Skip to main content

photo & video

Mobile Macro Photography

Lesson 4 of 8

Utilizing Different Backgrounds

Lisa Carney

Mobile Macro Photography

Lisa Carney

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

4. Utilizing Different Backgrounds

Lesson Info

Utilizing Different Backgrounds

another consideration with macro photography's black and white or color and sometimes a picture is going to want a colour version and sometimes they don't want a black and white version and it depends on you and your shooting style, you can kind of tell I'm a black and white shooter for the most part. However, you're going to find out that some images look better in color and some images look better in black and white and for some images it doesn't quite matter. So experiment and see what brings out the most in your work. What happens this image when it shot color versus black and white. And I'm not trying to tell you the way to do it. You need to find your own visual voice, see what works for you. It's really, I mean it's I think what it is with black and white with with macro is its structure. If you look at this onion seeds, the structure really seems to come out from me with the black and white. I don't know, there's something about the contrast of it. And also I think black and wh...

ite can take something that's a little confusing and chaotic and I don't know, kind of simplify it down just my thoughts. I'm black and my scale. So this is an interesting thing that I've been working on this year is scale. So this is my finger holding up a little tiny mushroom. So I have some time, some creeping thyme I planted in my garden and I over watered it happens. And when you over water you often get mushrooms and look at these cool tiny little house mushrooms. I think they're so beautiful and with macro try something where you have a subject like the time leaves, teeny tiny little time leaves in the foreground and the mushroom is in the background out of focus. This is all in camera so just play with scale or vice versa. Maybe you have the the mushroom and focus and the time out of focus. Mhm positive and negative space. That's another thing to consider. What are the shapes you're making with your photography and sometimes a caterpillar or ringworm can actually do some pretty ringworm. I can't believe I said ringworm. Anyway you get the idea sometimes a caterpillar or grasshopper can actually help you make a beautiful scene. And I'll tell you this piece here. I was doing a series. I was so sad, I was going through a really rough period and I just felt full of holes and this image really said that it said how I felt full of holes. Still not bad but environment. So I want to take a second and talk about taking your subject out of its normal environment. And in fact I've got this little baby in a jar. I keep using him shooting him. So why not take a wasp out of its environment and put it on a piece of paper and use that loom cube or a flashlight to light it. Okay, Now this is another idea. I have, go get some paper. Yeah, go to the store and get some paper and shoot your subject on different colours paper. These papers, most of them cost like 79 cents. I think the gold cost $2 to 99 cheapest chips. And you can completely change your environment. I mean look at this. This is the exact same onion pod. It's a red onion blooming, isn't it pretty? And right here is shot with gold behind it. Down here. Black and here a beige which on the beige by the way, I just tilted it and it ended up looking white. So that's the other thing you can do with the angle of incident with a light. You can change it from a light or darker color depending on what you're seeing. All shot. Nature didn't have to cut it. Just take a piece of paper outside. How about taking some paint and putting it on that paper. And in fact on this one, I used gold paint and this gold paints. Got a metallic uh listening to it. So you can actually have the paint be the subject if you want. Not just the object, but it just gives you an opportunity to have a different kind of background. Anyway. You want paint on paper. Who would have thunk it for macro photography. Now, I'm gonna do a little demo here about water. Yes. This is another thing I've done is I actually take an object out of its environment. I put it in a bowl and I put different colored paper underneath it. Let's take a look. All right, let's start some fun. Here's my setup in my kitchen. You can hear the fridge behind me. There's my light, there's my elements and there's a platter, whatever filled with water with a white piece paper underneath. So I'm gonna start with this big piece here. I'm going to slide over and I put my lens on. Alright, my lenses on. I'm gonna make sure I'm out of the way of the light and I'm going to come in. Oh, look how pretty she is. I like the shadow on this. You can also try to move your light so you don't have shadow. All right, that's set up number one. Now I'm going to switch to different colored paper. I've got my lens on interesting the papers turning silver. Can you see that kind of interesting? The one thing about water is it will rock. Now I'm going to try a different piece here. Let's try this one. You can slide on over darling. Let's see what we get with this. Oh, my light went up. All right, we'll try another piece here. Let's see what we get with this. I just think it's really interesting. Let's switch paper again. All right. Now I have dark paper in and let's see what we get with that kind of fun start with a different piece. Not sure I'm digging this, but you never know. So give it a try try some different kinds of paper and colours. I'm going to make a bold suggestion here. What about compositing? What about experimenting with what you create? So with this image here, it's what I would call a macro shot of a dandelion weed and uh be put together, Why not take your macro photography to a whole nother level and do some compositing. I like to shoot all sorts of things. So I've got this shot of this mushroom with my little wooden figures again, all shot mobile and composited with um uh Photoshop. So let me talk about this for a second about the ecosystem and compositing and macro, it is so easy to shoot. So you go out there and you shoot your mushrooms or whatever. And then once I shut those mushrooms, I was really interested in the scale. The scale was very interesting to me and I thought, oh, wouldn't that be fun to have a little, little critter my man my like to shoot my wooden dolls. And then I just went outside and posed my doll and then because of this ecosystem of labrum, it is so easy to go back and forth between mobile and when I say mobile, I mean your phone to your ipad. So maybe you do this compositing with Photoshop on the ipad, why not? It's so easy or lickety split. You come over here, the same images on your desktop version of light room. It is so seamless and from here, editing in Photoshop Clickety click click click boom. You are in Photoshop so free your mind about this this um photo system. It's not just phone and you gotta do everything on your phone. You can, in seconds and minutes move from the phone to the pad to the desktop. So try some compositing with your macro. Why not?

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