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Macro Photography: Insects and Plant Life

Lesson 6 of 15

Preparing for Outdoor Macro

Chris McGinnis

Macro Photography: Insects and Plant Life

Chris McGinnis

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Lesson Info

6. Preparing for Outdoor Macro


  Class Trailer
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1 Class Introduction Duration:01:39
2 Location Scouting Duration:02:59
3 What is Macro Photography Duration:02:09
5 Gear Duration:11:20
6 Preparing for Outdoor Macro Duration:02:00
7 Camera Settings Duration:06:48
10 Textures and Focus Stacking Duration:01:43
11 How to Get the Shot Duration:15:23
12 Using Macro Flash Set Duration:02:44
13 Post-Processing: Crane Fly Duration:10:04
14 Post-Processing: Bee Duration:14:57

Lesson Info

Preparing for Outdoor Macro

Before you head into the field to shoot macro, you want to make sure you're appropriately prepared. So, dress accordingly. Think about going out to shoot macro like you're going on a hike. You're gonna be out in the woods, experiencing the elements, and you wanna protect your skin, and allow yourself to move around. So, starting with a long sleeve lightweight shirt, long pants, long socks, and boots. Make sure your boots are something that you're gonna be comfortable in walking around all day, but also something that's going to protect your feet, and protect you against water. If you step in some mud or along a creek, you wanna make sure that your feet stay dry, but you're still able to get the shot that you're trying to get. If weather does turn for the worst, it's a good idea to have a raincoat on hand. This is something you could leave in the car, or stuff in your backpack. It's also important to protect yourself from the sun, so wear sunscreen, and wear a hat. You also might want t...

o bring a small bottle of glycerine-water mix. This is great to create water droplets. You can spray or use a syringe to add water droplets to a leaf or the stem of a flower, to add visual interest to your photos. Also don't forget to bring along your lens cloth to keep your lens clean, some duct tape of the photography world with a small roll of gaffers tape. I always make sure I have a flashlight in my bag or in my pocket to spot subjects at night, or just to help with focusing. If you wanna take it up a notch, you can add a headlamp to the equation for spotting spiders or other wildlife at night. Always bring a couple of zipper bags with you, just in case you need to put anything away that can't get wet. When you're outside shooting and things are going well, the last thing you wanna do is take a break for lunch. So, never get caught hungry or thirsty, always have some snacks and water on hand. Since you're going to be spending a lot of time outside shooting macro, it's a good idea to have some extra clothes. Bring an extra shirt, extra pair of pants, change of socks. That way if you do get soaking wet or filthy, you have something to change into and you can keep on shooting.

Class Description


  • Understand Macro Photography and how to begin shooting it
  • Know what gear to bring and how to set up your camera
  • Find and approach your subjects, even the crawling/flying ones
  • Fast post-processing techniques to keep you on the move


Take a closer look in this beginner’s guide to macro photography and insect photography. Chris McGinnis, will dive into the world of macro photography from understanding what it is to how to shoot it. He’ll explain how to search and capture a smaller world with just the use of your camera. He’ll dive into the behaviors of insects and their relationships to plant life so that you can capture amazing images from your backyard to national parks.


  • Macro Photographers
  • Beginners
  • Hikers


Adobe Lightroom CC 2019




Chris McGinnis is a graphic designer, photographer, and macro photography enthusiast based in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He obtained his degree in graphic design from Moravian College and, after a stint in the publishing world, joined the creative department at Olympus America. Chris currently works as the Senior Manager of Creative Services and oversees all phases of Olympus’ graphic design, photography, and video production. When he purchased an OM-D E-M10 in 2014, Chris vowed to shoot (and share) at least one photo each day for an entire year. After 365 days shooting, sharing, and learning, he found himself more and more interested in the details. He bought a macro lens and has never looked back. As Chris ventured deeper into the world of macro, he soon shifted his efforts toward featuring the beauty, design, and intricacy of arthropods which often go unnoticed.


Andrew Lamberson

I found the class both very informative and very motivational to get started in Macro photography. It is an entry-level class but it explains what you really need to know to be successful. I especially found the information on the value of using flash and how to modify your flash for it to be more effective especially helpful. I am an experienced wildlife photographer and have done some "Macro" with my telephoto lens, but this class motivated me to purchase a dedicated lens. I am really looking forward to spring and finding some good bugs!

Chris Baudec

Great presentation and great motivation in the post processing. I do wish that the would have been made available. After all, this is a Olympus sponsored event, and Oly settings are always welcomed.... and a tad difficult on the learning curve.

Gary Hook

Chris does a commendable job of explaining his techniques, reasons and potential pitfalls to avoid. Very thorough and much more enthusiastic about little bugs than I will ever be :-) but at the end one has a good concept on how to approach the task at hand. Nice closing with his practical examples of 'post' shoot production. One suggestion for inclusion would be some operating tips/techniques with a tripod/macro rail slider. His Olympus is way smaller/lighter than my Canon 5D so my hand holding will be at a minimum. Well done. Thank you