Are you looking for the best macro photography course?
One that will take your macro skills to the next level, fast?
That’s what this article is all about.
I’m going to give you the best of the best macro photography courses, all of which are guaranteed to improve your images.
Fortunately, there are a number of great macro photography courses out there–some of them created by the best macro photographers on the planet.
Which means that you have some great options to choose from, starting with:
Course For: Beginners, Intermediates, Advanced
Pros: Hands-on, comprehensive course, inspiring examples, amazing instruction
Cons: Not much content on post-processing
If I could tell every photographer to buy just one macro photography course, it would be this one:
Sure, it’s a flower photography course, which means that it doesn’t directly address other macro subjects such as insects.
But the lessons that Kathleen Clemons provides are invaluable, and they can be applied to every form of macro photography, including insects and including small natural details (e.g., leaves, tree bark, water reflections).
The course is extremely comprehensive, packing 3 hours and 51 minutes of high-quality video content. And it covers everything you need to know if you want to capture stunning macro photos. Kathleen gets the ball rolling with a discussion of gear, then moves to lighting, composition, and subject choice.
By the time you finish, you’ll be a macro photography expert.
What also makes this course compelling is that it’s taught by an absolute master of the craft. Kathleen Clemons is one of the best macro/flower photographers in the world, someone who produces stunning image after stunning image, and she has complete command over her photographic process.
By the way, you don’t have to take my word for it. Take a look at some of the comments giving by a few of her (45,000+) students:
- “I absolutely love this class…I have learned so much and I want to thank Kathleen from the bottom of my heart for her inspiration and incredible generosity in partaking her knowledge.”
- “One of the most thorough courses I’ve seen. Ms. Clemons is well organized; each section is clear and well-presented…All in all, an inspiring and well-taught course.”
- “This class is really awesome…I’m sure it will greatly improve all of my photos.”
You can grab The Art of Flower Photography on Creative Live for $99 USD–a steal, given the amount of instruction you get!
Course For: Beginners
Pros: Clear instruction, hands-on examples in course sequel, Bill Fortney is a world-class nature photography expert
Cons: Somewhat technical, lacking in-the-field examples, not very comprehensive
KelbyOne is the Netflix of online photography education. It’s a comprehensive, subscription-based site, it’s taught by some of the best photographers and educators out there, and it’s incredibly affordable.
(To learn more about KelbyOne, click here!)
In other words:
If you’re not already a KelbyOne member, you should be.
Now, Close-Up: An Introduction to Macro Photography comes from the earlier days of KelbyOne, but don’t let that fool you; Bill Fortney is a world-renown photographer at the top of his game, and his teaching is excellent. He takes you through the macro photography basics, from equipment to depth of field to lighting.
And what he doesn’t cover in his first course–such as practical macro photography examples that you can get started with immediately–is thoroughly discussed in the sequel:
That’s where you’ll learn how to capture stunning images of:
- Oil and water
- Much more!
Honestly, it would’ve been nice if the two macro courses were packed together (each one is only just over an hour). But given how a subscription to KelbyOne works–with a once-a-month payment that guarantees you access to all videos–it isn’t much of an issue.
Compared to the other courses on this list, I do have a few notes:
First, Close-Up is rather technical at points (e.g., compared to the Art of Flower Photography, which is more practical and intuitive). It often feels like you’re sitting in a university classroom, rather than getting out and taking photos; this isn’t necessarily bad, but if you prefer an outdoorsy-type course, the Art of Flower Photography is a better buy.
Second, the course isn’t nearly as comprehensive as some of your other options. The original Close-Up is only an hour, and even when watched back-to-back with the second course, instruction barely pushes two hours. That means that some content areas are going to be skimmed over, such as composition, as well as post-processing.
Compare that to The Art of Flower Photography, which offers nearly four hours of instruction and covers everything you could want to know, or The Macro Photography Course (reviewed below), which isn’t significantly longer but spends a lot of time on macro photography post-processing.
One thing to bear in mind is that you can pay just $20/month and you’ll have access to every single KelbyOne course–including the Close-Up series, but also approximately 800 other courses, covering topics on Lightroom, Photoshop, landscape photography, portrait photography, and so much more.
So even if you think you might want a more comprehensive macro photography course, it’s probably worth trying the membership for a month or two to decide what you think (and take a few other courses on KelbyOne while you’re at it!).
Best For: Beginners, Intermediate, Advanced
Pros: Hands-on examples, focus on high-magnification macro, heavy post-processing emphasis
Cons: Post-processing instruction uses ON1 Photo RAW software
If you’ve been active in the macro photography space, you’ve probably been rendered speechless by at least one of Don Komarechka’s photos–they’re just that good. Don is known for his technical prowess, which allows him to capture breathtaking high magnification images of snowflakes, leaves, flowers, and more…
…and in this course, he’ll show you how you can capture photos just like his.
Don’s course is only around two hours, but he still manages to cover all of the key aspects of macro photography, including:
- Depth of field
But what makes this course stand apart, and what makes it suitable for all photographers–from beginners to experts–is Don’s coverage of his post-processing techniques.
While other macro photography courses out there touch briefly on post-processing, Don spends the second half of the course focusing solely on editing. He takes you through step-by-step examples of specific editing scenarios, so that you get a real sense of how your images can be enhanced through editing.
In my experience, this is where a lot of macro photographers struggle, even once they’ve got down the fundamentals. Figuring out all the technical ins-and-outs of processing your images is hard, but Don Komarechka makes it simple and accessible for everyone.
One thing to note is that the post-processing instruction does rely heavily on ON1 Photo RAW, an image processing software (often positioned as a Lightroom alternative). The reliance on ON1 Photo RAW isn’t exactly a surprise, considering that the course was created in partnership with ON1–but it might give non-ON1 users pause.
Honestly, ON1 Photo RAW isn’t that different from Lightroom, Luminar, or Capture One, which means that you should be able to follow (and apply) Don’s editing instruction even if you’d prefer not to download ON1 Photo RAW.
You also have the option of grabbing an ON1 Photo RAW free trial, which you can use while you watch the course.
(And if you decide you like ON1 Photo RAW, you can always switch over.)
It’s really a topic for another article, but I do think that ON1 Photo RAW is a good alternative to Adobe Lightroom, and for just $70 USD, it’s a bargain.
(To learn more about ON1 Photo RAW, click here.)
The Macro Photography Course is a great option for everyone, ON1 users and non-ON1 users alike.
To gain access to the course, you simply have to join ON1 Plus, which costs $80 USD for a year’s subscription (and comes with lots of bonuses, such as an ON1 processing course, a printing course, a focus stacking course, and more).
By the way…
If you want to keep improving your macro photography, then I have something you’re going to love:
My FREE macro photography cheat sheet, designed specifically to help you capture stunning photos, consistently.
It’s thousands of hours of experience, all condensed into one short document.
To gain instant access, click here:
Best For: Beginners
Pros: Broad overview of macro photography, clear instruction, discussion of setting up an indoor macro photography studio
Cons: Very short course, lacks in-depth exploration of topics
Joseph Linaschke’s Shooting Macros and Close-Ups course is helpful, it’s short, and it’s sweet.
Which makes it a great option for any photographers looking to explore macro photography without really going all in.
The Photography 101 course begins with a discussion of gear, before diving into various subjects and techniques. In just 1 hour and 14 minutes of instruction, you’ll learn:
- How to photograph flowers
- How to shoot outdoors and how to shoot indoors
- How to create a studio for indoor macro photography
- How to work with different types of light for beautiful macro images
- How to capture beautiful macro images of pets
- How to use your phone for stunning macro shots
What’s nice about this course is how broad it is in its scope. Joseph touches on all aspects of macro photography, including flower photography, insect photography, pet photography, and more. He also gives you some excellent quick tips for doing macro photography on a phone–an increasingly-popular area of macro photography that none of the other courses mention.
Of course, a one hour course can’t be very comprehensive, and Photography 101: Shooting Macros and Close-Ups is no exception. You’re not going to get the in-depth instruction in artistic composition that the Art of Flower Photography provides, nor will you get Bill Fortney’s technical knowledge or Don Komarechka’s post-processing instruction.
But you will get a nice overview of nearly every core macro photography topic, plus a few bonuses (e.g., the pet photography lesson).
So for those looking to get an overview of macro photography along with some nice tips for beautiful macro photos, Joseph Linaschke’s course is a good option.
You can purchase it on the LinkedIn Learning website for $35 USD, or you can grab a LinkedIn Learning monthly membership for just $20 USD a month (which includes access to a huge amount of excellent photography courses).
Best For: Beginners, Intermediate
Pros: Good overview of macro photography, nice coverage of focus stacking
Cons: Too short to be all-encompassing, not much time spent on the artistic side of macro photography
Mike Hagen’s Introduction to Macro Photography offers a nice blend of basics and more advanced techniques, and Mike opts for a mix of in-depth exploration and broader overviews.
Introduction to Macro Photography is fairly wide-ranging, covering topics across the macro photography spectrum, from:
- Gear (including cheaper methods of achieving macro magnification such as extension tubes)
- Macro photography settings
- Macro photography lighting
- Macro photography backgrounds
- Focus stacking in macro photography
Mike covers the basics quickly and continues on for an in-depth discussion of focus stacking and focus-stacking software. While this won’t be useful to photographers who aren’t yet ready to focus stack or who just aren’t especially interested in focus stacking, for those who want to master focus stacking this is a great starting point.
In fact, focus stacking is a great way to expand your macro photography horizons, which makes this course highly relevant for those looking to kick their macro photos up a notch.
And while parts of the course may seem rushed (it’s only 1.5 hours in total), Mike spends plenty of time on focus stacking software, giving you several focus stacking options (including Adobe Photoshop CC), along with some in-depth focus stacking examples.
You can purchase Introduction to Macro Photography on Creative Live’s website for just $29 USD (though you may also want to consider the Creator Pass subscription, which will give you access to 1000+ courses for less than $20 USD per month).
The Best Macro Photography Courses: The Next Step
Now that you’ve finished this article, you should know all about the best macro photography courses on the market.
Any one of the courses on this page will get you on your way to taking gorgeous macro images of your favorite macro subjects, from flowers to insects to any small item you can imagine.
But don’t stop there!
If you’re looking to keep taking your macro photos to new heights, I recommend you sign up for my email list, where I send all sorts of macro photography tips, tricks, and secrets that I don’t share on my blog.
I’ll also send you my eBook, free of charge:
Mastering Macro Photography: 10 Quick Tips for Stunning Macro Photos
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