millimeter tube doesn't give you much help as faras the bigger lenses are concerned, but I put that twelve millimeter behind a wide angle or a white angle zoom and all of sudden I have a very different macro lens that I'll show you some examples where it looks like you're sitting on the edge of the flower and you have all of this you put it it f sixteen and you have all this depth of field going on in front of you and it's just a different perspective it's not a great macro lens but it gives you some different perspectives so that's what I use the twelve millimeter tube for and here's a really good example of that the seventeen millimeter it's a seventeen to forty is what this lens actually is I put the twelve millimeter tube on it I'm standing on the edge of the flower and everything is sharp across it it's something that you need to experiment with but put a little tiny extension to extension two has to be less than the millimeters of the of the lens that twenty five millimeter extension tube you put that on the seventeen millimeter lens and won't focus because the focus is inside the lens and that's not really what you want to do so experiment with it it's one of these things where if with digital, and you can see it on the back of the camera immediately, you can tell whether it's working or isn't working, and even though maybe the manufactured doesn't tell you that that's, something you should do. If it works, it works. Now the burden. This is a lilac breasted roller from africa, and usually they're quite a ways away from you. They know what focal length linds you have. They seem to know this, and they'll say just far enough out where it really won't work, or they come in so close that they know that you can't focus that close. I fooled this particular one. I had a five hundred. I had a one four converter on and a twenty five millimeter extension to which just gave me a head shot. So I pulled the bird by having more equipment than he thought he did.

Class Description


  • Create a variety of dramatic panoramas.

  • Capture rapid movements, such as the flapping of a bird’s wings.

  • Take close-up shots that depict the beauty and vibrant colors of flowers.

  • Capture images of snowflakes using specialized equipment and intricate techniques.

  • Photograph and take videos of lightning storms.

  • Use various types of additional lighting, including electronic flashes.


Are you a major gearhead who loves hearing about the latest and greatest photography equipment on the market today? Do you want to learn some amazing techniques that will take your outdoor photography game to the next level?

If you want to shoot like a pro and get an inside look at how one of the greatest outdoor photographers around makes his magic, then this is the course for you. Celebrated photographer George Lepp shares some of his best-known photographs and describes the techniques and equipment needed to capture images of wild animals, beautiful flowers, and awesome landscapes.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Paint with high-powered flashlights during long exposures.

  • Use special techniques and post-processing software programs to extend your depth of field.

  • Take macro photography shots using special lenses and extension tubes.

  • Utilize tele extenders and other tools to get high-magnification shots.

  • Use HDR to get natural looking contrast control.

  • Perform time-lapse photography with movement and panning.

  • Discover a variety of DSLR video shooting techniques.

Experienced photographers interested in exploring the intricacies of outdoor photography will love hearing George’s thrilling stories about his great outdoor and travel photography shoots all over the world like Africa and his close calls with wild animals. By the end of this course, you’ll be inspired to challenge yourself and experiment with these truly incredible techniques.


  • Experienced photographers who want to learn about cutting-edge equipment and innovative techniques for outdoor photography.

  • Photographers looking to be inspired by one of the greats and wanting to hear about his personal experiences.

  • Those who are new to outdoor photography and want an inside look at what it’s like to be a professional in the field.


George D. Lepp is one of North America’s best-known contemporary outdoor and nature photographers. His passions for natural beauty, technical precision, cutting-edge technology, and environmental responsibility are revealed in his beautiful and compelling photographic images. He is also widely recognized for his unique dedication to sharing his photographic and biological knowledge with other photographers through his seminars, writing, and inventions. George Lepp is a leader in the rapidly advancing field of outdoor photography and digital imaging. 

Lepp’s images have appeared in some of the world’s most widely viewed venues and on the covers of many books and magazines, including Natural History, Car and Driver, PC Photo, and Outdoor Photographer; at prestigious galleries and museums throughout the United States; and at the corporate headquarters of Canon USA, Eastman Kodak, and Epson America. He was chosen by Canon USA as one of the first members of its Explorers of Light program, which features the industry’s most influential photographers. He is known both for his sweeping panoramas that capture the magnificence of exotic locations and his stunning high-magnification macro renditions of subjects such as snowflakes and butterfly wings. His stock and assignment photography is represented by Getty, Corbis, and Photo Researchers. 

Lepp is regularly read in popular photographic magazines; he has contributed for thirty years as a field editor and columnist to Outdoor Photographer Magazine and more recently has published technical articles in Europe’s c’t Digital Photography Magazine. He is the author of many books, including Wildlife Photography: Stories from the Field, Golden Poppies of California, and Beyond the Basics I and II: Innovative Techniques for Outdoor and Nature Photography, as well as hundreds of articles on photography. He has taught at Photoshop World, Santa Fe Workshops, Palm Beach Workshops, and founded the Lepp Institute of Digital Imaging. Lepp is a founding board member and a fellow of the North American Nature Photographers Association and winner of many awards for his work, including Photo Media’s Photography Person of the Year and the prestigious Progress Award, the highest given by the Photographic Society of America. 

First trained in wildlife and wildlands management, George Lepp later earned a BPA and honorary MS in Professional Photography from Brooks Institute. Contact him through his web site, www.GeorgeLepp.com.


  1. Class Overview

    Get an overview of what you’ll learn in this course on creative outdoor photography, including how to do panoramas, extending your depth of field, and time-lapse photography.

  2. Types of Panorama for Outdoor Photography

    There are many different panorama techniques, from composite to hand-held to multi-camera. You’ll learn about all of them and the basic techniques for creating them right here.

  3. Gigapan and Action Pano for Outdoor Photography

    Learn to take a Gigapan panorama and get extremely big and detailed shots.

  4. Additional Lighting: Light Painting, Flash and Ambient

    George discusses options for additional outdoor photography lighting, including electronic flashes, the Better Beamer Flash Extender, and using high-powered flashlights to paint with light during long exposures.

  5. Extended Depth of Field

    Sometimes it’s important to have objects in the foreground, middle ground, and background all in sharp focus. Learn about various software programs and techniques to achieve extended depth of field photography.

  6. Macro Photography Techniques

    Learn about macro photography techniques, lenses, and extension tubes.

  7. Tele-extenders and Outdoor Photography

    Learn about using tele-extenders and other tools to get high-magnification shots of things such as a butterfly’s wings.

  8. HDR as a Tool

    High dynamic range (HDR) allows you to take multiple exposures at once and achieve natural looking contrast control within your final image. George offers a variety of HDR photography tips.

  9. Time-lapse Outdoor Photography

    Learn how to shoot time lapse photography with movement and panning.

  10. DSLR HD Video

    Learn about DSLR video shooting techniques and the essential equipment you’ll need.

  11. Cinemagraphs for Outdoor Photography

    George talks about the cinemagraph for outdoor photography, which is a still image with an element that moves.

  12. Photographing Birds

    Digital photography allows you to take incredible shots of birds and their movements. Get some bird photography tips and learn about shutter speeds and the equipment you’ll need to take your best images.

  13. Photographing Mammals

    George discusses wildlife photography techniques and his experiences shooting mammals, including speedy cheetahs, angry elephants, and hungry hippos.

  14. Photographing Birds and Mammals Q & A

    George offers some wildlife photography critiques and answers questions about his wildlife photography, including using a flash when taking pictures of birds and mammals.

  15. Macro Photography and Flowers

    George shares his flower photography techniques and confirms how he took glorious shots at Keukenhof Gardens in Holland.

  16. Photographing Butterflies

    Get some photo tips for photographing butterflies, including the importance of having a telephoto lens and a flash.

  17. Photographing Snowflakes

    Get the scoop on what you’ll need for snowflake macro photography, including special lighting, a copy stand, an adjustable base, and really cold equipment.

  18. Photographing Landscapes

    George offers some landscape photography tips for beginners and talks about some of his favorite places and landscape images.

  19. Photographing Lightning

    Learn how to photograph lightning and how to take video of lightning storms.

  20. HDR Landscapes and Time Lapse

    Learn about HDR landscape photography—compiling a series of pictures to capture various levels of light.

  21. Final Outdoor Photography Q&A

    Students get a chance to ask some final questions of George about outdoor photography ideas, including things such as panoramas, extenders, and white balance.


R. Hetrick

Amazing class! I particularly loved the macro and how to correctly take panoramic photos sections. George was not only a great teacher but he was super funny too. Would be happy to take any of his future classes.


I watched the entire class, and found it to be a very negative experience - in contrast to all of my other experiences with Creative Live, which had been very good. The problem with this class was the instructor. Mr. Lepp, rather than giving us practical, useful information, and techniques for approaching the subject of Outdoor Photography, instead used his time to show off his seemingly endless array of incredibly expensive and cutting edge gadgetry. For the first half hour or so, Mr. Lepp seemed pleasant and interesting, but it quickly became apparent that this class was NOT about anything relating to the art of outdoor photography. Instead, it was basically a seminar highlighting exotic equipment for the 1%. I have well over $25,000 of photographic equipment, but the arena in which Mr. Lepp plays begins somewhere around the $100,000 mark, and then requires a staggering ongoing budget for chartering helicopters, hiring guides, and constant upgrades to remain on the bleeding edge of gadgetry and accessories. From his gyroscopic mounts to his 40" printer, Mr. Lepp has it ALL and continues to spend, spend, spend. I admire his deep pockets, but I would have appreciated some real insight and technique and useful knowledge on actually getting great shots. (And I must say... Mr. Lepp's work... did not impress me to the degree that other teachers on CreativeLive have.) I believe those giving positive reviews here were more or less wowed by the sheer magnitude of his extensive, well-funded travels and his off-handed way of revealing the endless contraptions and combinations of gear he uses. The passion here is clearly about the gadgetry, and NOT about finding an original and creative voice in the arena of outdoor photography.


George really prepared a lot of information for his class. It is true, he does have a lot of expensive equipment and we may not be able to do some of the things he does with a smaller budget, but it is good incentive for us to plan for the future. He seemed to share new information constantly and stay focused and I was able to take a lot of notes. He talked about many kinds of equipment as well as software and websites he uses. I am pretty impressed that he is so up to date with recent technology. He especially loves macro/micro and stacking hundreds of images for minute focus on really large enlargements (for example, over 600 photos for one butterfly wing). That can get boring if you are not interested in doing that. I can take those tips and apply them to landscape photography though. I think it is more helpful for someone already doing outdoor photography and looking for new inspiration or new techniques as opposed to someone new to photography in general.