A Photographer’s Secret Weapon for Macro Photography

iphone macro photography
This is the photo I have people take in my class.  I took this one with my Android phone – Jim Harmer

Here in my town in Naples, Florida, I teach a beginning photography class every Monday.  I split the class up into 6 different photography subjects (wildlife, action, portraits, etc) so each class has one theme.  This week's class was macro photography.  I am always a bit apprehensive about teaching the macro photography class because I know many of the students will get horribly frustrated.

The frustration for most beginning photographers in shooting macro is that they cannot get close enough to the subject.  Every lens has a close focus distance, which prevents photographers from focusing when the subject is nearer than the limit.  This usually leads to the people in the class getting frustrated and eventually quitting on me half way through the class.

It doesn't have to be this way, and you don't have to buy any expensive gear to take stunning macro shots.  All you need, is your cell phone or your regular old point-and-shoot.  Most cell phones or point-and-shoots will allow macro shots from as little as one INCH (two centimeters?) away from the camera.

Obviously, there are lots of expensive pieces of gear that can be purchased to focus close-up with a DSLR, such as a diopter, an extension tube, or a dedicated macro lens; however, if you only take macro shots every once in a while, your cell phone or point-and-shoot is a fantastic alternative.

Note that your point-and-shoot probably has a macro mode (icon looks like a flower), which will help the camera to be able to focus much closer than normal.

Just to show you what is possible, I took the photo featured on this page with my Droid Incredible cell phone.

9 thoughts on “A Photographer’s Secret Weapon for Macro Photography”

  1. That’s amazing! What a great cell phone picture. Just goes to show it’s not necessarily the equipment, but the person behind it that makes a great shot.

  2. Love this macro shot…also love the book that the ring in resting in! 🙂
    This website is really helpful. I just got a Sony a77…and I am having a blast with it. Thanks for all of the tips and lessons!

  3. Just Love all your articles.. I love taking Macro photos.. Some are Blur but most Great! thankf for tips

  4. Many thanks Jim Harmer – the amazing pics. Ion a Nikon D7000 and Nikon 105 mm AF VR ED macro lens but Iam not able to get such razor sharp pics, I will have bother some dude in Macro photography. Thanks again.

  5. This may be “cool” close up photography but isn’t “macro” photography! True macro is taken with a 1:1 ratio. If you can’t focus close enough with a true macro lens, pick up some inexpensive lens extensions.

  6. Hello,

    Only a dedicated macro lens can make true macro photos. Extension tubes can help make things look bigger than actually are. However, there are lenses that can make close-up photos, but not macro ones. So there is a difference between the two kinds. For this reason a cell phone can produce close-ups, not macro (with magnification 1:1).

    Thank you for sharing this article though.


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