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Macro Photography: Insects and Plant Life

Lesson 10 of 15

Textures and Focus Stacking

Chris McGinnis

Macro Photography: Insects and Plant Life

Chris McGinnis

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Lesson Info

10. Textures and Focus Stacking


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
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

Textures and Focus Stacking

When you're out scouting or on a hike and you see something like this, this is a great place to stop. This old, dead tree stump has all kinds of little nooks and crannies, and caverns and cracks, and they're great places for insects to hide. Take a minute, look around, take a close look, change levels, and see what you can find. For anyone that's interested in the abstract macro photography, this is also a great subject for texture. You've got different color and patterns, and you could stay here all day and shoot different textures just on this tree stump. (camera softly clicking) So, when you're shooting textures like this, one really great feature to use is the in-camera focus stacking on the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II. What this does, it takes a series of shots at different focal distances and merges them together in-camera. So, you'll get the details of the relief, whether they be close to the camera or far away, all in-focus in the same shot, all in-camera. When you're shooting st...

acks with focus bracketing for in-camera stacking, you wanna make sure you're supported and braced against something. You're going to take a series of between three and 15 photos in a short period of time, and the more stable your camera is the better your results will be. So here, I'm braced against this tree. I can hold my camera pretty stable, and I'm gonna focus on the point that's closest to my camera, and then the camera will work through a series of shots, focusing all the way from front to back and back to front, and merge those photos together in-camera.

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