Close-Up: An Introduction to Macro Photography By Bill Fortney

1 hr 9 min
Difficulty Difficulty Difficulty

Close-up photography (or macro photography) gives us a scientific view of the world around us. In this first installment, photographer Bill Fortney takes you through the basics of macro photography, the equipment to use, and some of the techniques needed to get as close up as you want to get. In later courses, Bill gets more in-depth but this installment serves as a great overview for beginners or a perfect refresher with plenty of tips for more experienced macro photographers.

Video transcripts available with a subscription.

Meet Bill Fortney and the people who influenced him.
An overview on the principles/ratios of macro photography.
Learn the difference between a tight shot and a true close-up. Plus, Bill goes over the equipment he uses to get his shots.
Bill starts off with a 2:1 shot, discusses manual focus and takes you through the shot with each lens and extension tubes.
Bill demonstrates the minutiae of the depth of field he works in by photographing a ruler.
Light your subjects with simple equipment such as a desk lamp, one flash, or a flashlight.
Bill shares some important advice and a few tips he's picked up along the way to help you get the best shot possible.
Bill shows you how to take great macro shots with a point and shoot, some lens filters, a rather inexpensive, older lens, and even a lens mounted backwards.
Profile photo of Bill Fortney

Meet your instructor

Bill Fortney


Bill is one of America's premier photographer's specializing in Landscape, close-up, nature, Americana, and travel. In his 44 year career, Bill has been a High School teacher and football coach, AP rep, Medical photographer, and Marketing Public Relations person. Bill was an official photographer for the Washington Redskins during his sp...

Bill's Courses


Join the Discussion
  1. Profile photo of Cynthia Cynthia

    Tons of useful information shooting macro, however, I do have one suggestion. Not all of us shoot Nikon and not familiar with Nikon jargon. It would be very helpful if Bill would explain what is meant by Nikon’s “commander” setting, etc.,–so that those of us who shoot other makes, know what he’s referring to. This isn’t an advertisement for Nikon, but a tutorial– and understand there are many other makes of cameras.

  2. Profile photo of marieglynn marieglynn

    Timeless excellence!!! I got so much more than a mere introduction to macro photography by watching this video. I learned principles of depth of field, optical qualities of lenses (relationship between focal length, field of view, minimum focusing distance and how that impacts the angle at which you can shoot), lighting, camera features applicable not merely to the Nikon equipment Bill uses here but to other systems, equipment options, general shooting techniques. As an embarrassing example: I watched him repeatedly change the depth of field without taking his eyes from the viewfinder and realizing wow, what a timesaver not to take your eyes away.

    I love Bill’s generosity of spirit, crediting photographers from whom he has learned. I also appreciate his lessons on how to do macro photography without spending thousands on the best and latest lens. There are so many ways to do macro photography, indoors and outside in the field.

    All fired up. Exactly what I have come to expect from KelbyOne.

  3. Profile photo of jtuttle962 jtuttle962

    I am just getting started in macro and very frustrated. This training video helped me immensely. Thank you Kelby One and Bill; you’ve made my life so much easier!

  4. Profile photo of Lloyd Christy Lloyd Christy

    Please ask Bill where I can purchase the Kirk Focusing Rail that he uses in Video #4. I have been looking for it online and cannot locate on like that.
    Thank you

    1. Profile photo of Cynthia Cynthia

  5. Profile photo of kurtvong kurtvong

    Kelbyone, you have broken the functionality of the site with your changes. Things are not showing up in my history, the dashboard is not as useful as it was, and I can not see how to add something to my favorites now. Maybe it looks pretty but losing functionality is bad.

  6. Profile photo of hasan raza hasan raza

    Its good for the beginners.

  7. Profile photo of Gail Tanski Gail Tanski

    Loved both courses on macro. Would love to see a list of everything that he used. Especially the pod that held his camera. Can’t find that anywhere on line.

  8. Profile photo of Patricia Patricia

    This was a very informative course; not only for techniques, but for equipment. He presents the information in a way that’s easy to comprehend. Great depth of field information as well. I’m looking forward to putting of his techniques in to practice!! Thanks!!

  9. Profile photo of jarizona88 jarizona88

    This was the first course I took from Kelby Training and I have to say it was very informative. Bill gave the best demonstration of depth of field I’ve ever seen. He’s extremely knowledgeable and has great teaching technique. If you’re looking for a class about Macro Photography, I highly recommend this one – it was great! Thanks! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  10. Profile photo of usafabronco usafabronco

    Bill Fortney is a great teacher, and he shares lots of tips for getting into close-up/macro photography. Great video series! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  11. Profile photo of TracyT4i TracyT4i

    Absolutely awesome video. I learned so much about how to get into close up photography. The instructor discussed practical information and how to achieve awesome photos without spending one’s life savings. This is such a great feature for those who want to get into photography but can’t afford the $$ associated with macro/micro lenses. Love this guy! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  12. Profile photo of Darla Sycamore Darla Sycamore

    Excellent great presentation style and easy to follow. A download list of equipment used would be useful supplemented with stuff for Canon users. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  13. Profile photo of dempino dempino

    Another excellent demo and training session from Bill Fortney. His teaching style leaves you with a strong understanding of the topic. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  14. Profile photo of srabin1 srabin1

    The Macro Course with the gentleman from Kentucky was overall excellent. During the lighting part however, I thought he might touch upon ring lights which he did not. Otherwise, a great course! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  15. Profile photo of Abrahams Abrahams

    This is an excellent course for anyone wanting to get into Macro. Bill ran through all the demos so well that even a person with very basic photography skills could understand. Thanks for this wonderful course. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  16. Profile photo of photosbyjentoo photosbyjentoo

    Excellent. Practical, understandable, and very enjoyable. Also noted is the lack of photographer “snobbery” – Bill has practical suggestions for those of us who do not have inlimited budgets, but still want to improve our close up photography. Much appreciated thankyou —- Yes, please post my feedback

  17. Profile photo of vameza vameza

    First of all, Id like to congratulate the wonderful macro course. I always wanted learn about macro photography, and this Bill Fortney overview was quite impressive. the reason is that he could show all the possibilities with low cost equipement. Second, the techniques and how to get the good results in macro. Finally, the easy way teaching as the only a visual video lesson can show. Thank you very much for such approach! I learnt a lot!

Loading your account dashboard