Macro and close-up photography with Tracy Calder

Ref: SWE32293

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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 showstopping 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 you learn to respond to the subject, you need to also understand how to control as many of the variables as possible. Through a series of practical exercises, you will learn how to make the best of the opportunities presented, 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, you 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. The course wil cover how to use the equipment at your disposal, whether a top-of-the-range DSLR, compact or camera phone to best communicate our vision.

Course Materials

What students need to bring

  • Fully working digital camera and lens (a dedicated macro lens is preferable, but any lens that allows close focusing and manual focus will suffice) or a camera phone
  • Fully charged camera batteries (and charger if possible)
  • Camera/phone-to-computer cables
  • Camera instruction manual (if available)
  • Tripod (if available) and any accessories you commonly use for photography
  • Pen and paper
  • Clothing suitable for working outdoors: walking boots or waterproof shoes, warm, waterproof trousers (if possible)
  • USB stick
  • Plenty of empty memory cards
  • Bring a note of your own Adobe ID login. If you don’t already have one, please register for a free account at prior to the course, and remember to bring the details with you.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • USB memory sticks

Additional information

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. Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear, i.e. no open-toes or sandals, and safety boots, if specified.


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 until 9pm, 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)

General Information


Photography by Tracy Calder (nee Hallett)

Tracy Calder

Tracy Hallett (Calder) is an award-winning photographer and magazine journalist. She has written a number of photography books and hundreds of magazine articles. Her work has been exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery, The National Portrait Gallery and The Photographers’ Gallery in London. 


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

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Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.