Smartphone Macro Photography

Do you sometimes see on your instagram feed amazing close-up pictures of insects or flowers and wondered how can I take pictures like that, without having an expensive camera? The truth is you don’t need a flash DSLR or Mirrorless camera with a mega-bucks lens, you can get a similar effect using your phone.

A small image of a flower head.
Flower Head

What is Macro Photography

Macro photography is the photographing of subjects at extremely close-up ranges, often of smaller things. These close-up pictures enable you to see details that you would never normally see with the naked eye, showing things that normally go unnoticed.

Macro photography can make a tiny subjects like flower petals or insects look very large on screen, and you will be surprised how different mundane objects look when viewed so close.

Close-up of a circuit board

Macro with a Smart Phone

Smart phones are very good for close-up pictures due to their wide-angle lenses, though they are limited to about three to four inches from the subject. However more updated phones often come with a macro option built in.

You can also invest in a set of simple clip-on lenses which change your smartphone into a macro lens, with just one clip-on attachment. These attachments provide a much closer focus and expose the details in the image.

Your Subject

Once you have the equipment tyhat you are happy with, you need to conside your subject and think what would work well in Macro. You need to think small as apposed to big.

Obviously, wildlife and plants offer a great optio, and your garden or window box could be full of interesting and different things to photogrpah in imiture. A great idea is to look for the snallest parts of a plant or flower or even focus in on the tiny insect sitting on the plant.

Smalls things inside your house can also provide a great subject. Ends of items or you could zoom into parts of an object that are normally ignored.

Close-up Zoom in of an object
Zoom in to objects

You never know when you might come across something that will make for a good macro photo.

Lighting the image

Getting the lighting right is crucially important for taking good macro picture.s Daylight is ideal and is the best lighting to work with, however sunlight can make for lown-out highlights and harsh shadows. Often, because we are photographing small objects it may be easier to move the subject to the correct liught conditions. You may want to avoid the built-in flash on your phone which may also introduce harsh shadows.

Focus and Bokeh

There are many ways to compose your Macro image, however you will be limited by the depth of field, with often a small part of your picture being in focus. The larger the magnification the smaller the amount of your image will be in focus. It would be ideal to use a minui-tripo to hold your phone still and make incrimental moves to get the focus as you want it.

However movement is your enemy because trying to focus very close requires the subject to be completely still, which is not always easy or possible when taking pictures of moving insects or flower heads.

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