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Macro Photography: Insects and Plant Life

Lesson 3 of 15

What is Macro Photography

Chris McGinnis

Macro Photography: Insects and Plant Life

Chris McGinnis

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Lesson Info

3. What is Macro Photography


  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

What is Macro Photography

As a macro photographer, I'm often asked, "Why do I shoot macro?" And there's a lot of reasons. Macro photography lets me see details that you can't see with the naked eye. We can present things in a new way. We can show things to people that they've never seen before. Whether you're looking at an insect up close, or a soap bubble, or common household items, everything looks different and, to me, more interesting when we get in close. I'm also asked, "What is macro photography?" Some people don't know at all, some people have an idea in their mind of what macro photography is. Technically, macro photography is magnifying something at a one to one ratio, your subject being one and your sensor size being one. Meaning, the size of your subject is the same size filling your sensor as it is in real life. To explain that a little further, a full frame camera has a 36 millimeter sensor, a Micro Four Thirds camera has an 18 millimeter sensor. And when we use a one to one magnification lens, yo...

ur 18 millimeter subject fills the entire 18 millimeter Micro Four Thirds sensor. With full frame, your 36 millimeter subject fills your entire 36 millimeter frame. So, technical explanation aside, macro photography is really showing things really close up. I'll even use a telephoto lens to get close to a subject that I can't get right up to but I still want it to be big and show those details of its design. Anything around you can be a great macro subject. You might reach in your kitchen cabinet for spices or cupcake sprinkles. You might look on your own wrist and photograph your watch. When you go outside, look for leaves, water droplets, grass, mushrooms. Everything has interest, it's up to you as the photographer to bring that interest to life. After you're comfortable shooting inanimate subjects, then, maybe, you want to move on to moving subjects. For me, that's where the real excitement is. I like to look for insects. Insects hide in the woods, they hide in our homes. They present themselves and present all sorts of interesting opportunities to photograph. But, when it comes to moving subjects, it's a little bit tricker.

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