Macro Photography at Home

Using an entry-level DSLR camera, Karl shows you how to take great macro photographs in a studio using minimal equipment.

In this class, Karl shows you a simple tabletop setup that you can easily replicate yourself to create an amazing abstract macro photo. He explains his lighting setup and camera settings and also gives an overview of how to use a speedlight.

In this class:

  • Macro photography ideas to try at home
  • Camera settings for macro photography
  • Lighting setups for macro photography
  • How to use a speedlight for macro photography
  • Understanding aperture and depth of field

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.


  1. Really simple technique, instead of the white surface and hand held flash, can I just use a softbox below the glass surface? Just to make it a bit easier with handling the camera?

    1. Hi, well you are on the right platform to learn about light but we don’t use settings, we use the power of the light up or down like a volume dial between maximum and minimum. The key thing is learning what you can do with light, how you can control it and modify it to make it look better, the only thing with light is how much do you need, do you need more or less based on the aperture you plan to shoot at. I’d encourage you to watch the entire lighting theory section and then by the end of that you will have a lot of ideas.

    1. Hi- was there any ambient light in this shot? I saw several large continuous lights for the video and wondered if the fruit was lit by them from the top or whether all the light came from underneath. Ta

  2. I’d be interested in watching a video that deals with diffraction in lenses. According to some reviews of lenses I own, I have shot at between f/8-f/11 in most situations to avoid diffraction. However, you pointed out that f/16 is better for enhancing depth of field in the context of focusing on both eyes in a face turned away from the camera. I tried it, and have been shooting at f/16 for a few weeks.

    On the plus side, focus stacks look a lot better. At f/11 or or more, I’d get alternating stripes of in-focus and out of focus regions, separated at roughly 2mm intervals. At f/16, it is smooth. That said, I have just run across an article that recommends shooting in the f/8-f/11 range for my specific camera and lens to avoid diffraction. According to the article, at f/11, resolution is almost constant across the sensor at about 6,935 lines per picture height. At f/16, it goes down to 5,806 lines, which seems like a huge drop to me. That said, I’m not even sure what loss of resolution due to diffraction looks like and would like to know more about the subject.

    The main question in my mind is if the defraction-related loss of resolution is acceptable in exchange for greater depth of field.

    1. I can answer that for you now. In most cases the ‘sweet spot’ of the lens will be at f11 and on my medium format lenses I will undertake most ‘stacking’ shots at f11 unless there is going to be an absurd amount of stacks but by and large f16 on medium format for a single shot is highly acceptable given the extra DOF especially on beauty/fashion/product shots. I’ve run tests and any diffraction is minimal and can usually be eliminated in post with local contrast (USM) techniques. I can describe the effect of diffraction as a reduction in local contrast, a very slight appearance of haze in very small localised areas where you would expect higher contrast for example where a black edge meets a lighter tone. If you really want to see it take the same still life high contrast object at f11 and then at f32 and then it will be noticeable but at f16 not a problem.

  3. I presume putting the flash in manual mode, it ignores the TTL data the camera would normal send when coupled to a flexible flash cable? Basically just a trigger.

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