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Why Macro Photography?

Lesson 8 from: The Art of Seeing: Macro Techniques for Flowers and Plants

Frans Lanting

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Lesson Info

8. Why Macro Photography?

Lesson Info

Why Macro Photography?

We've been very focused on the technicalities in macro photography but let's not lose sight of the bigger picture you know. Why are we drawn to plants? And why are plants important? I mentioned that a little bit when I talked about the importance of botanical gardens but in a bigger sense how can we elevate plants to become indicators for the health of our planet? That is really what it's about for me. I don't just photograph plants because they're pretty. To me they're part of the fabric of our planet. I do that a lot with wildlife and it's easy to make people feel like there's something going on that they need to be part of, to a solution for when you photograph polar bears or penguins. It's not so easy to elevate plants to the status of being stakeholders in a sustainable world for which we need to take responsibility. But I would like to urge each and every one of you here in the audience and all of those of you who are watching around the planet to use your plant photography as le...

verage for creating awareness and you can all do that. No matter at which level you photograph and what you aim your camera on. We talked a little bit about the importance of botanical gardens. There was a question earlier today about the protocols of taking pictures in botanical gardens and my initial answer was, "Well make sure that you don't interrupt "the experience of other visitors." But let me flip it around. If you like to photograph plants, why not go visit a botanical garden and offer yourself up as a person who can make pictures that can be used by that botanical garden because then you put yourself in the service of plant conservation and you're going to find out that the botanist and the curators in that garden are going to show you things and give you permission to do things that make you more than an ordinary visitor. Then you do something with your pictures and isn't that what we all aspire to? Yes, it begins with the process of you being lured into the natural world. You're attracted by the beauty or by the sheer wonder of it but once you get good at making pictures your next question is probably, "Now what can I do with these photographs?" Yes you can show them to your family and to your friends but that gives you a finite audience. The next step is to start thinking about who you can connect with those pictures. So, myself, I work for publication. I work to use my pictures in a pubic discourse. I use that discourse through books and magazines and two exhibitions but my wife and I are also very active in conservation organizations. We donate images, we donate resources and we give our talent to them and I think that each and every one of us can follow a similar path. You know you can always find a connection in your own community or at another level, you can draw a bigger audience into what inspires you to focus your camera on plants and flowers and other things that show in a small way how grandiose the world is. I just wanted to say that Jim, 'cause that to me, is the bigger picture. Yep, love it, thank you.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Bonus Video: Student Story - Doug
Bonus Video: Student Story - Kate
Bonus Video: Patterns & Multiple Exposures

Ratings and Reviews

JIll C.

I had the pleasure of participating in this class as part of the live studio audience in the Creative Live San Francisco studios. I really enjoyed the format in which two students had been pre-selected to visit the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum for a photo shoot with Frans Lanting about a week in advance of the class; then the videos were edited and played out during the class. Frans stopped the video frequently to clarify and supplement the information provided, so we weren't just sitting in a room watching pre-recorded material. Nor were we just listening to him lecture for hours. It was actually a surprisingly dynamic format. I also enjoyed the final session in which student-submitted images were critiqued by Frans and edited by Jim Cetechi (Creative Live host) real-time. It was interesting to learn how our images could be improved with just a few simple techniques, e.g. cropping, contrast, highlights etc. - all done in Lightroom. Frans helped us to see the potential for perfection in each image. I was thrilled when he didn't find anything to "fix" in my images :) Frans seems to truly enjoy "playing with plants", and helped us think about how we can use our photography to portray the beauty and significance of the natural world. I like the fact that he helped us to think about the potential of photography as more than just a hobby. He is an enthusiastic and personable trainer, well-versed in all aspects of photography, not just macro photos. I can't wait to add some of his techniques to my photography arsenal.

North San Francisco Bay

This workshop will give you everything you need to start macro photography, appreciate macro photography, and/or take your personal skill set to the next level. Frans really is a fantastic instructor whose love of teaching is obvious and infectious. He provides you the technical tools, inspiration, and has a unique ability to help you refine your own vision while simultaneously broadening the possibilities of that same vision. His respect for individual artistry coupled with his fined tuned eye of decades of experience puts him in a very elite class of photography instructors. You can expect to have a list of gear (much of out inexpensive and very effective) to put on your wish list as well as the urge to immediately go out and try what you have learned. If you have gone so far as to read this whole recommendation then go ahead and purchase the class. You won't regret it. Have fun!

a Creativelive Student

Frans is an inspiration. Not only is he an incredible photographer, but also he is an equally wonderful teacher. His ability to explain both the simple and complex in easy terms -- as well is the ease with which he shows as he speaks -- makes learning from him a treat. You can also see him come alive with excitement as he 'plays with plants' which makes you all the more excited. So glad I was able to take this course with him! Thanks, CL!

Student Work