2020 Smartphone Macro Photography Guide

So, you’ve been scrolling through Instagram and have come upon some excellent smartphone macro photography. Congratulations on finding one of the most exciting and utilizable kinds of mobile photography!

Now that you’ve discovered the discipline, though, you’re eager to get to shooting macro.

That’s where we at Photos with Phones come in. We’ll explain what smartphone macro photography is and teach you how and when to do it.

Then, we’ll give you some buying recommendations to make sure you have the gear necessary to take top-notch photos.

It’s 2020, after all – shooting macro on your phone is easier than ever before!

What is Macro Photography?

In the simplest terms, smartphone macro photography is the photographing of super small items with a smartphone as opposed to a DSLR or mirrorless camera. You can read about the pros and cons of smartphone photography in comparison to the two here.

While mobile macro photography is a bit of a niche within the larger smartphone photography world, it is a wildly popular one in the regular photography industry.

The idea of shooting macro is to capture as much detail in a photo as possible – from the hair on a bug’s antennae to a water droplet on a leaf. Sometimes because of the immense detail captured while doing smartphone macro photography, the images look abstract. The abstract style has an allure for a great many phone photographers.

While phone macro photography is specific to smartphones, the philosophies behind macro photography as a discipline are the same regardless of what kind of camera you’re using (don’t believe us – check this out).

In the eyes of many photography professionals, macro photography is a term only used when the subject is the same size as your camera sensor or smaller. According to these people, the term is frequently misused by people who’re just taking photos of little things.

Principally macro photography is used when the subject fills the frame, and the frame is limited to the sensor size.

For example, if your camera’s sensor were one inch wide, you would be photographing something one inch or smaller.

Important Smartphone Macro Photography Terminology:

So, there is some vocabulary you must familiarize yourself with to speak intelligently about the discipline and the gear.

There’s nothing worse than meeting a fellow mobile creator and sounding like an idiot because you don’t know your stuff.

Being familiar with the phone photography lingo will help you both grow your brand and choose the right gear, so take it seriously.

Magnification –

smartphone macro photography
Google Pixel 3a Native Camera
smartphone macro photography
Macro Lens Example

So, how big is the subject of your photo compared to the size of the camera’s sensor?

It may seem like an unimportant question, but the answer is of the utmost importance when doing mobile macro photography.

After all, the ratio of the subject size and sensor size gives you the photo’s magnification.

To explain, they design macro lenses specifically to capture tiny subjects, so their sensors tend only to be between 17 and 36 millimeters. Or, for those unfamiliar with the metric system, tiny.

In layman’s terms, the more magnification in the lens, the more detail you can capture in a smaller subject.

Working Distance

Working distance is the distance between the front of your lens and your nearest subject.

For most DSLR and mirrorless cameras, the recommended working distance when doing macro photography is about six centimeters.

For smartphone macro photography, however, we recommend doing some reading on what the lens producer says. Some lenses, for example, are ideal for use at an inch, whereas others perform better at the same working distance as their DSLR or mirrorless counterparts.

It can help to think about what exactly you’ll be doing smartphone macro photography on before purchasing. If, for example, you’ll be photographing leaves, then a one-inch working distance is ok. If, on the other hand, you’ll be photographing insects and lizards, then good luck getting that close without them scuttering away.

How to Do Macro Photography

smartphone macro photography tips
Photos With Phones

We’ve said it before, and we’ll repeat it – don’t zoom!

Especially if you are using a macro lens – don’t worry we’ll get to some recommendations later on which one you should choose – zooming makes the photo worse. Zooming compromises the integrity of the picture and makes it nearly impossible to edit. Yes, even when shot in the RAW.

Instead, get up close and personal with your subject, you shouldn’t ever even need to zoom anyway. The whole job of the macro lens (not lense) is to magnify your subject. Don’t worry if your photo doesn’t meet the subject fills the frame, and the frame is limited to the sensor size rule. Take the picture that you set out to take and deal with the repercussions later.

Oh, at this point, you should catch the drift – shooting macro requires a macro lens.

Don’t worry, though, this pure mobile macro photography can be both cost-effective and high quality! We’ve outlined some of the best ones for you – whether you’re an expert looking for a new lens or a beginner looking to purchase your first.

When to do Phone Macro Photography

mobile macro photography tips
Photos With Phones

Do you, or do you wish that you run a social media page for plants, small animals, or nature adventures? As we discussed earlier, do macro photography when the subject is the same size as your camera sensor or smaller.

As a result, if you answered yes above, then a macro lens for your phone would be a perfect addition to your repertoire! You’ll find that a whole new world opens up before you – a world you can’t see without 10x zoom.

In most cases, smartphone macro photography is great for capturing the intricate details of bugs, plants, and small animals. It may also be worth getting close up to take textured photos of larger objects if the picture is part of a collection.

But that piece of advice is just a little photography tip of the trade.

If you’re looking to stand out with your page, then sprinkling in some spectacular macro shots is a great way to do it! And hey, you don’t even need a DSLR or mirrorless.

Best Lenses for Smartphone Macro Photography

Best Quality Option


Title Moment Macro 10x Lens
Magnification 10x
Working Distance 1 inch
Distortion Issues No
Our Rating 9.3/10
Cost $$$
Link Check Price

Best Deal Option

Title RhinoShield 2 in 1 Add-On Camera Lens
Magnification 4x
Working Distance 1 inch
Distorion Issues Very Minor
Our Rating 8.3/10
Cost $$
Link Check Price

Best Budget Option

Title Easy-Macro Lens Band
Magnification 4x
Working Distance 1 inch
Distortion Issues Minor
Our Rating 7.1/10
Cost $
Link Check Price

We’ve looked at lenses a couple of times in the past. But we’ve never just talked macro.

That all changes now!

We’ve included the budget option, the best quality option, and the best deal option for macro phone lenses. It must be noted that every option is a good choice, though the best budget and best deal options are intended for beginners. The best quality option is obviously intended for the experts and those serious about their phone photography.

Happy macro lens hunting.

Best Quality Option – Moment Macro 10x Lens


Maybe one day we’ll stop tooting Moment’s horn, but that day is not today.

Moment Macro lens is another excellent Moment offering in terms of usability and performance. At the price point, it’s relatively cost-effective in comparison to their other lenses too! Though, compared to the different smartphone macro photography lenses in this guide, the Moment macro lens is relatively expensive.

The only other drawback to the Moment Macro lens is its somewhat low 10x magnification. At the same time, the quality of glass in the lens almost makes up for the lack of more magnification.

The glass and the lens as a whole get made from only the finest materials that money can buy. Moment is a legit company, and their products make it clear that they’re here to stay. Care to read a little bit more about Moment?

Their macro lens is, regardless of the previously mentioned cons, definitely a must-have in any serious macro photographers tool belt.

It’s worth noting though that to use any Moment lens, you have to have a Moment Case!

This is a chance to take professional-quality macro photos from the comfort of your smartphone. Are you ready to take the plunge?

Comes with:

  • Macro Lens
  • Lens Cap
  • Microfiber Travel Bag
  • Lifetime warranty
  • High-quality customer service coupled with a 100% satisfaction guarantee (includes free shipping and returns)

Best Deal Option – RhinoShield 2 in 1 Add-On Camera Lens

Rhinoshield 2 in 1 Add-On Camera Lens

If you’re looking for protection for your phone, then look no further than RhinoShield. The company is known widely in the phone case world. It’s worth noting though that they also dabble – quite successfully – in add-on lenses for phones too.

This 2-in-1 offering boasts a quality wide-angle and macro lens that’s a no-brainer at this price point. While you do have to purchase a RhinoShield case and lens adapter it’s worth the peace of mind in protection you receive.

If you’re a phone photographer who’s looking to make their first gear purchase, then this is an excellent option for you! You’ll get the most usable phone photography lens in the wide-angle and the most fun phone photography lens in the macro.

It’s a seriously good bargain. And again, the quality is almost Moment level!

Comes with:

  • 0.62x 105° Wide Angle Lens
  • 4x Macro Lens

Best Budget Option – Easy-Macro Lens Band

Easy-Macro Lens Band

Are you just trying to find out if phone macro photography is something you’d like? Well, then the Easy-Macro Lens Band is the perfect lens for you!

The lens is compatible with literally any smartphone and offers easy to use and surprisingly crisp 4x magnification. While this level of magnification is nothing to write home about, it is undoubtedly enough to dip your toes into the phone macro photography niche.

It cannot be overstated how unbelievably easy to use the Easy-Macro Lens Band is; it goes from the package to shooting macro in seconds.

As a result, it’s also perfect for those young aspiring photographers that you don’t want playing with your fancy macro lens.

While there is no warranty listed on Amazon, there are very few reviews that mention any sort of breakage.

Comes with:

  • Rubber band lens

Magniband – The Unmissable New Gadget for All Smartphones

If you’re looking to shoot quality macro with your phone on a budget, then Magniband is worth a look. Hell, we’ve written a whole article about them!

The Magniband is essentially the same as the Easy-Macro Lens Band, but:

  • at a lower price point (less than 6 British Pounds – or, approximately $8)
  • includes a 7-day return window
  • hosts a photography community on social media
  • was invented by a 16-year-old kid
  • is arguably the better rubber band macro lens

Seriously, if you’re looking for your first macro lens for your phone, then send your support Magniband’s way.

You won’t be disappointed.

Are You A Mobile Macro Photographer?

mobile phone macro photography
Joe Monk (@jmmobiphoto)

Do you like the idea of taking photos and video of super small stuff? Well, then you may have some mobile macro photography potential. This niche of smartphone photography is one of the most rewarding out there because you get to see the details of things you otherwise wouldn’t have. The Moment 10x Macro Lens is a great option for those that are certain that mobile macro is for them, but for those that aren’t so certain both the Rhinoshield and Easy-Macro Lens Band are great options too. Comment down below if you shoot your mobile macro with something different.

2 thoughts on “2020 Smartphone Macro Photography Guide

  1. In which mode we have to capture a picture while connected to a macro lens, normal mobile camera mode or macro mode ?

    1. Normal photo mode is sufficient for still shots. I don’t know of a smartphone camera that includes a macro lens worth much anyways so its best to stay away from macro mode altogether if your phone does have it. If you decide you want to capture macro video, then it’s best to do in slow motion. I hope this helps!

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