Spring is long gone, and summer ended almost a month ago, but that doesn’t mean the time for capturing great macro images is over. There are many opportunities to pursue close-up photography year-round.
While flowers are no longer budding, and insects aren’t plentiful in autumn and winter, there are a myriad of other great macro subjects indoors and out, from stamps, jewelry and other small objects, to fascinating snowflakes in the dead of winter.
In the video below, you’ll learn how to create pin-sharp macro photos—even without a tripod. Photographer and instructor Andrew Lanxon has been working as a pro for over a decade, and he walks you through a simple focus-staking process in Photoshop and Lightroom from start to finish.
Lanxon also demonstrates how easy it is to remove dirt and other small artifacts from an image, and he provides a few color-grading techniques for creating a variety of interesting effects. And if you want to learn how he shot the image used for this tutorial, there’s a link to that episode in the description this video.
If you’re wondering how Lanxon makes these dreamy and dramatic macro photographs without a tripod, secret to that is how handles the Raw files during the editing process. He begins with a side-lit image of a mushroom that he shot in Scotland, and shows you how it’s done.
By using focus staking, Lanxon is able to maintain critical sharpness throughout all areas of the mushroom, even though he intentionally shot with a wide aperture to minimize depth of field—thereby separating his key subject from a soft background. That approach, and a few other quick editing tricks, turns a nice shot into a great one.
Lanxon’s YouTube channel offers a wide variety of instructional advice, so be sure and take a look.