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Mastering Macro Nature Photography: Advanced Techniques

Become a better photographer today!

Join 's Course: 4-Week Short Course: Mastering Macro Nature Photography: Advanced TechniquesLearn to proceed beyond the basic macro image and create more expressive and interpretive close-ups. The world of macro is a truly special place, a place where water drops on leaves become sparkling jewels, a simple flower becomes a testimony to the beauty of nature, and a tiny mushroom becomes larger than life when viewed from ground level. Join in with master photographer-author Brenda Tharp for this fun 4-week course. Brenda will show you how to make the best macro image you can with the gear you have.

Key Features

  1. Using Shallow Depth of Field to Your Advantage
  2. Creative Techniques, Part One
  3. Using Flash Creatively
  4. Creative Macro Techniques, Part Two

  • Great for intermediate and higher skill levels.
  •  Expands your creative vision.
  • Covers advanced techniques for expressive macro pictures.

$198.00 USD

What You Get


You get direct feedback on your photos from world-acclaimed, professional photographers. You can learn photography in this way from anywhere in the world.  
  • Learn at your pace, with structure.
  • Be guided by a real pro instructor.
  • Get your photos critiqued every week.
  • Join students from around the world.
  • Go far beyond any book or DVD.
  • Make great pictures, again and again!



Photography Instructor: Brenda  Tharp Brenda Tharp

Brenda Tharp is known for her inspirational and informative workshops. She is the author/photographer of the book Creative Nature and Outdoor Photography that has been receiving excellent reviews. Brenda has also written how-to articles for many photo magazines, including Outdoor Photographer.

Brenda followed her passion many years ago when she quit her corporate job to pursue a career in outdoor and travel photography. She has llama-trekked, sea-kayaked, flown in helicopters and hot-air balloons, cycled, and hiked to create her photographs. Those images have appeared on the pages of Alaska Airlines, Audubon, Discovery, National Geographic, Northwest Airlines, Sierra, Sunset and Travel Holiday magazines, along with many others. She has images included in books produced by Chronicle, Michelin, National Geographic, and Sierra Club.

Her keen eye for design and use of natural light and color are a signature in her work. Her photographs are regularly published in calendars and greetings cards for a variety of international companies. Brenda markets her own stock photographs, and is also represented by She has co-starred in episodes of Canon's Photo Safari television program, and appeared on San Francisco area news shows to discuss photography techniques. She has developed a reputation as a teacher of unlimited energy with a compassionate yet honest approach to critiquing.

Sample Photos by the Instructor

© Brenda Tharp 

© Brenda Tharp 

Course Outline


Lesson 1: Using Shallow Depth of Field to Your Advantage
Deciding on what has to be sharp, what doesn't have to be. Choosing the "right" aperture for the results you want. Simplifying and controlling your backgrounds with aperture; short focusing your lens to minimize focus on the background. Selectively focusing on key areas of the subject.
Sidebar: A quick review of Macro I Essentials.
Assignment: Making photographs with maximum apertures.

Lesson 2: Creative Techniques, Part One
Using a focus-through technique for ethereal effects. How to pre visualize the effect and position yourself and your subjects for success. Creating larger-than-life-size macro images. How to create macro images with your wide angle lens.
Assignment: Creating "focus-through" images; creating close-up images with your wide-angle.

Lesson 3: Using Flash Creatively
When to use it and how. The choice between fill flash and full flash. Using your flash as a backlight or sidelight source for dramatic effects. How to control the quality and quantity of light from your flash.
Sidebar: Specialty flashes for macro photography.
Assignment: Create images using your flash.

Lesson 4: Creative Macro Techniques, Part Two
Creating abstract macro images. Bringing the outdoors inside to a mini-studio. Creating dynamic pictures using simple props. Creative ideas for special effects.
Sidebar: Lens Baby and the Macro Kit.
Assignment: Creating abstract close-up images, and other pictures using special effects.

© Brenda Tharp 

© Brenda Tharp 



  • Previous macro experience OR Mastering Macro course with Brenda Tharp.
  • Film or Digital SLRs.
  • Ability to control aperture/shutter speed on the camera.
  • Dedicated macro lens (strongly recommended), diopters or extension tubes.
  • Accessory flash (strongly recommended).
  • Tripod (required).



Is this course acceptable for beginning photographers or should I have more experience to participate?
This course is open to any photographer who has macro photography experience, or who has taken my Mastering Macro Course. You should have a working knowledge of aperture, shutter speed, and depth of field.  

What equipment do I need to make the most of this course and do the weekly assignments?
You will need an SLR camera body that allows complete control of shutter and aperture. You will need a dedicated macro lens that gets 1:1 (life-size), and ideally close-up filters (diopters) or extension tubes. Everyone will need a tripod. A warming filter (81B) for film users, and a polarizing filter for film or digital, would be helpful as well.  

Can I use a compact digital camera?
A compact digital camera may limit you, unless you have a life-size macro converter for it. The biggest issue is that depth of field is so great in the compact digital cameras that it's often difficult to get the out-of-focus backgrounds when you want them. However, all of the other areas of this course will be possible with compact digital cameras, as long as you can control shutter and aperture and get in close to your subject.  

What are the requirements for sending in my work and getting it evaluated?
To be evaluated, you will need to upload images to This can be done by scanning via a film or flatbed scanner, via downloading from a digital camera, or having your images placed on a Photo CD, and then these images must be prepared for uploading to BetterPhoto. No matter how you do it, your images will look best if they are sized to about 500 pixels on the short end.  

I use a film camera. Does it matter is I shoot print film or slide film?
No. Either is OK, as long as it's color film.  

© Brenda Tharp 

© Brenda Tharp 

Do I have to be online at any specific time?
No, you do not need to be online at any specific time. The lessons are sent to your email and you are also provided the Campus Square - where you interact with your classmates and instructor. This is also where you upload your photos to be critiqued by your instructor. The instructors are very punctual and respond quickly.

Will I have access to the instructor to ask questions during the photo course?
Absolutely! Students can ask questions in the special Q&A forum set up in the course's Campus Square, or can ask the instructor via email.

Do you offer a money back guarantee?
Yes. We are confident that you will fully enjoy our courses. All the same, for our 8-week classes, we offer a 100% money-back guarantee before the Wednesday that Lesson #3 is sent out. If for any reason, you are not satisfied and let us know that you would like to withdraw before the Wednesday that Lesson #3 is sent, you will be promptly refunded.

For our 4-week courses, we offer a 100% money back guarantee before the Wednesday that Lesson #2 is sent out from BetterPhoto. If for any reason you are not satisfied and you let the ordering department know that you would like to withdraw before the Wednesday that Lesson #2 is sent, you will be refunded within 7 days. After the second lesson has been sent out, no refunds will be given.

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