Closeup Shooting: A Guide to Closeup, Tabletop and Macro Photography - [BOOK REVIEW]

Closeup Shooting: A Guide to Closeup, Tabletop and Macro Photography – [BOOK REVIEW]


Over the New Year break I took some time out to read a number of Digital Photography Books. One of which is Closeup Shooting: A Guide to Closeup, Tabletop and Macro Photography by Cyrill Harnischmacher.

This book came recommended to me by a number of DPS readers who were into Macro Photography so as my 100mm Macro lens was a little unused in 2007 I thought I’d brush up on my skills and seek a little inspiration. I wasn’t disappointed.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.

Closeup Shooting is a great book if you’re just getting into the world of Macro or have given it a go and want to take things a step further. It would be helpful to have some knowledge/experience of photography though as there is a certain level of technical language that is assumed (not too much).

This 122 page book with 28 sections covers a lot of ground – from Macro equipment, framing shots to lighting. It’s not a long book (there are many other Macro books that probably get more detailed, technical and comprehensive) but as an introductory overview this book is great resource.

I particularly enjoyed Cyrill’s discussion of lighting for this type of photography and expect that the main improvements in my own Macro and closeup photography will come from what I learned in the section covering these topics (in the Imaging Techniques section).

The book has some wonderful examples of Macro Photography which illustrate the techniques being examined and also has helpful diagrams and tables that help those who learn visually. Seeing the set up of images (diagrams) and then seeing the final image is a very helpful thing that Cyrill includes towards the end of the book (I wish there was even more of this as I find it helpful).

This isn’t a book for those wanting to explore all aspects of photography – but if you’re looking to hone your skills in the fascinating world of Macro (whether shooting insects in your pack yard, photographing product for ebay or simply ‘playing’ around with shots around the house then this one’s worth the investment.

The only way I’d improve this book is to make it longer with even more practical examples and explanations. There is a good amount of this already – but as someone who learns by ‘seeing’ I’m always left thirsting for more of this.

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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

Some Older Comments

  • Cliff June 5, 2013 10:19 am

    I have a 18-250 zoom w/Macro, but I must confess I don't know how to use the Macro feature. Is it really a true Macro lens? Should I use the zoom to make the image closer? Should I get closer to the subject? It doesn't seem like I can get really, real close-ups like I see elsewhere. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • Sienna May 9, 2013 02:41 pm

    Yesterday, while I was at work, my sister stole my apple ipad and
    tested to see if it can survive a 30 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube
    sensation. My iPad is now broken and she has 83 views.
    I know this is totally off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  • axel g October 12, 2008 04:50 am

    Sounds like a good read!

    I agree, the more user-friendly, the better...

  • tope March 11, 2008 08:11 am

    woooppsssyyy ,I'm really out of the topic, but i have a really bothering question for me, does anybody know what is Lomography here? im a digital user now before im using film camera, but what does the difference between an ordinary point and shoot film in Lomo cameras? YES AGAIN I KNOW iM OUT OF THe Topic, but i hope to see your kind reply:) i really need someone to enlighten me about this topic...sorry if i post my question here but i hope you could answer me:) thanks very very much---tope

  • sophie January 6, 2008 11:32 pm

    This sounds good - I like the sound of a book with plenty of diagrams! From the description it sounds like it might be useful for food photography, with the tabletop and lighting emphasis. Has anybody had a look at it with a view to using it to improve their food photography?

  • SheyMouse January 4, 2008 08:04 pm

    Good review. Sounds like quite a good book.

    I would be very interested in the book if there was a section on using everyday objects for lighting. I don't have nearly enough money for a circular flash, and haven't had time to make a light box.
    If it hasn't been done already, a good set of tips on lighting macro photos using only what one has around the home (natural light, desk lamp, halogen, candle, etc.) would be cool.

  • Jason January 4, 2008 07:09 am

    Great review, definitely sounds like a book I'll have to pick up!

  • A. Marques January 4, 2008 04:19 am

    Very nice review.

    I've heard about the book before and now, after your review, I'm convinced to buy it.

    Let's see if it is as good as I've been reading around.