How do I Take Stunning Macro Photos on my Phone?

Macro Photos

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August 30, 2021

Have you seen beautiful photos of small plants and insects? Mobile photographers want to take macro photos with their phones. Learning macro photography can be hard for anyone, especially on a phone. Mastering the ins and outs of capturing macro photos may take a little bit of time.

You may have already started by getting a few close up shots and that sparked your interest. But then the more photos you took the harder it got to get the detail you wanted in the photo.

Don’t worry we are here for you. We will go into detail about the common terms used in macro mobile photography. We will discuss tips to create stunning photos and test out recommended gear. Take a moment and come learn about how to take macro photos on your phone.

Mobile Photography Macro Photos

What’s the Difference, Closeup, Micro, or Macro?

So, you have started to jump into the world of taking mobile photos of small subjects.  Close-up photography is a friend to macro photography by making small objects look large. But it’s done by getting close to the subject without a lens. Macro and micro (although they mean opposite things, micro for small and macro means large.) in photography these terms referring to taking macro photography using lenses. The reason they have two names is that Canon refers macro photography lenses as “macro” and Nikon refers to them as “micro.” So, I think there is just a tiny bit of camera competition. For now, I will refer to it as macro photography. 

Magnification for Macro Photos

Let me take the opportunity to explain the importance of magnification in mobile macro photography.  When you take a photo of something it looks smaller in the picture than it does in real life. In macro photography, the goal is to create a 1:1 magnification. That is where the subject is the same size in the image as it is in real life.

Mobile Phone Distance when Taking Macro Photography

         Now, there is one element that is important for you to understand. This is the distance from the front of your lens to the subject. This is called the “working distance.” Each lens has a different working distance but it is recommended that you are between one to two inches away.

         When taking a shot sometimes you may be able to get a great macro photo from a one-inch working distance. A flower is a great example. But if you are taking a photo of a bee you are taking chances of scaring it away so use your best judgment.

Macro Photos Smartphone Photography

How to do Macro Photography With a Phone

Let’s get started the first tip you will want to implement is to get close. This does not mean to zoom in. Zooming in on your phone will make your photo look worse and pixelated. It makes it extremely difficult if you plan on editing your photo. To create the highest quality photos, you’ll need to get a macro lens to magnify the object in your photo. We will go over the highest quality macro lenses in the next section.

To start out you can begin exploring the world of small things by getting close ups with your phone. Take a moment and get really close to your subject and take a photo. What details were you able to capture?

Macro Photos iPhone

Pro Tips for Macro Photography With a Phone

1.     Find your subject

Take a moment to find your subject, to start looking at flowers or plants with a lot of detail. Explore to find a ladybug to start out.

2.     Nail the Focus

You’re about to take the shot and you realize that the subject moves so slightly and the focus adjusts right when you take your photo. Your photo did not turn out and it’s very frustrating. A quick tip is to use the AE/AF lock to lock the focus. Then if you have a moment the focus will stay the same. To do this hold down the focus button on your phone for one second. Then a yellow box or circle will appear and the focus will be locked. 

3.     Shoot Using Burst Mode

Have you tried burst mode on your phone? This is one of the best-kept secrets in mobile photography. If you hold down the camera button as you take a photo your phone will continuously take photos. Then after you are done you can choose from your favorite burst photo. If the subject can move at all burst mode will save the day.

4.     Shoot in Raw

To have the best editing capabilities make sure you shoot in raw. Shooting in raw takes up more file space on your phone but also will create an image with endless editing options.

Macro Photos Mobile Photography

Lenses for Smartphone Macro Photography

There are a lot of lenses for macro photography. I suggest the macro 7x, 14x, and 21x Olloclip multi-device cell phone lens will help you take better pictures with your phone. The Olloclip lens delivers quality images with advanced glass multi-element coated optics to provide the highest quality lenses. Macro 7x- Take close up images with 15x magnification and detail. Macro 14x- Get a more magnified view with this lens. Explore very fine details and textures with this lens. Macro 21x- With this level of magnification, you can get the most intricate details of very small subjects. This lens is excellent if you want to take macro photos. 

Edit to Enhance Details 

To finish off take some time to edit the photo. When capturing small details tiny edits will refine your image and add clarity. To do this try the Lightroom app. I love this app when I am trying to improve the detail and color in the image. 

| Learn how to edit photos in Lightroom


We’ve covered a lot but here is a little recap of what we discussed. First remember that micro, macro, and closeup basically mean the art of taking photos of small things to make them look big. Micro and macro are the same thing and refer to the type of lens types that you can use to take macro photos. We refer to it as macro photography.

Next, we discussed what magnification is and the goal is to use a lens to create a 1:1 life-size magnification. This is usually done with a lens attachment.  Remember the working distance, that is how close the phone is to the subject. Usually, you want it about one to two inches away or as close as you can get.

         Don’t forget to implement the pro tips of finding your subject, nailing the focus, shooting in burst mode, and shooting in raw. These pro tips will take your macro photos on your phone to the next level. 

         Lastly, take the time to edit your photos using a third-party app such as Lightroom. Lightroom will help you edit and enhance the detail and color in your photo.

We hope you feel more confident as you explore the world of macro photography. We would love to hear about the challenges you faced and what questions you have in the comments below.

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1 Comment

  1. David Smith

    Liked the macro photography article, but not sure one part works. You suggested using burst mode as a way of getting at least one well-focused shot. That requires you having your hands on the phone, tripod or not, which leads to bigger possibilities of having blurry photos. I even tried a phone remote trigger, but those remotes don’t shoot burst.


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