Photography and digital image manipulation

Macro and close-up photography with Tracy Calder

Ref: SWE09270

Suitable for all


Course cancelled - scroll down for other

About this course

Explore the huge potential of macro and close-up photography. Flowers, insects, intimate landscapes and man-made objects will be covered, with tips and tricks to help you perfect your technique.

Course Description

Create showstopping pictures and explore the huge creative potential of macro and close-up photography, leading to visually arresting images that encourage the viewer to see the world anew.

Close-up and macro photography requires the adoption of a childlike curiosity. By studying a subject in detail you begin to understand its intricate beauty - you notice the subtle curve of a shell on a beach, for example, or the complementary colours of two flowers in a garden. What's more, by remaining receptive you allow the subject to dictate your approach leading to visually arresting images that encourage the viewer to see the world anew. Flowers, insects, intimate landscapes, and manmade objects will all be covered, with tips and tricks to help you perfect your technique and create show stopping pictures.

If, for example, the shell has a flaw that threatens to spoil your picture, you can adjust yourself or your technique to play down or eliminate the imperfection. Similarly, if flowers are blowing in the wind, you can create a homemade windbreak to arrest their movement. These are just some of the many techniques we will be exploring during the course.

While we must learn to respond to the subject, we must also understand how to control as many of the variables as possible. Through a series of practical exercises, we will learn to make the best of opportunities presented to us, resulting in unique, meaningful pictures.

One of the many joys of close-up and macro photography is the size of the stage on which we perform. While landscape photographers sweat and stress over the shape of a tree or the condition of foreground flowers, close-up and macro photographers have the advantage of working on a much smaller scale. During the course we will learn how to maximise the potential of this mini stage.

Close-up and macro photography is not without its challenges. Many great images appear to have been created without effort, but in reality they are the result of good photographic technique, combined with personal style and vision. During the course we will learn how to use the equipment at our disposal, whether a top-of-the-range DSLR, compact or camera phone, to best communicate our vision.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials

What students need to bring

  • You are required to bring a digital camera and lens (a dedicated macro lens is preferable, but any lens that allows close focusing and manual focus will suffice), charged battery (and preferably a spare), plenty of clear memory cards, suitable clothing for outdoor sessions (preferably warm, waterproof trousers).
  • Fully working digital camera or camera phone and lenses (where appropriate)
  • Fully charged camera batteries (and charger if possible)
  • Camera/phone-to-computer cables, camera instruction manual (if available)
  • Tripod (if available), any accessories you commonly use for photography
  • Pen and paper
  • Clothing suitable for working outdoors: walking boots or waterproof shoes, waterproof trousers (if possible)
  • USB stick, plenty of empty memory cards

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • USB memory sticks

Please note: You need a basic understanding of how your camera works, a lens that allows close focusing, and a tripod or other firm support. We may be carrying out basic adjustments in Adobe Photoshop and/or Lightroom, but minimal instruction will be given in post-processing.


Tracy Calder

Tracy Hallett is a former editor of Outdoor Photography magazine, and currently works as Technique Editor at Amateur Photographer magazine. She has written various photography books, including Close-up & Macro Photography (which was recently translated into Chinese and French). Her work has been exhibited at The Photographers' Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery in London.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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