Heather Angel

Macro Photography

  • Recommended


    Includes personal feedback and tuition. More

  • $75

    Learn in an online classroom with no more than 20 classmates. More

Course Description

Photographer Heather Angel teaches you the art of macro photography, from using your camera for macro photos to finding creative inspiration for the best close-up shots.

What is Macro Photography?

Macro photography is the art of producing photos of small objects (often every day items or insects) at a larger than life size. When you take macro photographs you'll often reveal unexpected shapes, colours or patterns and details you can't see with the naked eye.

Heather will share her secrets behind some of her memorable macro shots and offer tips and hints for shooting macro outdoors and inside.

The great thing about working at close range is that macro photography subjects are everywhere, you just have to develop a seeing eye for beauty, texture and design.

You'll learn:

  • choosing the right equipment
  • using ambient light (and modifying light)
  • using depth of field creatively
  • time-lapse photography
  • focus stacking

Images range from flowers, leaves, seeds, fruits and aquatic life to coins, glass, jewellery and food. Amongst these are examples of patterns and designs.

You will appreciate just how effective a reflector, a diffuser or fill-flash can be at changing the light; how to use depth of field creatively and how to meter tricky low key and high key subjects.

You'll also learn how to work safely at night and how to set up a mini macro studio on a table for still life studies; also how to gain a white background for objects to display on websites or for promotional photos.

Time to complete this macro photography course:

Every student is different but in general we think the whole course will take around 13 hours 35 minutes to complete including:

  • Video lessons: 1 hour 35 minutes in total
  • Course notes: 30 minutes per lesson
  • Assignment: at least 2 hours per lesson
  • Interactive classroom time: 15 minutes per lesson
  • tutor feedback review (Expert level): 15 minutes per lesson
  • The course includes:

    • On-demand video lessons - presented by Heather Angel
    • lifetime access to the video, notes and interactive class
    • flexible classes - join and learn when and where you like
    • downloadable lesson notes
    • practical (optional) macro photography assignments
    • access on your mobile, PC, Mac or laptop
    • small interactive online classroom chat online to students from around the world

    Ready to get started?

    Just add the course to your basket above - choose the 'Expert' option for personal feedback from Heather on your photos.

    Any questions? Contact us by clicking on the orange speech symbol - we'd love to hear from you.



    For macro outside

    Preferably a DSLR camera with a macro lens, but close-up filters or extension tubes with a standard lens will also work

    A tripod will give consistently better results for static subjects

    Useful accessories

    A reflector (this can be made from cooking foil wrapped around cardboard)

    A diffuser (this can be made from fine white cotton stretched over an opened up wire coat hanger)

    A flash - not essential

    Knee pads

    Bin liner for resting gear on wet/muddy ground

    Plamp for holding stems steady

    String for tying back branches

    For macro inside

    Preferably a DSLR camera with a macro lens, but close-up filters or extension tubes with a standard lens will also work

    A tripod (see above)

    Useful accessories

    A reflector (as above)

    A diffuser (as above)

    A flash - either on-camera or a separate flash

    Props for still life – miniature containers, stone slabs, sand

    LED torch or reading light

    Coloured card for backgrounds

    A lightbox – not essential


    Anywhere – both outside and inside. Could all be in own garden and home or anywhere within easy reach of where you live.

    CPD Accreditation

    Course activity has been accredited by the CPD Standards Office (CPDSO). The course equates to 13 hours, 35 minutes of CPD learning.
    The CPD Standards Office. CPD Provider: 50276.

    Course outline

    • A Seeing Eye

      The first lesson introduces the world of macro by showing images taken both outside and indoors and emphasises the need to look is all important.

      Learn what equipment is needed for getting in close and discover the importance of depth of field in macro work, so you know when to use it creatively or to maximise it.

      The structure of the subject will tell you how best to light it whether it be translucent leaves, textured bark, hairy stems or a reflective surface. Remember where the sensor plane lies and look beyond the subject to check the background is harmonious.

    • Outside Macro

      This lesson is devoted to working outdoors and covers how to modify natural light for the best results. Comparative pairs of pictures clearly show the effect before and after using a reflector or a diffuser and learn how to use flash with confidence – especially fill-flash.

      Learn how to use different ways to isolate the subject from the background and when to 'garden'. Understand high key and low key macro subjects and how to meter them. When to use a versatile tripod and when to handhold and switch on VR or IS are basic decisions for all macro work.

      Explore the macro world at night using either flash or LED lights.

    • Inside Macro

      This lesson is devoted to working indoors and covers many ways to light macro subjects – from natural window light, to flash and continuous artificial lighting. Learn how to set up a mini macro studio on a table for still life studies.

      Use a LED torch or headlight as a macro spotlight and find a lightbox for backlighting translucent subjects.

      Get to know the best lighting set-ups to take flowers / glass / jewellery / ornaments / seeds / feathers and iridescent subjects. Learn how to work with a light tent and how to shoot objects that stand out from a white background for web use, including selling items on ebay.

    • Special Macro Techniques

      Finally, learn exciting techniques such as using raindrops as miniature fish-eye lenses and how to shoot iridescent subjects including soap bubbles, beetles and feathers. Marvel at how some subjects glow brightly against a black backdrop and learn how to set up dark field illumination.

      Learn how to set up and shoot thematic series and how to take macro time lapse sequences.

      Consider how best to frame different shaped macro subjects and how more impact can sometimes be gained by varying the composition or adjusting the crop – in or out of the camera.

      Learn how to gain extra depth of field with focus stacking.

    Choose how you want to learn

    • The Expert option


      Develop your learning further with marked assignments and personal tuition from Heather Angel

      • Start course whenever you like
      • 4 weeks tutor access for personalised assignment feedback & coaching
      • 4 assignments marked by Heather Angel
      • Certificate of completion and CPD hours
      • Online classroom with up to 20 classmates
      • 4 lessons with expert videos & notes
      • Group chat & direct message with tutor & classmates
      • Lifetime access to videos, notes & classroom
      Learn more
    • The Peer option

      Discover the benefits of group learning in an online interactive classroom of no more than 20 people. Get the most from shared knowledge and community study

      • Start course whenever you like
      • Practise what you learn with your peers
      • Online classroom with up to 20 classmates
      • 4 lessons with expert videos & notes
      • 4 course assignments
      • Group chat & direct message classmates
      • Lifetime access to videos, notes & classroom
      Learn more

    Buy this course for a business or group

    You can now buy this course through your business or organisation for individuals and groups up to 20

    Photography classroom - how it works

    • Start anytime

      Watch video tutorials led by expert tutors

      Watch video tutorials led by expert tutors
    • Test yourself

      Practice what you learn with inspiring assignments

      Practice what you learn with inspiring assignments
    • Personal tuition

      Get assignment feedback from expert tutors

      Get assignment feedback from expert tutors
    • Share ideas

      Collaborate and chat directly to classmates

      Collaborate and chat directly to classmates

    Meet Heather Angel

    Heather Angel - Photography
    Heather Angel abandoned a career as a marine biologist to become a peripatetic wildlife photographer - with 32 visits to China alone. As well as being a prodigious writer (her 60th title appeared in 2015), she also lectures and runs workshops. Heather is at the forefront of nature photography and her work is recognised by worldwide awards. In 1975 Heather was awarded the Royal Photographic Society's Hood Medal for her contribution to the advancement of nature photography through her books, her teaching, her exhibition work and her encouragement of other nature photographers.

    From 1984-86 Heather was President of the Royal Photographic Society and she is a Visiting Professor at Nottingham University. Major exhibitions of her work have been shown worldwide. Most recently, Heather has experimented with lighting techniques for macro subjects as well as taking many hundreds of focus stacks for Pollination Power – a 5 year project that combines art and science for the RBG Kew.

    I'm a roaming wildlife photographer with four great passions - mammals, lighting for macros, making plants look exciting and offbeat China (it really does exist!).

    Press quotes
    A phenomenon in both natural science and professional photography, Heather Angel is an example of all that is best in both disciplines.
    The Master Photographer

    Heather manages to spot and bring to life insignificant parts of the natural world.
    David Attenborough

    Heather Angel has over the course of a long career written her story in hundreds of thousands of images that have served to inform us, enlighten us and elevate our spirits.
    Gray Levett, Editor, Nikon Owner Magazine

    For Heather's blog, galleries and workshops http://www.heatherangelphotography.co.uk
    Twitter @angelantics
    Instagram heatherangelphotography

    Portrait photo credit: Derek Tamea.

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    Awards & Accreditations

    • Royal Horticultural Society - Approved Centre 2023-2024
    • Royal Horticultural Society
    • CPD Accredited (provider 50276)
    • Digital Education Awards 2023 Winner for Digital Health and Wellbeing Learning Product of the Year
    • Digital Education Awards 2023 Winner for Adult Home Learning Product of the Year