Introduction to Macro Photography

Lesson 9/12 - Depth of Field Control


Introduction to Macro Photography


Lesson Info

Depth of Field Control

Controlling your depth of field is super important in macro photography. You know, it's-- In portraiture, when you shoot a portrait of a person, a lot of times you want that background to go blurry. And, that provides us visual separation between the subject and the environment. And that's a really nice effect. In the case of that photo we just showed with that flower, well there really is no background in that photo, right? The photo is the whole photo, and so it'd be nice for the everything in that image to be in focus. So, even at f/16, our depth of field is very close, or very narrow close focus. So, f/16, I recommend f/22, f/40, something like that. And if you're handholding and you're using just ambient light out in nature, like it's a cloudy day, you might need to bump your ISO up so you can get a shutter speed that you can use. You know, ISO, let's say ISO 100 at f/40, even on a sunny day is gonna give you like a half a second exposure, so you gotta start bumping up your ISOs w...

hen you're handholding this stuff, okay? Well, let me show you, I wanna go back to Lightroom and I just wanna show you a photo that I took. Let's see, go back to here. Scroll down to my CreativeLive folder. There we go, CreativeLive macro. Let me just show you a couple of shots here. So we'll go, let's go E, shift tab, I. There we go. So this image, I took at 70 millimeter with my 24 to 70 lens. Okay. And, I think with this shot I actually had an extension tube in play. And, you see that I shot that at f/2.8. So the size of that, I don't even know what that is, that pretty green Dr. Seussy type of plant. The size of that was maybe the size of a dime. The head of that was about the size of a dime. So, you can see the background. I really like that background, right? The background's fantastic. Wouldn't it be ideal if there was a way that we could focus from the front to the back and get all that in focus, but have the background that nice and blurry. And, that's what this next technique I wanna show you is is called focus stacking.

Class Description

Learn how to unlock the fantastic world of macro photography. Instructor Mike Hagen details the gear, techniques, and software you’ll need to capture extreme detail in everything from flowers to insects to jewelry. Create larger than life images with intricate detail using methods that Mike clearly demonstrates in this class.


Amy Vaughn

Good class, but I want more. CreativeLive, please get Mike Hagen to come back to do a full 1-2 day macro class. I'd love to see a deeper exploration of all his macro gear, diy toys, demos of Helicon Focus and Zerene Stacker, and maybe showing live examples beyond flowers like bugs, abstracts and shooting through water.

ESther IGlich

A good intro course.I learned a lot in a short period of time, but really this class needs to be longer. It felt rushed. Would have liked to seen more on lighting specifically. However given the time Mike had to work in he did a great job and I enjoyed his insights.


I appreciated Mike's suggestions for DIY macro equipment. There is a lot of money you could save with those ideas alone. Great class and I agree ​it would be great to see more!