Ordinary/Extraordinary: Macro Project – MacroLastFirst.psd

photo by Jessica Balanga- notice how the surface texture draws in your eye, moving you across the subject! The parts of the image not in focus do not get much attention while the close up of the metal is so clear you can see every detail!


For the first time this year students will practice extraordinary photo taking as the source of their project!


Amazing #macro photograph by student Jose Quintero.










Using the Macro setting on their digital camera, students will take pictures of ordinary things closely zoomed in and enlarged so that the details and view of these ordinary things become extraordinary art. Look for surface texture (remember your Elements of Design?) in your images to lead the viewers eye, or to grab their attention, also known as Emphasis.

the Golden Spiral

photo by Alexis Lara


As the creator, the artist must think of ways to lead their viewers eye through the composition. Use the Golden Spiral path where you take advantage of the fact that we read from left to right and top to bottom. In the photo above (by CI art student Alexis Lara), see how the artist uses the large, red, plastic object to lead our eye along the path towards the smaller but much clearer subject- the plastic turtle. On the photo below that, only the ladybug is in clear focus. This moves our eye right to it as the blurry landscape of the photo with few details encourages our eye to sprint across it searching for information.

For starters lets learn more about our camera, starting with the viewfinder:

press the top of the black wheel twice to see this display

When looking through the viewfinder, it can be difficult to compose (arrange) the elements in our photo. Use the guidelines to place the subject on or around the intersections of these lines.

Now lets learn how to use some of the special settings on the digital camera: Macro. When we want to take an extreme close-up of the details of something we use the Macro setting. The Macro symbol on most cameras is the large flower.

macro icon

press the menu button, then push down on the wheel until you select the Macro setting

Now  check out one of the digital cameras from me. The camera (and lanyard) is your pass to be out on campus during class time, so respect it by representing me and your class well! When teachers see you out doing your thing, remember to be respectful of other classes and students.



Macro photograph by student Luis Rizo.


If the camera is lost or damaged you are responsible and liable for its replacement or cost, so always use the wrist strap when out and about, especially when shooting. Capiche? (understand)? -Capisco (I get it)!

Here are the logistics of shooting this assignment:

  • shoot at least 15-20 images
  • shoot at least 3-5 different subjects
  • shoot indoors and outdoors both
  • look for ordinary items
  • try shooting them at odd angles (see the cat below) or in ways they may not be looked at ordinarily (try e Bird’s Eye or an Ant’s Eye view!)
  • look at the edges or details and line them up with the guidelines on the viewfinder
  • we are interested in surface texture in your images
  • macro folder example

    Look at how many photos it takes to get only THREE good shots!

photo by Karina Cortez

Shoot lots of images, you will learn that only some of them will work. If you make the mistake of only shooting a few, the quality of your work will be low. Be smart and shoot lots of pics!

  1. Click “Organize”and scroll down to select to create a new folder inside your original folder in your One or Google drive, call it Macro.
  2. Bring in your images, import them all and save them in your Macro folder on the Digital Photo server as raw images.
  3. With the correct layer selected (and your selection active), create a new Levels Adjustment Layer. Go to Layer-New Adjustment Layer-Levels. Make sure the box to link the layer only to the selection is clicked! Move the sliders (see image above) for the light, medium, and dark pixels until your image is adjusted for maximum beauty. Notice how the white and black sliders, which are circled, have been moved so they touch the edges of the pixel “mountain”. This adjusts the amount of light and dark pixels so your image looks better. Do this for each part of your image just like for the “Kansas” Photo (see below).
  4. Repeat the process for three of your best images. be prepared to share your best work with your classmates in critique!
  5. Before and After
  6. Now add the  Element Title you created in Photoshop for Texture! Try to fit it into the negative space, preferably in the lower right-hand corner if possible. Save the image as a JPEG as Macro1LastFirst.jpg, Macro2, and Macro3
  7. Then post your favorite macro to your Instagram and add the hashtag #macro2019 and #macro so we can grade them and you can get some feedback from other artists online!

******EXTRA CREDIT******

Mask figures (people) into your Macro like this for extra credit!:


Check out this artist’s twist on the traditional Macro:



1 Response to Ordinary/Extraordinary: Macro Project – MacroLastFirst.psd

  1. Pingback: Inspiration | Photography

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