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Tim has been interested in photography for many years. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Biology and a Master's in Environmental Science. Writing nature articles allows him to combine his interest in photography and nature into one medium.

“The Magic of Digital Close-up Photography” by Joseph Meehan


The Magic of Digital Close-up Photography by Joseph Meehan is part of the Lark Photography Books series and was published in 2006.  It’s a comprehensive overview of various aspects of close-up photography including using DSLR cameras, scanners, accessory equipment, various tips and techniques, and case studies of various photographers.  This book is great for someone new to close-up photography or for someone interested in starting.

Topics Covered

  • Defining Close-up Photography
  • Cameras, Lenses, and Close-up Accessories
  • Lighting Basics for Close-up Photography
  • Ten Close-up Lighting Arrangements
  • Basic Scanner Methods
  • Using the Scanner as a Close-up Camera
  • Copy Stands and Copy Close-up Techniques

What I liked

This book gives a great overview of the world of close-up photography and covers a broad spectrum of topics.  For example, Mr. Meehan covers everything from insects to Matchbox cars to flowers and the different techniques that can be deployed, and does a very good job in his explanations and descriptions.  Mr. Meehan’s writing style is very organized and clear and it’s easy to follow along with him.

As with all the books I’ve read in the Lark Photography Book series, the production values are very high.  There are plenty of high quality photos and insets.  One nice touch is the book flaps that are built into the front and back of the book to use as bookmarks.

Another nice feature of the book are sections that focus on specific works by photographers.  Mr. Meehan presents an example of his own involving Matchbox cars and another on restoring photos from his town’s records.  He also featues the pollution photography of Kevin G. Coulton, the close-up work of Rob Sheppard, and the black-and-white scan photography of Joanne Urban.

What I didn’t like

The only minor flaw I saw with the book is that a few drawn-out list became a little boring to read.  A prime example is the section on the type of equipment to use, which compared normal macro to moderate macro to close-up lens, etc.  It’s a very thorough section, but it just seemed to go too long and I had a hard time focusing.  I think a lot of that information could have been condensed into table form instead.

The other issue I found slightly distracting was the layout of the book could have been a little cleaner.  Sometimes it was difficult to figure out what chapter I was in, mainly because of all the inset material and various sections mixed in with the text.  It made for an interesting read, just slightly difficult to navigate at times.


This is an excellent book for beginners that want to get a sense of the world of close-up photography.  If you are experienced in macro or other forms of close-up work, you will not gain as much.  However, there are great nuggets of information here that can help any photographer improve.

The Magic of Digital Close-Up Photography (A Lark Photography Book)

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