Tiny Details That Make All the Difference in the Perfect Macro Shot on Your iPhone

Tiny Details That Make All the Difference in the Perfect Macro Shot on Your iPhone
Image credit: Apple

Anyone with a modern-generation iPhone (or a smartphone in general, really) is going to be aware of the photography capabilities of the device to some degree. Phones these days are able to produce some shockingly beautiful photographs and the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max are no exception. In fact, they produce some of the most impressive photos you’ll see from a phone.

If you’re currently looking to experiment with the iPhone camera and its capabilities, allow us to help with a mini guide on using the – much-discussed – macro photography function on the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max phones.

What is macro photography on iPhone?

Okay, so in a nutshell, the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max model phones feature new Ultra Wide, Wide and Telephoto cameras. The Ultra Wide camera allows you to capture regular items or elements up close and magnified – opening your photography options up to a whole lot more creative options.

Back when we originally reviewed the new range of iPhones, we put this function to the test with a funfetti-covered cake, naturally.

iphone 13 macro photography
iPhone 13 Pro Max doing its zoomy thing. Credit: Lifehacker Australia

Referring to the Apple website, the iPhone photography function is described as follows:

The new lens design, autofocus capability for the first time in the Ultra Wide on iPhone and advanced software allow users to capture impressive macro images where subjects appear larger than life.

Macro photography tips for iPhone

iphone photography photo Apple_Shot-on-iphone-macro-challenge_Mushroom
This is a mushroom shot in macro. Image credit: Apple.

If you’d like to have a go using this photography feature on your iPhone, Apple has shared the following tips:

  • Make sure to get close to your subject — you can get as close as 2 centimetres (about an inch) away.
  • Place the primary point of focus near the centre of the frame, as that’s where the sharpest focus is when shooting in macro on iPhone.
  • Tap an area in the viewfinder to set a specific focus point.
  • Shoot at .5x to capture an Ultra Wide field of view, or try shooting at 1x for tighter framing — iPhone will automatically switch cameras as you get close while maintaining the 1x framing.
  • Play around with light sources or capturing at different times of the day. A macro photo taken first thing in the morning, when light is soft, will look different to something taken in the bright midday sun, or inside with a lamp. Move objects into different light and see the effects on your images.

  • Experiment with different angles and perspectives. The magic of macro is the ability to transform objects, and by adding an unusual or unexpected angle, even the most every day item can look artistic, abstract and unusual.

  • Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. Look for inspiration everywhere. Water droplets are a great subject matter for photography and macro photography, as are finer details on animals, food or everyday objects. Look for texture in fabrics, nature (tree trunks, bark, leaves etc) or building materials (textured paint, wood grain) and get creative!

Get your work seen

If you’re feeling particularly proud of your macro photography work on iPhone, you can actually submit your photos for the Shot on iPhone Challenge right now. The competition is open for submissions until February 17, 2022, and winners will be announced in April.

To participate, you need to share your favourite macro photos taken on iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max via Instagram and Twitter using the hashtags #ShotoniPhone and #iPhonemacrochallenge (before February 17).

A panel of judges will review the submissions and 10 photos will be selected and displayed across Apple accounts, campaigns and even stores. Pretty cool. You can read more about the competition here.

If you’re after more iPhone photography tips, here is a guide to tripod selection and another on creating cinematic content.

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