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The Outdoor Enthusiast's Guide to Photography & Motion

Lesson 35 of 67

Composition for Stills: Macro Lens

Ian Shive

The Outdoor Enthusiast's Guide to Photography & Motion

Ian Shive

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Lesson Info

35. Composition for Stills: Macro Lens


  Class Trailer
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1 Bootcamp Introduction Duration:06:35
4 Storytelling in Motion Duration:34:19
6 Gear for Drones Duration:02:53
7 Gear for Motion Duration:05:23
8 Inside Ian's Gear Bag Duration:20:07
10 Virtual Scouting Duration:03:54
11 Weather Duration:10:17
12 Permits and Permission Duration:03:09
13 Model and Property Releases Duration:04:43
14 Health and Fitness Duration:03:04
15 Checklist Duration:03:20
16 Location Scouting Overview Duration:15:18
18 Drone Introduction Duration:14:59
19 Drone Safety Duration:03:26
22 Telling a Story With a Drone Duration:06:15
24 Selling Drone Footage Duration:02:39
26 Establish the End User Duration:06:35
27 Identify Your Audience Duration:03:12
28 Build a Production Plan Duration:05:28
29 Create the Story Structure Duration:04:26
30 The Shooting Script Duration:07:08
31 Production Quality Duration:08:37
32 Composition for Stills Duration:08:04
38 Capturing Landscapes - Part 1 Duration:28:12
39 Capturing Landscapes - Part 2 Duration:23:36
40 Capturing Movement in Stills Duration:32:17
42 Understanding Stock Duration:20:45
43 Editorial vs Commerical Duration:03:57
44 Pricing Stock Duration:05:40
45 Producing Stock Duration:14:49
47 Choosing an Agency Duration:08:58
49 Stock Photography Market Duration:05:28
50 Create A Style Guide Duration:05:30
51 Stock Shoot Analysis Duration:21:29
57 Editing to the Content Duration:05:00
58 Music as a Character Duration:05:41
59 Business Diversification Duration:07:07
60 Business Strategy Duration:04:57
61 Pillars of Revenue Duration:17:09
62 Branding Duration:06:36
64 Galleries and Fine Art Duration:03:11
65 Budgeting Duration:05:21
66 The Future of Photography Duration:26:12
67 Q&A And Critique Duration:1:09:39

Lesson Info

Composition for Stills: Macro Lens

I love to get out my Mac Rowlands, and talk about how compositions completely differ in exactly the same spot and with exactly the same subject matter. So I switched to my macro set up. I've got the mil, my tried and true from the state of manual focus. And I'm gonna start with my two extension to start with these because I'm the light is going down and I want to be able to move relatively quickly. I'm gonna handhold for now. At least I'm gonna try to and see how much I can get done like this. Thankfully, there's very, very little wind. There's a still very light breeze every now and then, but it's it's still and that's really what you want for Macro and the extension tubes. They're going to help me focus really, really close. I can almost halve the front element of the lens when I'm all the way out at one toe. One ah, with these extension tubes, where I'm getting a greater than life sized two times three times greater than life size. When I'm capturing these, I can almost touch the s...

ubject matter of the lens. The problem is sometimes you're blocking light with your own lens, you have to be really mindful of how you're going to compose and what you're working with. So I'm going to go and work the scene with this from the start handheld. The nice part is I could go to a tripod of any to, because it is so still. Usually you handhold because the situation's changing quite a bit in the winds moving or whenever the variables are. And it's just obviously easier to focus like this versus like this, because the movements are pretty big. So right now, compositionally unlike a telephoto lens with a wide angle. Because you're looking at something twice the size or more of life size than you're not really thinking about showing the whole picture, you're showing just elements of the picture pieces of the picture. And so, for me, what I'm looking for is the artistry and detail and beauty that happens in nature in patterns in all of the little subtle sort of things that happened on a very micro, almost microscopic level, really, on a lot of levels. So a lot of these plants, when you get up close to them and you look at them. Even before you begin taking pictures, you start to see all the little squiggly lines on the stamen and the pollen aggregating on the pedals and insects that call them home in all of their little worlds. It gives you an opportunity to really look at those things and turn them into, in many ways, very artistic images when certain elements are probably gonna be grossly out of focus. It's that nice, rich, sort of creamy, out of focus background that people like in portraiture on. And it's something that certainly works very well in nature photography with macro. So I'm gonna start looking at some compositions. I gotta work quickly with the light, and I'll talk my way through it and tell you what I'm seeing. But a lot of it is really well, the devil's in the details, right? So you could see how close I'm getting here, and you're gonna want to shoot a ton of frames. I'm shooting at two a, which is like insanely shallow. I'm getting 1/40 of a second. I'm at I s 0 400 and I'm looking just to see if I'm getting too much motion. Blur and that barely anything breeze that I was talking about way too much for right now. So I'm actually gonna go toe I s 0 800 because I'd rather have I'm gonna go to three point to get a little more depth of field. So it's not so shallow and is it still gets still the air. I'm gonna move back in and go for the same thing. Now it's still moving around a lot, but it's a lot better. And I'd rather have a sharp image at I s 100 and a useless image at I s 0 400 And the goal really is to just make sure that you're getting all of those pieces that you want. If you're really running out of light the other way, we can jazz up our macro is external light and using a flash and a little fill light. But that could be very tricky to keep it looking natural. We've already got a great soft box going upon up above us. So I'm gonna try to keep working this. I'm gonna go back down to 2.8 because it is pretty dark in here. I'm going to see if I can get more interesting composition. So I'm looking at all these little tiny things dangling off the pedals, resuming on those and you'll notice you can't tell my body. Sort of like bobbing in and out like it. And thats me actually focusing. We're trying to focus, and I will tell you it is a very frustrating, slow process to keep things in focus. With two extension tubes on the 50 when you're going to and three times life size, it's almost impossible to get really good images that are going to be as in focus and sharp is you'd like. So a tripod and increasing your depth of field might get closer, but it's that's even slower up that so slow. What's happening to me here is about getting the shot. It's just so out of focus. But every now and then you get one that isn't focus. It really brings out the detail. So the key is shoot a lot. Keep shooting frame after frame, no matter how pro you are. Your second. Yeah, a lot of shots that are out of focus. Somebody keep working a little bit more and see if I can find some details in here that are gonna work for me. And what I'm gonna do is actually get rid of the extension tubes and show how big of a difference you get with that. Who? All right, so still pretty tough, low light. Gonna get myself more lights. Let me get rid of these. Things are just going to use the 50 shoot 1 to 1 or life size extension tubes in my pocket. Now, I've already added by doing that, probably at least a full stop. Maybe even two. They just reduce the amount of light in the chamber when you do that. But they also mean you can't get as close as you were. So now I've got to get further away. So when they get further away with a 50 mil Macro, those compositions I liked those little tiny details. They're not as much of a possibility now. So now I need to start thinking about background again, a lot like the telephoto, but on a different level. Rather than trying to get the whole bouquet of flowers, I'm gonna simply try and focus on a couple paying attention to what's in the background and giving color and then using the front one as my subject matter, or maybe even the background flower as my subject matter. In the front one out of focus, you can hear already just that shutter speed, how much faster it is. And now, instead of focusing on my body, I'm focusing with my focus ring. No combination of both. Pretty tricky, but still showing pretty nice color texture things like that going on around there. Mastering the technical aspects of photography is not always, or even really, at the top of the list of the most important things. It's something that, really, if you read the book that comes with your camera, you probably figure it all out. Eventually. A composition takes a lot of work, a lot of dedication and a lot of practice. It takes technique, ideas, creativity, and you have to be able to push your own boundaries. Sometimes that means mosquito wise. Sometimes it means working past the late hours of the day, especially in the summer months, like we're doing right now in North Cascades National Park. And this lesson really created a great foundation for you to go out and express your own creativity in all of your compositions.

Class Description

Great outdoor photography starts with a love of adventure and exploration. Learn to maximize your skills and optimize your potential with this complete guide to capturing photos and video in the great outdoors. Award-winning photographer and filmmaker Ian Shive will go in-depth on how to create a story through stills and motion in any environment.

Throughout these lessons, Ian will cover scouting and planning, capturing photo and video, and understanding how to get an audience for your final project
Ian will cover:

  • Permit needs and location scouting essentials
  • Gear basics & prep
  • Introduction to using drones
  • Fundamentals of moving from still photography to capturing video
  • How to capture landscapes 
  • Composition and lighting techniques
  • How to handle low-light situations
  • How to capture for stock photography and video
  • Getting your work seen in print and publications
  • And more!

For four weeks, Ian will be your outdoor guide to capturing the beauty and greatness in nature. If you have a love for nature or adventure, join this class to learn how to turn your passion and social media posts into profit or exposure. 



Ian was an amazing instructor.; very fun, enthusiastic, encouraging, and comprehensive. I hope to be able to return as an audience member for another of his classes. It is a privilege and a gift to have access via Creative Live to such a wealth of expertise. Thank you!

Cindee Still

Ian Shive is a dynamic speaker with a wealth of knowledge he is willing to share. He has had a magical path that led to his success. He touches on so many aspects of making, selling and creating images as well as how to market them and make an income from your work. It is so much fun to be part of the studio audience. The Creative Live staff are always so warm and friendly and they feed you like your on a cruise ship! Wonderful experience.


What a great class this has been. Thank you Ian Shive and Creative Live! Recently retired, I have set out to learn everything I can about photography and pursue this passion to capture the beauty in the outdoors. Creative Live has served as an amazing educational platform to help me learn everything from how to use my camera, the fundamental technicals, and learn about software and tools. This class brought it all together. At the end of this class my approach to photography and my images are different. Ian shares so much valuable knowledge that will change the way you go about taking a picture; from scouting a location, to thinking through the story and adding elements to an image to evoke an emotional response. My personal growth has been significant and I have changed to the way I approach creating an image from an Outdoor Landscape to an Outdoor Experience. Loved every minute of it, sad the class is over.