Macro iPhoneography

Author: Amy Horn

wide to macro

My neighborhood has a wonderful display of garden flowers and I love to photograph flowers. So, on my daily dog walks I carry my iPhone and a macro lens to capture the beautiful neighborhood color. Here are a few things I learned while using my iPhone for macro work.

  1. All of photography is about capturing the light reflecting off your subject. So, even with an iPhone, you want to find quality light. Cloud cover is one of the best lighting situations with soft diffused light. What you want to avoid is low light with an iPhone. In low light situations, your images will have with noise and grain from the small sensor.
  2. With all macro photography, wind is the enemy. Even a fast shutter speed will create a blurred image in a macro environment. In Flagstaff, mornings are less windy than afternoons. So, I always photograph in the morning.
  3. Macro Lens. There are many macro lenses for phones out there to purchase but my favorites are the ones that clip on quickly. If I have to take off my phone case or twist something on I will not use the macro lens. These macro lenses do let you get very close – less than an inch away from your subject!
  4. Burst mode. Even if the flower is very still, I might move slightly. The best option for success is to shoot in burst mode. If you have never used burst mode on an iPhone before it is so simple.
    Macro clip on lens
    Macro clip on lens

    Just hold the button down. Multiple images with be captured. Be careful though, I once held the button down by mistake and in no time I had 100 images! Many people use burst mode, but don’t realize it because when you view the images, you only see one. Apple stacks the photos and you can select the one(s) you want and delete the rest. Here are three screen shots from the photos app. The first one indicates I captured a burst of 5 photos. After choosing edit, I can select some of the images. When I click “done” I see the options to keep everything or keep my favorites. If I choose to keep my favorites, then my favorites are visible into the photos app as individual photos.

flowersIf you become a serious macro iPhoneographer, you may want to invest in a bluetooth trigger. This small unit connects with your iPhone and releases the shutter on your camera (your headphones can do this too). I find sometimes triggering with one hand and holding the phone with the other gives me more success. I have fun taking photos whether it is with my iPhone or my big DSLR and

iPhone remote trigger
iPhone remote trigger

any photo I capture are opportunities to practice!

Amy Horn is a professor of photography at Northern Arizona University and teaches Photo 101, Photo 102, iPhoneography, iPad Workflow and Flash Basics for Arizona Highways Photo Workshops. To see her current schedule view or