For many people, the iPhone is fast becoming the primary camera and while it is an excellent point-and-shoot for average pictures, it is also capable of taking surprisingly amazing macro and close-up shots. Given all that, here a five great tips for getting the best out of macro photography using the iPhone.
1. Steer Clear Of Direct Lighting
The camera of the iPhone usually has problems focusing on close-up and extremely bright objects plus photos tend to normally turn out overexposed. For the best macro and close-up shots, target indirect lighting conditions. If it is a bright and sunny day and avoiding direct lighting is not possible, try positioning yourself so that light aims into the shot as opposed to behind it. Alternatively, try to create indirect light by using your own shadow. Below is a grasshopper’s close-up image which is an excellent example of a macro shot captured with indirect lighting.
2. Use Focus Locking & Exposure
When taking pictures of objects up close, the smallest of movements have the potential to alter what the camera is focused on. Once you get the target in focus use the camera focus and exposure locking feature and the little camera wiggles and shakes will not mess up the focus. All you have to do is tap then hold on screen until you see the “AE/AF Lock” message appear then you will know that focus is locked in and that it is active.
3. Shooting Like A Sniper To Avoid Blur and Movements
To capture the best macro shots it is critical that you remain as still as possible. One of the most effective ways of doing this is borrowing a techniques hunters and snipers use: taking deep breaths and shooting between breaths. Generally, it is best to breathe slow then shoot the photo immediately after exhaling a breath, when you experience a moment of particular steadiness to your grip and body while you hold the iPhone.
To avoid the close-up jitters, you can set down the iPhone after focus is locked then take the picture using your white earbuds. It is best to use the earbuds to take a picture with a little tripod but you can still steady your iPhone against a hard surface such as a rock or something different.
This might seem like the most obvious tip for almost all photography but with close-up macro shots it is now more important than ever considering that motion blur can occur from the slightest movement.
4. Using HDR
Using HDR might seem counterintuitive but using the in-built HDR mode on your iPhone sometimes takes better macro shots than without. HDR works by capturing several images then combining them via software processing for leveling out the lowlights and highlights in pictures. When HDR is properly used, it often creates sharper looking images as is the case in the example below:
However, don’t forget to select the “Keep Original” option so that you can determine what picture is best.
5. Trying the Miniature Water Drop Trick
You can turn the iPhone’s lens into a surprisingly effective macro lens by putting a miniature water droplet on it. Below is an image of a dollar shot using the water drop technique.
Obviously, this won’t be for everyone because it involves placing water onto your iPhone and this could in theory damage your phone if you fail to do it properly. Do this at your own risk or simply use an external macro lens.
6. Share Via Instagram
When this is all done you should have a great photo that’s more than suitable for sharing on Instagram. Needless to say when you do this, the next thing to do is to get it and your account out there. Instamacro is a tool that can help with just that. It grows your account on automatic so you don’t have to.
These tips will help you to take great photos via the macro option and also to get them out there.