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Mobile Macro Photography

Lesson 2 of 8

Macro, Defined + Equipment

Lisa Carney

Mobile Macro Photography

Lisa Carney

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Lesson Info

2. Macro, Defined + Equipment

Lesson Info

Macro, Defined + Equipment

So, let's talk about macro for just a second. What does it mean for you? Macro photography can be all kinds of subject matter. And I think it's just a good idea that we get on the same page about what we're talking about. So for me, when I'm talking about macro photography, it's not necessarily a magnifying glass where you're zoomed in really super close. Macro photography can also be something that you shoot with regular lens, but you're just zoomed in close for it or? Yeah, I think for me, it's really about just having a small subject matter. That's how, for this course, I'm going to define macro photography. It's not always going to be super, super close up like magnification. And macro photography has been around for a gazillion years and it's really, uh, with lenses today, it's gotten so amazing. And what is it do you think about this? Macro photography? Why are we so fascinated by it? You know? And for me, it's kind of like that. I don't know, what do I say that that universe you...

see in a, in a water drop, Right? I just, I'm cuckoo for cocoa puffs for macro photography. And um, there's a lot of inspiration out there, different photographers, different work you can take a look at and see what really moves you to do your own work. So let's talk a little bit about some equipment. The first thing, it's really important for me to talk about is it's I always say this, it's a wizard, not the one who cares which camera you're using? Nobody cares. The end is really about the work. What's the work look like? Is your pieces of artwork looking good. So please do not get hung up on. Do you have the latest and the greatest or you want to iphone 13 yet? Oh, is it out? I happen to be shooting with an iphone 12, but I've done some work that I'm quite proud of with an iphone four and heck fire. I've used plastic cameras before. So please don't get hung up that you don't have enough money to buy the latest and greatest. You can still do amazing work. It's the wizard about the one. So, with equipment and with lenses, the first thing I'd like to talk to you about our moment lenses. Oh my heavens, they're beautiful. They're made of glass. They're heavy for their size and their great quality and they're not cheap. So let me just be perfectly clear. They are not cheap. And there are some other mm lenses you can get that are less expensive, but they won't be as good. So, when you're ready, these moment lenses, look how tiny their and their glass, they have a beautiful diffusion ring that come into tiny little pouch. Look at this just amazing. And if and when you're ready, I think they're worth their weight in gold personally. And if not, there's some other devices you can use that are less expensive and you can kind of glue them on or clip them on again. I want to be really clear. They're not fantastic. Those other lens equipment, the best one I have found to date is still a moment lens but when you're ready maybe you can get that. Okay, so lens moment, Next thing I need to talk about with that moment lens. This is really critical and not always clear because as I said, they're heavy and glass, you absolutely have to have a case that has a key mount on it and you have to order that separately and the moment website is not fantastic. They are not always super clear about this. So please be very careful, make sure you get the right case for it. And yes, I'm on my fourth case. 4th because every time I upgrade my phone I have to get a new case kind of a bummer. But alright second up Sunshine as I like to say, it's just the nature of the Beast. So Moment has also a bunch of grips. Yes, grips that you can use and I'm going to show you this one right now. This is some crazy, crazy grip called the Beast. Look how big it is and um I want to be super clear about this. I love this. It's 30 it's lightweight but I can really hold on, I can really hold onto my device when I'm shooting. However 100% clear about this, my moment M series macro cannot fit in this. So what I had to do is manually move the camera lens mount down my camera fits here so that I can use my macro lens. So The Beast, it's fantastic. It's sturdy. I find I can really steady my device with this but I have to move the lens mount. It won't work for the macro lens. Just want to be really clear about that. All right. Now, in addition to that, you can also get um a different kind of grip. So this grip, See this? This fits on the back of your camera and it's got a little adhesive pull. And what I love about this is the back of my fingers. Part of me I can hold the camera and steady it with my fingers when I am shooting. And I find this is a really inexpensive, it's like five bucks way to sturdy my camera steady my camera. Especially when you're shooting macro because you know there's all that shaking bit. So a tiny little grip is fantastic or you can invest in the beast. It depends on how committed you are to this. Now there are tripods, tripods you can use for shooting macro. I find I tend to not too because especially with these moment lenses you have to be right on your subject and I mean right on on the subject. So for that reason the tripod doesn't really assist me that much, but where it does come in handy is for lighting. So I use my tripods for lighting holding All right, go figure. So tripods always really handy and I like the kind that wrap around objects and um yeah, so I just want to say that in addition, as I mentioned earlier when you're shooting macro and especially because you have to get so close and your cameras wiggling, you might want to consider triggering your camera with your ear butts. That's right. You can actually trigger the camera and make your shot that way. You're not actually touching the camera and shaking it when you're doing your shoot. As I mentioned, there are other lenses you can use, they clip on, they glue on. I'm gonna be honest, you guys, I'm not a big fan. I really am not. However, if that's the best you can do, then rock on rock what you got and you can still shoot macro with that lighting as I mentioned, I like to um use my tripod to hold my lighting device. So because of that, I like to talk about lighting devices. So I like to use a cube. These cubes are fantastic. You can hold them in your hand, you can position them around your items and you know what else? A flashlight. Yes, I am not kidding. A flashlight. Yes, that you can use that to do your macro. In fact, let me show you my new favorite flashlight, Check this out. It's got all sorts of settings. Red is probably not what you're going to use. But my favorite thing for macro photography is this little light, check this out. See when you're doing macro photography. Can you imagine what you can do with it? So it's an inexpensive little flashlight and it does some really cool things. In fact, take a look at this little film I've made of me shooting this object and you can see the light moving around it. So what I have here is a little old seed pod that I think is really interesting and I'm effectively taking my flashlight with that little led head and I'm just moving it around the object. But what you can see is you can highlight the undercarriage of it, the side, the top, the bottom and it brings a whole nother level of detail to your photography. Looking at these mushrooms. This is another sample of using a loom cube to light my subject. And on the left you can see, I've got a nice warm image of these tiny little mushrooms I shot and here in the center, I still have a light on it only it's pulled way back so it's not quite as intense and on the right, you'll see the same mushroom with no extra lighting. It's all shot open shade and down here on the bottom. You can see what the mushroom looks like as I move the lighting device around the object. And I think sometimes when we're shooting with an iphone and doing macro folks don't think about lighting but you still have complete control. Just take a flashlight with you or your limb cube. And then above all do not forget about the sun. You can backlight things with a flashlight or you can use the sun. So by simply moving your body moving yourself. As I'd like to say around your subject, you can have the sun be an illuminating device and you get some beautiful transparent glittery looking things all with nature. Not bad. Huh? Now as I talk about the son, I'd like to remind you about backlighting. Yeah, backlighting. I am a big fan of having the sun back light my objects and I'll tell you a little secret what I do. Sometimes I either do one of two things. One I wear a white t shirt when I wear a white t shirt when I'm shooting, especially macro, it will reflect light back into the subject like a bounce card. I'm a human bounce card who knew or I carry a white folded up card in my camera case and then I just use that as a bank card. Excuse me bounce card. So be a human bounce card or carry a little folded up piece of paper in your camera case and you can bounce light back into your subject. Now on that same note there's a couple of teeny tiny little things that I think can come in handy when you're shooting macro first of all, if you're shooting more of a studio setting, get that tacky um clay that used to hold objects when you're shooting because with macro especially you can just position something a little bit if you can hold it with that little tacky clay embroidery scissors carrying in my case all the time, I am forever snipping stuff. Yeah, I snip and steal my neighbor's flowers. If I tell the truth, I do do that, but they're tiny. So let me get away with it. Anyway, embroidery scissors, small scissors, really handy and honest buddha pinchers, little tweezers very handy and please do not forget the canned air, especially with macro stuff. There's little bits or dirt or something. You need to remove a little squirt. A canned air bob's your uncle. All right, My next very important camera thing is a fanny pack. Yes, I said it, a fanny pack. Do not judge me when you have a fanny pack, you can carry your macro lens, a little light and your phone device, your mobile device on you at all times. And this is what I have. So I can shoot macro, no matter where I'm at. It's awesome and no one can see it stuck under my shirt. So maybe it's time to bring back the fanny pack. Maybe I'm being a translator, who knows

Class Description


  • Use special tricks for shooting with Lightroom Mobile cameras and other capture apps.
  • Understand equipment options for your mobile device.
  • Have a better understanding of what to shoot in Macro.
  • Light for macro mobile photography.
  • Edit in Lightroom and take Macro shots from good to WOW.


The ART within the tiny.

Join Lisa for an adventure into the miniature world we often overlook. Lisa will guide you through special shooting techniques, lighting, equipment selection and subject matter to help hone and bring your vision of this amazing world into focus.

Lisa captures the intensity—and delight—of our micro environment, urging us to slow down and savor the treasures hiding in plain sight.


  • Beginner/Intermediate Mobile Photographers


Moment Macro Lens
Lightroom Mobile
3rd party mobile apps.


Lisa Carney is a high end retoucher who has spent over two decades working with the most dynamic players in the print, motion picture, and television industries.

Besides being a regular presenter at the Adobe MAX conference, her teaching roster runs the gamut from beginners to professional retouchers, and includes universities, design studios, movie studios, corporations, and private students.

Lisa has worked with all major movie studios and many television networks including Disney, Buena Vista, Paramount, 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight, Sony, Universal, Newline, Columbia, MGM, ABC Television, ESPN, TNT, CNN, CBS, CW, Warner Brothers and Sony.

Advertising credits include Burger King, Baskin-Robbins, Lowes, Jordana Cosmetics, Strategic Perceptions, Mattel, Chrysler, Mercedes, Mazda and Best Buy.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Class Handout

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes



I loved this short class & how accessible Lisa made it. Although some of the recommended equipment does have a cost, I appreciated Lisa's take on what matters: fun in the process and final product (it's not always about investing in super-expensive equipment). I loved seeing the photo reels that she shared; it gave me lots of ideas for a project I am working on. A few suggestions toward composite photos and experimentation made this seem just like so much fun!

fbuser 692c9645

Another winner by Lisa Carney. This is my second class of hers and I really like her teaching style. She has a relaxed way of approaching the material and makes it fun and clear. She inspired me once again to purchase a few new tools including a macro lens and I'm glad I did. I'm looking forward to diving into more of her classes.

Mary Dawson

A wonderful class by a very creative and inspirational teacher. Thank you