Close-up with Jack Hollingsworth

Jack Hollingsworth

Jack Hollingsworth

is easily one of photography's most well know names in commercial lifestyle, world and stock photography. Known as @photojack on twitter, he has over 14,000 followers and that number is growing daily. has Jack listed as the 11th most influential photographer on twitter. Long before the twitter boom, Jack was a well-known name in stock photography helping to found BlendImages, PhotosIndia, RedChopsticks and 40260. Jack travels the world shooting, teaching, lecturing, and blogging, as well as leading phototours, workshops and seminars. You can see more of his portrait work at here. You can also find him here, on Jalbum.

if your photographs aren't good enough, you're not close enough

Robert Capa

Close to home

macro magic


se your macro lens to turn everyday, household objects and items into magnificent works of art. As Robert Capa suggested, if you're photos are not good enough, the you're probably not close enough. Get close. Real close. Discover a small world of detail with big world significance.

You Can Do It!


hotographing close-up subjects isn't as difficult as you might think. Especially if you have a macro lens in that camera bag of yours. Most photographers never seem to get close enough to the subjects they're photographing. I mean really close. But those that do are treated to a world of wonder that is beyond imagination. If you apply a few simple tricks and tips about shooting close-up photography you'll be hooked. I promise. More than likely... you'll be obsessed. Because you'll be viewing the world in magnifications that you have never seen before. Are you bored of the subjects, themes and concepts you're currently shooting? Then, again, get close. And uncover a world that's waiting for you.

Put On Your Close-Up Game Face

acorns in a wooden bowl

hen I'm shooting close-up photography then I like to put on my CU 'game face'. In other words, I make my sole photography mission and session about getting those jaw-dropping and awe-inspiring close-ups. No wide shots. No telephoto shots. No normal shots. At least not for this session. All close-up shots. Limit your scope and purpose. When you focus on the small stuff only, you'll be rewarded big time. Trust me. Get close. And only close. Macro close!

Equipment for Close-Up Photography


ost kit lenses that come packaged with a camera don't normally allow you to get closer than 18 inches from your subject. That's not close enough. Close-up (or macro) photography begins where normal lenses leave off. For my close-up photography, I primarily use this Canon macro lens. It's not cheap, but it is the best in it's class. Most macro lenses on the market achieve at least a 1:2 ratio - meaning the image on the file is 1/2 the size of the object being photographed. Some of the new, more powerful macro lenses are 1:1 - meaning the image on the file is the same size as the object being photographed.


pencils in wicker basket

f your budget doesn't permit a macro lens, then you might want to explore one of these options:

  • reversing ring
  • auxiliary close-up lens
  • telephoto extender
  • extension tubes
  • bellows

You can read more about these close-up accessories right here in this wikipedia article.

Tips for Professional Close-Up Photography

spools of natural yarn
  • Whenever possible, use a tripod (it's really difficult to shoot tack sharp macro photography when you're hand-holding. This is the tripod I use from induro.
  • Take your camera off automatic. Use manual exposure controls (if you don't know how to use...consult your manual). The closer you get to your subject, the more exposure compensation you're going to need.
  • Focus is extremely critical. Focus on the most critical element of a scene.
  • Don't forget to set your white balance.
  • I prefer natural light in my close-up photography, but that's a personal choice. Flash is good too, when use properly.
  • Simplify your background. Simple backgrounds 'read' better than busy ones.
  • If you can afford it, a macro lens is, by far, your best tool for getting killer close-up photography.

Rewards Are Great

wooden buttons

he rewards of close-up photography are great. See and share the world like never before. There is a small world waiting for you that will inspire you beyond belief and imagination.



ere's a cool video on close-up photography from professional shooter Roy Todd. Enjoy. Get close :)

...and here's a behind-the-scenes video of me shooting close-ups for Jalbum:


wooden buttons
new england pine cone(s)
organic green sponge in ceramic bowl

Open invitation to join the Close-up Photography event


oin world renowned photographer Jack Hollingsworth for community "Theme shoots". Close-up photography is the first in a series of these events. The theme shoots will be formed by us, the Jalbum community. Let's make it great. Help make this event a vibrant and fun learning experience. Anyone can join. It's free. Submit albums, give feedback in albums and join the conversation in the group discussions. To spice things up, Jack will hand pick three winners for each theme. Winners will be featured albums on, announced in the Jalbum blog and newsletter and awarded with a 1 year Premium account.

Join the group Close-up with Photojack now! →


This Canon 100mm F2.8 macro lens was generously provided by An awesome resource for both amateurs and professionals to rent equipment by mail that they want to test out. Contact there is Paul Friedman.

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SandwichINK 8 years ago

I love to get really close on my pix, probably because my Baby Boomers Generation eyes aren't as good as they used to be. :) I'm not very good at it though, so I really appreciate these tips. Thank you. :)


KathySmith 8 years ago

Thank you for the aesthetic pix!


Kimiweb6 8 years ago

Awesome pictures, very detailed, and beautiful!


mwoconnor 8 years ago

jack, thank you for pointing out and the close-up photography theme on twitter.


pogomcl 8 years ago

jack, you're fine. all new systems are confusing and I was born confused. drop by sometime for some Czech beer when you land in Prague. Then you can howl at at my "gear". You use what you got. besides I can't see anything on black backgrounds, so am always lost. miss out on half of life cuz can't see it.

Jack Hollingsworth

Jack Hollingsworth 8 years ago

some of you are submitting fantastic stuff. i'm jealous. keep it coming!

Jack Hollingsworth

Jack Hollingsworth 8 years ago

thanks folks for the encouraging comments, words, support. i think i'm going to love being part of the Jalbum community. please be patient with me as i learn how to use the system. more importantly, learn how to support you and celebrate your photography. it takes a village:)


hoppalong 8 years ago

Thanks Jack for your encouraging words and invitation to join.


Dor 8 years ago

Nice to see all the activity, make sure to join Jack's Close-up photography group!

Johan Groundstroem

Johan Groundstroem 8 years ago

Thanks Jack!

Andy Balmford

Andy Balmford 8 years ago

Thank you Jack! I'm gonna have a go and let you have some of my Past and new stuff!


oscarssonwall 8 years ago

This is what I need to get a new start. THANKS!


PICSZOOM 8 years ago

Good idea both Jack and Jalbum , this will be interesting to follow and I may pick up things, can't know everything can we.


georgec 8 years ago

Yey! This will be fun to follow.


Walford 8 years ago

What a wonderful idea! Thank you so much, Jack and Jalbum.